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Preview: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between bottom-of-the-table Leicester and Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester City face a huge game in their quest for Premier League survival when they host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Foxes saw their famous 5-3 triumph over Manchester United in September avenged at Old Trafford last weekend as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.

The result left them rock bottom and three points adrift of safety, but manager Nigel Pearson was quick to highlight that it will not be the matches against the division's top sides which decide their fate.

Pearson has admitted that encounters with other sides at the wrong end of the table will define Leicester's season, and with Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City next up, Palace's visit is their best chance for a while to get a much-needed win.

An excellent start to life under Alan Pardew's management has seen the Eagles soar to 13th and four points clear of the drop, but a defeat at the King Power Stadium could see them dragged right back into the mire.

Nevertheless, their willingness to dabble in the January market should pay dividends. The signings of Jordon Mutch, Yaya Sanogo, Pape Souare, Lee Chung-yong and Shola Ameobi mean that Pardew's squad now has a variety of options and is rich with new enthusiasm.

None of their winter arrivals will be more keen to impress than Keshi Anderson, the 19-year-old who joined from eighth-tier Barton Rovers after impressing in a trial match against Palace and has gone straight into the squad.

Pardew also has Australia's triumphant captain Mile Jedinak to welcome back to his bolstered ranks after the conclusion of the Asia Cup, although Yannick Bolasie is still at the Africa Cup of Nations with DR Congo.

Marouane Chamakh is out after suffering a head injury in the 1-0 home loss to Everton last Saturday - the first time that the Londoners had been beaten since Pardew's appointment - and Jerome Thomas is still missing.

Wilfried Zaha completed his permanent return to Selhurst Park from Manchester United late on deadline day and could join Jedinak in being recalled to the side at the expense of Chamakh and James McArthur.

Leicester also invested in the winter window, bringing in the experienced Robert Huth and Mark Schwarzer, who has usurped Ben Hamer in goal in the absence of Kasper Schmeichel. Suspension will delay Huth's debut.

The Foxes are yet to see return on £10m striker Andrej Kramaric. The Croatian has gone three games without scoring but will be persisted with alongside Leonardo Ulloa as Jamie Vardy and David Nugent settle for the bench.

There may be more chances on offer for Kramaric now that influential Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez has returned from the AFCON. Esteban Cambiasso may also be recalled to improve Leicester's midfield creativity.

Palace are unbeaten in three matches against the Foxes and beat them 2-0 in September's reverse fixture.


Form in Premier League: LWDWLL
Form in all competitions: DWWLWL

Possible starting lineup: Schwarzer; Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, De Laet; Mahrez, Cambiasso, King, Schlupp; Kramaric, Ulloa


Form in Premier League: LDDWWL
Form in all competitions: DWWWWL

Possible starting lineup: Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly; Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Zaha; Gayle, Sanogo

Sports Mole says: 2-1

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Leicester and Palace at the King Power Stadium?

Despair for Hugo Lloris of Spurs as Dwight Gayle of Crystal Palace celebrates scoring their first and equalisin goal from a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on January 10, 2015
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2Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863481564
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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