Crystal Palace v Leicester City

18 Mar

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew


Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace are the only side in the top four divisions without a league win in 2016

TEAM NEWS

Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak is nursing a sore back and his fitness will be assessed ahead of the visit of leaders Leicester.

Connor Wickham, James McArthur and Marouane Chamakh all remain sidelined by injuries.

Leicester’s Andy King is a doubt with the sickness bug that caused him to miss Monday’s win against Newcastle.

Fellow midfielder Matty James is not yet ready to a return from a cruciate knee ligament injury.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Jonathan Pearce: “Exactly a year ago Leicester were still bottom. But their 4-3 defeat at Spurs sparked the miracle. They won seven of nine games to stay up.

“Now, in one of the greatest football stories ever told, they can see the silverware shimmering. But they have to remain steadfast. If a remarkable year is bracketed with defeat, the wolves will be at the Foxes’ door.

“Palace shouldn’t beat them. They’re the only side in the country without a 2016 league win. Their home form is shocking.

“But they know that they could be in a real relegation fight by the time their FA Cup semi-final comes around. They need a win. I’ve a sneaky feeling they’ll get it.”

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardewbacks his side to derail Leicester’s title bid, as they did to Liverpool and Manchester City in the past two seasons: “It has been a banana-skin, this place, in the past and it’s typical of Crystal Palace

“Our history is littered with upsets against the odds, that’s what this club is about. Not one pundit thinks we’ll win, so that’s actually when Palace are good.

“It’s been almost the perfect season for them (Leicester) but it doesn’t always come all the way through, that perfect run. Maybe their blips are still to come.”

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri: “We have a tight-knit, wonderful dressing room and a team that works. However, we know we haven’t done anything yet.

“Everyone is rooting for us to win the Premier League. It’s incredible that a small club are punching above their weight like this in the big-money era.

“Now we’re going to fight to qualify for Europe. And if we stay up there, we’ll try to get into the Champions League and then go for the title. But we have to take it one step at a time.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

I don’t see Leicester winning all their remaining games and I just have a sneaking suspicion they will have a little hiccup here.

Crystal Palace remain on an awful run in the league but I watched them against Reading in the FA Cup last weekend and I think they can cause Leicester some problems.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Leicester beat Crystal Palace for the first time in five matches in the reverse fixture last October, with Jamie Vardy scoring the only goal.

Crystal Palace

  • Crystal Palace have gone 12 Premier League matches without a win (D4, L8).
  • Alan Pardew’s side have suffered five straight defeats at Selhurst Park, and only Aston Villa have a worse overall home record this season.
  • They are the only club in the top four divisions without a league victory in 2016.
  • Palace have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 league matches, conceding 23 goals.

Leicester City

  • The league leaders have won six of their last eight matches, with their only defeat in 12 coming at Arsenal last month (W7, D4, L1).
  • Leicester have won 12 games by a single goal this season, more than any other Premier League side.
  • Claudio Ranieri’s team have the best away record in the top flight, picking up 31 points so far.
  • The Foxes have scored in a league-high 27 of their 30 games this season.
  • N’Golo Kante has made an unrivalled 128 tackles in the division this season.
  • Leicester were top of the table with eight matches to play in 1962-63, but won only once in the remainder of the season and finished fourth.
  • Jamie Vardy has scored 19 league goals this season. The last Leicester player to score 20 times in a top-flight season was Gary Lineker in 1984-85.

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