Leicester aim to strengthen title push against sliding Crystal Palace side
Leicester to win 2-1
Leicester have kicked off both rounds of fixtures since Christmas Day, their first a pulsating draw at home to Manchester United, before now facing a struggling Crystal Palace side.
Twice The Foxes went behind to a strong United side, twice Leicester came back with equalisers and probably deserved their point in the end. It was a point that keeps them ahead of Manchester United and in touch with Liverpool at the top.
Leicester continue to prove their strengths near the top of the table, and it is difficult to see them falling away as dramatically as they did near the end of last season.
As for Crystal Palace, falling away after a decent start is almost their speciality and, after suffering a beating to Aston Villa a couple of days ago, sit 14th with just one win from their previous five matches.
They always have the players to put in a top performance, but will struggle against a fiercely competitive Leicester side.
Form Guide (all comps): WDDLL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Can always spring a surprise with their players
Have won four of the last six matches against Leicester
Reasons to be fearful:
Without a clean sheet since the opening match
Conceded 10 goals in last two matches
Despite having a man advantage for the entire second half against Aston Villa, following Tyrone Mings’ red card, Crystal Palace were unable to impose themselves onto the match and were deservedly thrashed.
Add that to the 7-0 humiliation from Liverpool the week before, and Crystal Palace have shipped 10 goals in the previous two matches, all without scoring themselves.
In fact, they’ve only won once in their last seven matches, when they themselves dealt out a beating to relegation strugglers West Brom. They play well in patches during games, but really lack the consistency and strength in depth throughout their squad to really challenge further up the table.
In Leicester, they will face a side who have both quality and consistency and are aiming to stay hot on the heels of the Premier League leaders.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
Could have scored early on against Villa and is not backed up enough by his teammates who lack his quality.
Form Guide (all comps): WWLWD
Reasons to be cheerful
Showed spirit to fight back twice against Manchester United
Won the last two fixtures against Palace
Reasons to be fearful
Must protect players’ fitness over busy period
Crystal Palace will be desperate to bite back
Manager Brendan Rodgers will have enjoyed his team’s spirited draw against close league rivals Manchester United on Boxing Day, his side showing great quality and resolve to come back twice from losing positions.
Against a top side, they controlled the play for large periods of the match, though United arguably had the better chances to win the game. Jamie Vardy remains a top-class player at almost 34 years of age.
They’re also terrific away from home, with six wins from their seven matches played on their travels this season – they’ll feel confident that they can add to that positive statistic here.
Leicester have suffered from several injuries this season, so must be careful to not wear out their stars, particularly Vardy, by overplaying them during this tricky period.
Star Man – Jamie Vardy
It wasn’t the cleanest finish, but his equaliser against Manchester United earned a valuable point for his team
Leicester will expect to dominate the possession
Both sides are likely to score
Crystal Palace aiming to avoid three defeats on the bounce
Leicester will sense a real opportunity to continue their great form here, to make it four wins from their past six league matches.
Crystal Palace will come at them, and you would expect them not to go three matches without scoring a single goal, but Leicester should have the tools to take the win here.
Leicester to win 2-1