Stoke City are struggling in the Premier League this season, having collected 25 points from 27 games and are placed at the 19th spot in the league table. They are under tremendous pressure to perform to avoid getting doomed at the end of the season.
Today, they are due to face Leicester City at King Power Stadium for their next league outing and here is how we expect Paul Lambert to roll out his starting line-up against Claude Puel’s men.
Peter Crouch is expected to return from his ankle injury but the clash against Leicester City would be too soon to throw him into the starting XI. However, Stephen Ireland is set to be sidelined once again owing to his calf strain.
There is no denying that Jack Butland is one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League and he is expected to keep his place between the sticks. The 24-year-old custodian has made 2.79 saves per game on an average and has 4 clean sheets to his name.
The lack of resilience in the backline has arguably been the most serious cause of concern for the Potters this season. They have conceded 53 goals in 27 league games, which is the highest amount of goals scored against a side so far this campaign in the English top flight.
Stoke City’s defence needs to up the ante from here onwards and against the Foxes, we expect to see the duo of Kurt Zouma and Ryan Shawcross being pencilled in the central defence. While Eric Pieters is expected to start from the left-back slot, Moritz Bauer should be the one starting from the right-back.
Darren Fletcher and Badou Ndiaye are likely to be used in the middle of the park. Their primary tasks would include shielding the backline, dictating the tempo of the game and turn over possession. Joe Allen might have appeared a bit rusty recently but he has the calibre to inject attacking prowess to Stoke City’s attack which Lambert would hope to see in the upcoming fixture.
Xherdan Shaqiri is an important player for Stoke City and his movement and creativity is enough to unsettle the opposition defence. He is expected to start from the right-wing. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s development of late, especially his link-up play and creation of chances, should render him a start in the left-back slot.
Mame Biram Diouf is expected to lead the line for Stoke City. The 30-year-old has notched up 5 goals in 26 appearances in the Premier League so far this season but he needs to score on a consistent basis to ensure his side’s survival in the top tier.