Leicester City hope to keep their incredible season going as they prepare to host Stoke City on 23 January. Manager Claudio Ranieri says his side finds themselves second in the table on goal difference to Arsenal because the traditional big teams are not at the top of their game.
"I think it's a very open Premier League. I said two weeks ago, if Leicester is at the top of the league, it's because some big club is not at the top. I don't know the reason because it's not my matter but we are playing 100% or maybe 120%, more than what we are doing is not possible," he told journalists at a news conference.
The Foxes lost 2-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur on 20 January in the FA Cup to exit the tournament and will be hoping to bounce back in the Premier League against Stoke. "And now they are in very good condition, they play well. The team is more solid, more confident and I await a very tough match," Ranieri said, in reference to Stoke.
Jamie Vardy, the club's star striker and the league's joint top scorer, has not scored since his opener against Chelsea on 14 December 2015. Ranieri says the striker's scoring streak, when he scored 11 goals in a row to set a new Premier League record, was done as the 29-year-old barely trained because of physical problems, and his stamina has been affected as a result.
"Jamie [Vardy] is not fully fit now because he played so many matches when he was scoring goals without training because he always has some little problem and didn't make any training session but played the Saturday match and scored a goal," he said.
If Leicester beat Stoke, they will hope Arsenal will slip up against Chelsea when they play on 24 January, which will put the Foxes back at the top of the table.