Prediction: Correct score 2-0
Crystal Palace face a critical game in their task for Premier League survival as they host Leicester City on Saturday.
A victory for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles could potentially secure their place in the league next season but a loss, combined with results going against them could again put them in a perilous position.
Meanwhile, Claude Puel will be keen for his side to end the season strongly following a few indifferent results in recent weeks.
The importance of this game for Palace cannot be understated. A victory this weekend could see the Eagles move nine points clear of the relegation zone with only three games left, almost assuring safety. However, a loss could see the gap cut between them and 18th-placed Southampton to only three points. Hodgson’s men are in relatively positive form though. The Londoners have only lost one out of their last five Premier League games – the only loss coming at home to Liverpool.
They could have all-but secured survival last weekend but could only battle to a 0-0 draw with Watford. A victory this weekend would also make it two consecutive victories at Selhurst Park following their excellent 3-2 win over rivals Brighton & Hove Albion two weeks ago. They have not notched consecutive wins at home in the Premier League in over a year. They have been relatively prolific on home soil this season though, barring their disastrous start. In the 15 home games since Roy Hodgson’s arrival, the Eagles have scored in 12 of those, finding the net 23 times. It goes without saying then that Palace will be looking to make home advantage count against Leicester.
The hosts have four long-term to injuries worry about for the visit of the Foxes. Bakary Sako, Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon have all been ruled out for the rest of the season. Connor Wickham is fit for this weekend and is eligible following his return from a groin strain.
Elsewhere, Puel’s men seem to already be on the beach with the season drawing to a close. The Foxes produced a drab 0-0 draw against the Frenchman’s former club Southampton last week. The stalemate meant that the East-Midlanders had not tasted victory at home in the Premier League since January. As a matter of fact, Leicester have only managed to win four out of their last 17 home games, a major reason why they have seen the prospect of Europa League football slip away. It is their starts to games that has been the main reason behind their slump. Puel’s troops have conceded the opening goal in eight out of their last ten league games, only managing to win one of those games, that being against rock-bottom West Bromwich Albion.
Their prospects in the capital are not all too positive either. In their last nine Premier League games in London, the Foxes have only claimed maximum points on one occasion, that being a 3-2 victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium last season.
Puel has ruled out Shinji Okazaki with a hamstring injury which could see Kelechi Iheanacho deputise again. Daniel Amartey is also edging closer to a return after being ruled out with a hamstring injury since early March. Vicente Iborra and Matty James are restricted to the sidelines through a hamstring and Achilles injury respectively.
First choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is suffering a knock against Burnley two weeks ago. Ben Hamer could continue in goal as a result.
Key Facts To Consider
- Leicester City have the marginally better record between the two teams (W26, D18, L24)
- Palace won the previous clash between the two 3-0 at the King Power Stadium this season
- Christian Benteke scored one of his two Premier League goals against Leicester this season. He has not scored a Premier League goal since January
- The Foxes have only lost once at Selhurst Park since their promotion to the Premier League
- There has been 11 goals scored in the last three games between the two sides
Palace should be highly motivated to get a result in this game. The Eagles have been playing well in recent times too and should have enough to claim victory against the stuttering Foxes.
It will be tough for them to keep a clean sheet though with Leicester’s talented attack.
Prediction: Correct score 2-0
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