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    Leicester v Crystal Palace Preview



    By Scott Hunt
    @scotthunt92

    While other fixtures this weekend will grab more of the limelight, the clash between Leicester and Crystal Palace could well be the most entertaining. Both are free flowing, attacking sides who have started the season superbly and both could move back into the top four with a win.

    Leicester have scored and conceded in every league game this season while Palace are yet to draw a match in any competition this campaign. While The Eagles have an indifferent home record, they are lethal on the road and have won nine of their 12 matches since Alan Pardew took charge – only Arsenal have a better record in that time.

    Both sides boast some of the most impressive players of the season so far, from Leicester’s Jamie Vardy – who has scored in each of his last six league matches – to Palace’s star summer signing Yohan Cabaye, who has notched four penalties in each of his last four games – only the fourth man in Premier League history ever to do that.

    The two sides like to play on the front foot and are both vulnerable defensively, leading Pardew to rule out any chance of a goalless draw this weekend.

    The chance of this game being 0-0 is zero.” Pardew told his pre match press conference.

    “If you're going to Leicester, expect to see some goals.

    “It's a strong team and Claudio has built on that. I have great respect for him.

    “Leicester have a lot of fine players. I think their possession stats are very low. Which is surprising considering their results.

    “We have to be very careful we don't open ourselves up to a counter attack. They have various offensive options. Dyer can come off the bench and cause problems, he's a terrific player.

    “I'll be disappointed if they're eating pizza this weekend! We'll be looking to throw as much offensive action at them as we can.”

    Palace will be hopeful of bouncing back from their home defeat to West Ham last weekend – where Dwight Gayle’s sending off turned the game against the Eagles. They have happy memories of this fixture last season, having won both meetings, but have won just five of their 25 games at Leicester.

    Claudio Ranieri’s side have been the hardest side to beat in the Premier League so far. They have lost just once, a feat only Tottenham can match, and have picked up seven points from losing positions – the best tally in the league.

    This promises to be an end-to-end feast of attacking football featuring two of the most impressive sides of the season, lead by arguably the two managers of the season so far. Ranieri has dismissed the doubters by inspiring Leicester to their high-flying start while retaining his usual charm and even incentivising his team with the promise of pizza. Pardew’s gung-ho approach has put him in pole position in most people’s eyes to be the next England manager and has his Palace side being talked about as European contenders. Expect goals and excitement aplenty at the King Power on Saturday.


    Key Men

    Leicester owe much of their start to the phenomenal form of the Premier League’s top scorer Jamie Vardy. The striker, who has worked his way up from non-league football, has notched ten goals in his last ten league games and his form has forced Ranieri to rule out the possibility of selling him in January.

    The red card to Gayle last weekend means Pardew is searching for a new striker to lead the line. Of the options available to him, it will come down to a choice between Fraizer Campbell and Patrick Bamford. Campbell is the more experienced and more likely option, considering how few opportunities the on-loan Chelsea striker Bamford has been given this season. Whoever Pardew opts for will need to have a big game to allow the formidable attacking options around them to flourish.


    Team News

    Leicester are thankful that man-of-the-moment Vardy has shaken off a wrist injury while Jeff Schlupp is also fit after suffering a head injury last weekend. Striker Leonardo Ulloa is close to a first team return but remains sidelined with a thigh injury. Riyad Mahrez will be hopeful of a start after being restricted to substitute performances in the last couple of matches.

    Palace strikers Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh are still unavailable although both are nearing fitness, while Gayle’s suspension sets up a straight fight between Bamford and Campbell for the number nine spot. Bakary Sako is pushing for a return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench last weekend.


    Prediction

    Leicester 3-2 Crystal Palace


    Picture Source: Michael Zemanek/ BPI
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    Item Reviewed: Leicester v Crystal Palace Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Scott Hunt
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