Leicester vs Crystal Palace: Match preview and predicted line-ups
After another Champions League victory and clean sheet in mid-week against Copenhagen, Leicester are looking to get back on track domestically with a home game against Crystal Palace. This Premier League season always looked like being a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ for the Foxes, but they’ll be disappointed at the number of soft goals they have conceded.
Claudio Ranieri’s men have conceded numerous goals from set pieces; something that just didn’t happen last season. These types of mistakes have nothing to do with the loss of N’Golo Kante, though that is another factor, but instead hint at a lack of mental intensity. Their attentions have been focused on making the most of their European adventure, and this has borne fruit as they sit on the brink of the knockout stages.
Alan Pardew’s Palace started the season under something of a cloud following a dismal end to last term, but have rallied in recent weeks. The Eagles sit comfortably in ninth, and are always a dangerous opponent on their travels due to their abundant pace on the counter attack. They are one of the few teams to play with two genuine wingers, and they’ll look to supply the rejuvenated Christian Benteke who looks at home at Selhurst Park.
Leicester have had some difficult games of late, not least their trip to Stamford Bridge last week in which they were roundly beaten 3-0. They were also heavily beaten at Manchester United and Liverpool before the international break. However, despite their wretched record on their travels they remain strong at home and are unbeaten in the league at the King Power, conceding only once in four games. Palace were on a five-game unbeaten run in the league before their 1-0 home loss to West Ham last week. In that sequence of results, they dispatched Sunderland, Stoke and Middlesbrough and got a point away at Everton.
Predicted Line Ups
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Injuries and Suspensions
Nampalys Mendy is a long-term absentee for Leicester with a foot injury. Skipper Wes Morgan is a doubt with a hip problem but should make it, likewise Jamie Vardy who has a tight groin. Jonathan Benteke and Pape Souare remain out with serious injuries, as does Loic Remy with a thigh strain. Scott Dann faces a late fitness test due to a slight hamstring strain.
This promises the be a hard-fought contest between two teams who like to commit bodies forward and go from back to front quite quickly. Lots has been made of the downturn in Leicester’s away form, but they remain resolute opponents at the King Power, so it is hard to see them losing this one. The question is whether they have enough in the tank after European exertions on Tuesday to win this game. Islam Slimani will likely come back after being benched at Stamford Bridge last time out, but he is the type of striker Dann and James Tomkins will be fairly comfortable against.
Riyad Mahrez has not found Jamie Vardy with a single pass Leicester’s last two league games, something the must seek to address. Palace have got plenty of experience in getting numbers behind the ball and defending deep, which seems to be the key to nullifying Ranieri’s side. They also have threats of their own in Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend. We’re plumping for a score draw.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Paul Wright
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