Crystal Palace vs Leicester
Venue: Selhurst Park
Referee: Mike Dean
Leicester travel to South London this weekend having picked up only one point from their last possible nine, with a dull draw against Southampton last week their last encounter.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, are not yet out of the relegation scrap and picked up an essential point away at Vicarage Road last week. They do however find themselves above this weekend’s visitors in the form table and three more points would essentially guarantee survival.
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Hodgson’s men have picked up five points from their last nine available with away draws at Bournemouth and Watford alongside a vital 3-2 home win against Brighton sandwiched in between. As for the Foxes and Puel’s side, there has been statements and accusations that his side are already on the sunbeds and have taken their foot off the gas in the last few gameweeks.
The reverse fixture back in December seen a Palace whitewash in a 3-0 victory away from home with Benteke, Zaha and Sako the scorers. The King Power has not seen too many defeats like that these past few seasons, let alone this season, so the Eagles will be taking that into consideration as they kick-off today.
Crystal Palace Team News
Palace are looking to win back to back home games for the first time since April 2017 and have no fresh injury concerns going into today’s fixture. However, they are without Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham who all remain sidelined, all coincidently with crucial ligament damage.
Bakery Sako also continues to be sidelined due to injury. Crystal Palace could be boosted with the return of Leicester City academy graduate, Jefferey Schlupp, who could return to face his old club this afternoon. The Ghana international switched the King Power for Selhurst Park in January 2017 in a £12m deal.
Leicester Team News
Kasper Schmeichel, after his ankle injury at Burnley, is unlikely to be fit enough for this tough test. This will give either Ben Hamer and Eldin Jakupovic the chance to stake claim for the second goalkeeping place. Hamer was preferred at home to Southampton yet Puel may decide to give Jakupovic his first Premier League start for the Foxes.
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Daniel Amartey could be set to return for the Foxes after suffering a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Vicente Iborra and Matty James are out with long term injuries. Shinji Okazaki is also unlikely to have fully recovered after receiving a knock at Burnley which will likely give Kelechi Iheanacho, who has been impressive of late, a place in the starting XI.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2 Leicester City 1
Although the Foxes are better rested then Hodgson’s side, the current position that Palace find themselves in means one more victory and they would more or less guarantee their Premier League status for next season. For me, this alone gives the Eagles favourite status. Wilfried Zaha picked up two goals in their last home and if he is firing on all cylinders he can cause problems. Puels men have been poor of late so I’m going for a 2-1 home win.
Written by Eamon Kitching.