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Preview: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Leicester City and Crystal Palace, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

A faltering Leicester City side will resume their search for a first win since lockdown when they welcome Crystal Palace to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The Foxes still sit third in the Premier League table but are winless in four games, while Palace go into the contest on the back of successive defeats.


Match preview

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers pictured on July 1, 2020© Reuters

Leicester's current struggles must be viewed with perspective in what has been a superb 2019-20 campaign as a whole, but they will still be worrying for manager Brendan Rodgers.

Saturday's hosts have not won a game since March 9, and in the Premier League have only picked up one victory in eight games since January.

The fact that they still sit third in the table is testament to how impressive they were during the opening half of the campaign, but they needed a Chelsea defeat against West Ham United on Wednesday night to keep hold of that spot while Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are now also hot on their heels.

Leicester's season has been a tale of two halves so far; in their opening 16 matches they won 12 games and lost just twice, whereas in the next 16 they have won four times and lost seven.

James Maddison in action for Leicester on June 20, 2020© Reuters

Many of their recent top-flight defeats have come in pairs too, so Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Everton does not bode particularly well for them heading into this contest.

The Foxes need to turn their form around sooner rather than later, though, and if they do end up earning Champions League qualification then they would have done it the hard way, with matches against fellow European hopefuls Arsenal, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United still to come this season.

Crystal Palace may still group themselves in with those teams, but successive defeats to Liverpool and Burnley have damaged their own hopes of breaking into the European places.

Seventh place is by no means out of reach, though, and before those losses they had been on a run of four consecutive victories without conceding a goal for the first time in their top-flight history.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson pictured in June 2020© Reuters

The trip to Anfield aside, conceding goals has not been Palace's issue this season - only six teams have shipped fewer in the entire league - but rather putting the ball in the back of the net at the other end has proved problematic.

Only rock-bottom Norwich have scored fewer, and they have drawn a blank in 12 matches throughout the campaign, including the last two.

Even if they are not pushing for it themselves, Palace could end up having as big a say on the top-four race as anyone with matches against Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur to come in five of their six remaining games this season.

The Eagles will be underdogs heading into this one considering that Leicester's home points tally has only been bettered by three teams this season, although they have only won two of their last eight at the King Power Stadium while Palace have a respectable record on the road.

Leicester Premier League form: LLWDDL
Leicester form (all competitions): WWDDLL

Crystal Palace Premier League form: WWWWLL


Team News

Jamie Vardy in action for Leicester on February 22, 2020© Reuters

Jamie Vardy remains stranded on 99 Premier League goals after once again drawing a blank against Everton, and he is expected to be given another chance to reach the milestone here.

Kelechi Iheanacho will be pushing for a start nonetheless, though, having come off the bench to score at Goodison Park.

James Maddison came on at half time along with Iheanacho in that match and should start this time around, but Rodgers will still be without injured pair Daniel Amartey and Ricardo Pereira.

Palace, meanwhile, are expected to once again have to make do without Christian Benteke as he continues to struggle with a thigh strain.

Martin Kelly, Jeffrey Schlupp and James Tomkins are all definitely sidelined, but Wilfried Zaha was able to play the full 90 minutes against Burnley despite limping off early against Liverpool.

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Maddison, Ndidi, Tielemans, Barnes; Vardy, Iheanacho

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Sakho, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur, Zaha; Ayew


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Leicester 1-1 Crystal Palace

This is a fascinating contest between two teams that have enjoyed decent campaigns but are faltering a little right now.

Leicester need to return to winning ways soon if they are to hang on to their Champions League spot, but Palace are a difficult team to beat and we can see the two sides cancelling each other out at the King Power.



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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson pictured in June 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool54101211113
2Manchester CityMan City64111211113
3Chelsea64111221013
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
5Everton6411127513
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton540174312
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
8Aston Villa631297210
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs530236-39
10Brentford52215238
11Watford621379-27
12Leicester CityLeicester6213710-37
13Arsenal520329-76
14Crystal Palace512258-35
15Southampton504146-24
16Wolverhampton WanderersWolves510425-33
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle6033714-73
18Leeds UnitedLeeds6033614-83
19Burnley6024511-62
20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140

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