Leicester City 2-0 Stoke City: Foxes move clear of drop zone
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 02/04/17 9:41am
Leicester City's recent upturn in form continued as the champions beat a lethargic Stoke City 2-0 at the King Power on Saturday afternoon to record a fourth Premier League win in a row.
Goals in each half from Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, his fourth in his last four league matches, saw interim boss Craig Shakespeare become the first British manager to win his first four Premier League games.
As a result, the Foxes have moved up to 13th in the table, now six points from safety, while the Potters remain ninth after suffering a sixth league defeat in their last eight away games.
Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater was fit to play despite being unavailable for England action with a hip injury.
However, the Foxes were still without influential skipper Wes Morgan due to a back problem, while Nampalys Mendy also missed out.
Meanwhile, Stoke playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri was absent with a calf injury, and the Swiss joined the likes of Geoff Cameron and Jack Butland on the sidelines.
And Phil Bardsley was also missing after his sending-off last time out against Chelsea, although the visitors were boosted by the early return from injury of Glen Johnson.
The Foxes, looking to win three straight Premier League home games for the first time since a year ago, started on the front foot, with centre-back Yohan Benalouane flashing an early effort just wide of the far post.
However, Leicester's early pressure was rewarded when they made the stunning breakthrough after 25 minutes.
Danny Simpson found Ndidi in space some 25 yards out and the Nigerian then strode forward before unleashing an unstoppable effort that flew past a helpless Lee Grant and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
And while that may have been the home side's first strike on target in the match, their early pressure and possession did warrant a goal, with Demarai Gray - who was only playing because Marc Albrighton was ill - outstanding in the first period.
The mercurial Riyad Mahrez also appeared back to his best, as shown by one of his typical mazy dribbles that only ended with Grant turning the forward's shot past his near post.
Stoke, though, were disappointing before the break, with the visitors' first and only strike on target coming after 36 minutes when Saido Berahino's run was picked out by Ramadan Sobhi, only for the frontman to hit it straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
If the Potters thought they were still in the contest at the interval, those thoughts were soon dispelled when Vardy doubled Leicester's lead two minutes into the second half.
Simpson - with his second assist of the game - chipped the ball into the box for the unmarked England international to rifle a volley past Grant, who remained rooted to the spot.
Thereafter the Foxes controlled the tempo of the match, trying to catch their opponents on the break. But for a series of impressive stops by Grant, Leicester's winning margin would have been even greater.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Simpson (8), Benalouane (7), Huth (7), Fuchs (7), Mahrez (8), Drinkwater (7), Ndidi (8), Gray (9), Okazaki (7), Vardy (8)
Used subs: Chilwell (6), Amartey (6), Slimani (6)
Stoke: Grant (8), Johnson (6), Shawcross (6), Martins Indi (6), Pieters (7), Arnautovic (7), Whelan (6), Allen (6), Sobhi (7), Walters (6), Berahino (5)
Used subs: Adam (6), Diouf (6), Crouch (6)
Man of the Match: Demarai Gray