Leicester close in on safety with win over Stoke City
Leicester 2 - 0 Stoke City

Leicester close in on safety with win over Stoke City

02/04/2017

Leicester edged closer to certain Premier League safety as boss Craig Shakespeare entered the record books after a routine win over Stoke.

Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy handed the Foxes a 2-0 victory over a subdued Stoke side who rarely threatened to upset the home side's momentum.

It was Leicester's fifth straight win in all competitions since Claudio Ranieri was sacked and meant Shakespeare became the first English manager to win his first four Premier League games.

He joined Guus Hiddink, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti in having a 100 per cent record after four outings.

Shakespeare has now guided last season's shock champions nine points clear of the relegation zone and into the Champions League quarter-finals.

He also has them back to their vibrant best with hapless Stoke, who remain ninth, unable to cope and the Foxes now sit just three points behind them.

Leicester set an early tone when Yohan Benalouane - in his first league appearance at the King Power Stadium since the opening day of last season - dragged wide.

The Foxes bossed possession with the visitors trying to remain compact but Stoke were indebted to Erik Pieters after 18 minutes.

Ryan Shawcross poleaxed Demarai Gray and, from Christian Fuchs' free-kick, Pieters nodded Robert Huth's goalbound header away and Vardy missed the follow-up.

Gray then drilled wide but the Foxes got the goal their early domination deserved after 25 minutes with Ndidi's first Premier League strike.

The midfielder collected Danny Simpson's simple pass before advancing and unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the top corner.

As an attacking force Stoke were non-existent and going behind left them with a mountain to climb, with Saido Berahino anonymous and Marko Arnautovic nullified.

Gray, a constant danger, forced Glen Johnson to deflect his effort over before Lee Grant turned Mahrez's shot wide nine minutes before the break.

In between, Berahino finally reminded everyone he was on the pitch but his scuffed shot was gathered by the under-worked Kasper Schmeichel.

And Leicester extinguished any hopes of a second-half Stoke revival just 76 seconds after the re-start.

Again, it was too easy for the Foxes as Simpson collected his second assist of the afternoon, swinging in a deep cross which Vardy met with a clinical volley past Grant.

It was the striker's fifth goal in his last six club games, with the 30-year-old revitalised since February's exit of former manager Claudio Ranieri.

Shinji Okazaki tested Grant before the goalkeeper produced a fine block to prevent Mahrez making it 3-0 after 64 minutes.

There was no sign of a comeback from Stoke, with Leicester afforded the luxury of taking Vardy off early, even if Peter Crouch side-footed wide with 24 minutes left.

Mahrez nearly added a third but shot wide and Gray almost capped an excellent display when Grant tipped his late effort around the post.

Crouch then headed wide with a minute left and was denied by Schmeichel in stoppage time.

Related news

Arsenal lose more ground on leaders in goalless draw at West Ham

Arsenal lose more ground on leaders in goalless draw at West Ham

Arsenal lost further ground on the Premier League leaders after they were held to a goalless draw at West Ham.

Aurier and Son goals see Tottenham move back into top four

Aurier and Son goals see Tottenham move back into top four

Tottenham climbed back into the Premier League's top four as Serge Aurier's fluke-goal and a header from Son Heung-min sealed a 2-0 victory over Brighton.

Fab Four fail to help Liverpool to victory against West Brom

Fab Four fail to help Liverpool to victory against West Brom

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reunited the "Fab Four" but his prolific attacking quartet were all distinctly off-key as West Brom held out for a goalless draw at Anfield.

David Silva nets brace in Man City's record-setting win vs. Swansea

David Silva nets brace in Man City's record-setting win vs. Swansea

Manchester City set a new Premier League record of 15 consecutive wins with a 4-0 victory at bottom club Swansea.

Lukaku answers critics with winner as Man United beat Bournemouth

Lukaku answers critics with winner as Man United beat Bournemouth

Romelu Lukaku got a much-needed goal as Manchester United moved on from their galling derby defeat by beating Bournemouth.

Chelsea go joint-second with easy win over Huddersfield Town

Chelsea go joint-second with easy win over Huddersfield Town

Willian scored one and made two others as Chelsea finally turned in a display worthy of Premier League champions to win 3-1 at Huddersfield.

Man City edge Manchester derby with 14th straight league win

Man City edge Manchester derby with 14th straight league win

Runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City opened up an eye-watering double-digit lead over rivals Manchester United after Nicolas Otamendi fired Pep Guardiola's men to derby victory.

Wayne Rooney claims Everton point in Merseyside derby vs. Liverpool

Wayne Rooney claims Everton point in Merseyside derby vs. Liverpool

Wayne Rooney's first Merseyside derby goal earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Anfield as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's selection gamble backfired.

Olivier Giroud salvages late point for Arsenal at Southampton

Olivier Giroud salvages late point for Arsenal at Southampton

Olivier Giroud climbed off the bench to rescue a point for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

RELATED NEWS

Arsenal lose more ground on leaders in goalless draw at West Ham
West Ham 0 - 0 Arsenal

Arsenal lose more ground on leaders in goalless draw at West Ham

Arsenal lost further ground on the Premier League leaders after they were held to a goalless draw at West Ham.

Aurier and Son goals see Tottenham move back into top four
Tottenham 2 - 0 Brighton

Aurier and Son goals see Tottenham move back into top four

Tottenham climbed back into the Premier League's top four as Serge Aurier's fluke-goal and a header from Son Heung-min sealed a 2-0 victory over Brighton.

Fab Four fail to help Liverpool to victory against West Brom
Liverpool 0 - 0 West Brom

Fab Four fail to help Liverpool to victory against West Brom

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reunited the "Fab Four" but his prolific attacking quartet were all distinctly off-key as West Brom held out for a goalless draw at Anfield.

David Silva nets brace in Man City's record-setting win vs. Swansea
Swansea 0 - 4 Man City

David Silva nets brace in Man City's record-setting win vs. Swansea

Manchester City set a new Premier League record of 15 consecutive wins with a 4-0 victory at bottom club Swansea.

Lukaku answers critics with winner as Man United beat Bournemouth
Man United 1 - 0 Bournemouth

Lukaku answers critics with winner as Man United beat Bournemouth

Romelu Lukaku got a much-needed goal as Manchester United moved on from their galling derby defeat by beating Bournemouth.

Chelsea go joint-second with easy win over Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town 1 - 3 Chelsea

Chelsea go joint-second with easy win over Huddersfield Town

Willian scored one and made two others as Chelsea finally turned in a display worthy of Premier League champions to win 3-1 at Huddersfield.

Man City edge Manchester derby with 14th straight league win
Manchester United 1 - 2 Manchester City

Man City edge Manchester derby with 14th straight league win

Runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City opened up an eye-watering double-digit lead over rivals Manchester United after Nicolas Otamendi fired Pep Guardiola's men to derby victory.

Wayne Rooney claims Everton point in Merseyside derby vs. Liverpool
Liverpool 1 - 1 Everton

Wayne Rooney claims Everton point in Merseyside derby vs. Liverpool

Wayne Rooney's first Merseyside derby goal earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Anfield as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's selection gamble backfired.

Olivier Giroud salvages late point for Arsenal at Southampton
Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal

Olivier Giroud salvages late point for Arsenal at Southampton

Olivier Giroud climbed off the bench to rescue a point for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.