Leicester and Crystal Palace get the day’s football underway, with their game at the King Power Stadium kicking off at 12:30pm. Leicester have improved game after game, and are 8th in the league. They have won their last four in a row, and have looked so much better since Claude Puel took over. Crystal Palace are 18th, and would move out of the relegation zone – for the time being anyway – with a point today.
Leicester can take so much confidence from their last four games. They have beaten Southampton, Newcastle, Burnley and Spurs in those. They have been improving every week under Claude Puel, and Riyad Mahrez in particular has looked really good lately. Their good run of form has brought them all the way from a candidate for relegation to 8th in the table, and they’re now in a position that they would have been aiming for at the start of the season. They spent quite a lot of money in the summer to try to challenge the top half of the table, but it wasn’t happening for them under Craig Shakespeare. They look like a much better side now with Puel leading the side, and will be looking to consolidate their position in the top half.
Claude Puel spoke about Wednesday’s win over Southampton, and is looking for a similar showing today. He said:
We must maintain this moment, but also continue to make hard work on the pitch, not just see the position in this moment.
We want to see whether we can find a good place in the table at the end. We need to keep a good focus about our game.
We must not be satisfied just about this game (Southampton). It’s a good result but it’s important to continue this work. It’s not the half of the season. It’s just a good moment and we need to continue this good work.
Robert Huth and Matty James are still out for the Foxes.
Crystal Palace are another side that have looked better under their new manager, but they haven’t had the same dramatic swing of results as Leicester have. They have been solid, and have picked up points here and there, which has brought them off the bottom of the table. They have definitely improved under Roy Hodgson, and are now unbeaten in six games. They have won two and drawn four of those, and have picked up a respectable ten points. After being at the foot of the table for so long, they’ll be delighted to be finally climbing the table. A win today would lift them all the way up to 14th, while a draw would be enough to take them out of the bottom three. The other teams around them play later today and over the next couple of days, but all of those sides won’t win so three points should see them stay out of the bottom three for a week at least.
Roy Hodgson spoke about Christian Benteke – who is yet to score a goal this season – and said:
Of course him not scoring is a concern to us, him and the fans.
He needs to keep working hard and make a good contribution to the team. We can’t afford to carry anyone, let alone a goalscorer who isn’t scoring goals.
We won’t keep reminding him about it. I wouldn’t be gaining a great deal by doing that.
Luka Milivojevic will miss out for the Eagles because he is suspended, while they are still without injured defenders Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
I think this is a tricky one to call, because both sides have been quite impressive recently. I’d have to side towards Leicester, after they won their last four and because Crystal Palace are yet to score an away goal this season. Palace could go there and win, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they did, but Leicester have to be the favourites.
The team news will be out in around 20 minutes, and that’ll be up here as well. I’ll have the big moments from the game on Twitter, and the rest of today’s previews will be up here as well. Enjoy the game.