Claudio Ranieri’s men barely shifted out of second gear on their way to Leicester’s 2-0 win over Stoke at King Power Stadium.
The Foxes defensive line was rarely troubled by the Stoke attack, and for much of the match it was one-way traffic – exacerbated by the sending off of Stoke defender Bruno Martins Indi in the 52nd minute.
Leicester opened their account after just nine minutes of play when a Stoke turnover of possession gifted Drinkwater the ball. The midfielder played wide to Vardy who had peeled outside his marker.
Vardy dribbled inside the box, turning his defender inside and out with a display of dazzling footwork and control. There were options for the striker inside but Vardy fired a shot from close range on the angle and scored an emphatic goal.
Jamie Vardy fires a shot at goal to open the scoring for Leicester in the 9th minute of play.
Leicester’s lead could have doubled in the 33rd minute when a long ball wide once again found Vardy. The elusive striker weaved his way to the byline then cut the ball across the goalmouth. Slimani was well positioned and took a first-time shot. Miraculously the keeper in a magnificent reflex save, parried the ball. There was a scramble in the 6 yard box before Indi was able to clear the area for Stoke.
Top: The long ball out of Leicester’s defense finds Vardy on the wing in space.
Middle: Vardy breaks into the box and then crosses the ball into the goalmouth.
Bottom: Indi finally clears the ball from danger after a goalmouth scramble.
Leicester, who held the majority of possession and tactical ascendancy, again dominated the second half, and in the 52nd minute the mountain Stoke needed to climb grew dramatically higher when Indi brought down Vardy on the edge of the Stoke penalty box. It was a deliberate foul, with Vardy on his way to goal. The referee gave Indi a red card and Stoke were reduced to 10 men for the rest of the match.
The numerical advantage took its toll quickly. Stoke became pinned in their own half and were under intense pressure. In the 65th minute that weight of possession was converted into Leicester’s second goal when Slimani made a clever diagonal run across the face of the Stoke defensive line. The through ball set the striker into a gap behind the back four. Slimani made no mistake with the opportunity – smashing the ball past the stranded Stoke keeper.
Strong on the ball; Slimani fends off a challenge and unleashes rocket-like shot to score Leicester’s second goal.
Winning 2-0, some of the venom seemed to go from Leicester’s intensity. Their best chance for another goal came from a late corner when Amartey pulled away from his marker and received a short cross. He turned and passed into the crowded goalmouth. Slimani took a snap shot but the keeper made an instinctive reflex save and parried the ball to safety.
Leicester midfielder Daniel Amartey comes short to receive the corner and then drives a pass in to Slimani.
Stoke manager, Mark Hughes, was disappointed with the result, acknowledging Leicester’s better passing game and the weight of possession the home team held.