Premier League
LeicesterLeicester City3StokeStoke City0
By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Jamie Vardy
Leicester's Jamie Vardy scored his 15th goal of the season

Leicester moved three points clear at the top of the Premier League with an impressive victory over Stoke.

Jamie Vardy struck straight at Jack Butland early on before Leicester's Danny Drinkwater lashed in from the edge of the area close to half time.

Vardy rounded Butland and slotted into an open net as Leonardo Ulloa added a third from close range late on.

Stoke struggled throughout - their best chance falling to Joselu, whose header was pushed away by Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester fans are dreaming - Ranieri

Leicester leaders but now comes the hard part

Leicester had won just one of their last five league games going into this fixture and there were question marks about whether they could stay in the hunt for the Premier League title.

But they answered the critics with a thumping win over Stoke - full of energy and industry, and have now conceded just one goal in their last five games.

The Foxes are patrolled at the back by a strong centre-back pairing of Wes Morgan, who made seven clearances, and partner Robert Huth. In front of them, N'Golo Kante's vigour epitomised the team's performance.

Danny Drinkwater goal
Danny Drinkwater's goal was the first of his Premier League career. Leicester have scored 42 goals this season, but this was the first time they netted from outside the box

Drinkwater's effort was their first from outside the box this season, while Vardy netted his first goal in six league games, before Ulloa struck after sublime skills from Riyad Mahrez.

Leicester's record of one defeat in their last 16 league games will be firmly put to the test in their next three matches against Liverpool, title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City - games which will define whether they are title pretenders.

One eye on the cup?

Stoke's problems lie in front of goal, having not scored in nine of their 23 league games this season. Striker Bojan was kept on the bench, perhaps with their League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool on Tuesday in mind.

They managed just two shots on target against the Foxes, with neither effort testing goalkeeper Schmeichel, who had an easy afternoon.

Playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri was kept quiet and things were made worse when skipper Ryan Shawcross hobbled off with an injury in the first half.

Without their leader at the back, Stoke's hopes of finishing in a European spot were dented as they drop to ninth in the table.

Man of the match - N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante
Another impressive showing. His five tackles, five interceptions and gaining back possession 11 times was more than any other team-mate. He also ran for 11.24km, more than any player on the pitch

What they said:

Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri: "Nobody can believe it. Our fans are dreaming and I want them to continue to dream. I don't know if we are a contender at this moment. February is a big month and after that month I can say something more realistic."

Stoke boss Mark Hughes: "We played poorly today. We didn't get our game going at any point. At no point did we look like we were going to come back after conceding. We disappointed ourselves today and our supporters."

Stoke played poorly - Hughes

What next?

Stoke face Liverpool at Anfield in the League Cup semi-final on Tuesday 26 January, looking to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit, while Leicester host the same opposition in the Premier League on Tuesday 2 February.

The stats you need to know

  • Jamie Vardy ended his personal goal drought of 10 hours and 17 minutes without a goal in the Premier League
  • All four of Danny Drinkwater's league assists this season have been for Vardy
  • Leicester City have won nine and lost just one of their last 14 Premier League home matches
  • Stoke have conceded two or more goals in four of their last five away games in the Premier League

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 6Huth
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26Mahrez
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 14Kanté
  • 11AlbrightonSubstituted forGrayat 88'minutes
  • 20OkazakiSubstituted forUlloaat 62'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 10King
  • 22Gray
  • 23Ulloa
  • 24Dyer
  • 27Wasilewski
  • 32Schwarzer
  • 33Inler

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 8Johnson
  • 17ShawcrossSubstituted forWilsonat 30'minutes
  • 26Wollscheid
  • 3Pieters
  • 6Whelan
  • 14Afellay
  • 19Walters
  • 22ShaqiriBooked at 59minsSubstituted forCrouchat 79'minutes
  • 18DioufSubstituted forOdemwingieat 71'minutes
  • 11Joselu

Substitutes

  • 9Odemwingie
  • 12Wilson
  • 15van Ginkel
  • 16Adam
  • 25Crouch
  • 27Bojan
  • 29Haugaard
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
32,018

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home15
Away3
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leicester City 3, Stoke City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leicester City 3, Stoke City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

  4. Post update

    Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Philipp Wollscheid (Stoke City).

  6. Post update

    Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

  10. Post update

    Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Marc Albrighton.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Leicester City 3, Stoke City 0. Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jamie Vardy.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City).

  15. Post update

    N'Golo Kanté (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Robert Huth (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right from a direct free kick.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City).

  19. Post update

    Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Philipp Wollscheid.

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