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As it happenedended1513434465

Leicester City vs Crystal Palace - as it happened: Eagles end away-day hoodoo with victory over Foxes

Re-live all the action from the King Power Stadium

Charles Reynolds,Grant Dalton
Friday 15 December 2017 15:52 GMT
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Wilfred Ndidi is sent-off by referee Martin Atkinson after a second booking for diving
Wilfred Ndidi is sent-off by referee Martin Atkinson after a second booking for diving (Getty)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

In-form Leicester host a Crystal Palace side unbeaten in six, but still searching for their first away goal of the season, in the opening Premier League game of the day on a busy Saturday afternoon. Follow the latest here.

  • Leicester City vs Crystal Palace kicks off at 12:30 GMT
  • Foxes on a run of four straight league victories to close in on top seven
  • Resurgent Palace looking to build on Tuesday's comeback victory over Watford
  • Vicente Iborra and Marc Albrighton looking for Leicester recalls
  • Palace without suspended Luka Milivojevic and injured Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Tomothy Fosu-Mensah

Follow the live action below...

Please allow a moment for the blog to load...

Preview

Leicester have won four on the bounce to return to the European reckoning, just four points behind Arsenal in seventh and five off the top four. Claude Puel’s side have shown real attacking flair in recent weeks too, with seven goals in their past two games.

Puel has helped to get the best out of the Foxes’ attacking players, with Riyad Mahrez already equalling his numbers for last season in terms of goals created (9), while Demarai Gray and Shinji Okazaki have also been enjoying themselves.

Crystal Palace are enjoying an upturn in fortunes too, with their last-gasp victory over Watford in midweek extending an impressive unbeaten run. They remain in the relegation zone, but are level on points with West Brom in 17th. However, a worrying festive fixture list, with games against Arsenal and Manchester City before the new year, and their consistently dreadful away form remain concerns for Roy Hodgson.

Christian Benteke’s form is also a problem, with the club-record signing without a goal this season. The Belgian is Palace’s only recognised senior striker, but Bakary Sako is improving as an option there, showing his poacher’s instincts with a goal in midweek.

Palace have no new injury concerns, and Joel Ward is unlikely to recover from a groin strain in time for the match, meaning Hodgson will change little from Tuesday’s side. Scott Dann continues to deputise for Mamadou Sakho, while Benteke could drop out for Sako if Hodgson loses his patience with the Belgian. James McArthur is also pushing for a selection after scoring the winner from the bench on Tuesday, with Yohan Cabaye most likely to drop out of the side.

Demarai Gray is set to return for Leicester as Claude Puel rotates his side to deal with fixture congestion, with Ben Chilwell, an unorthodox winger against Southampton, the man most likely to miss out. Vicente Iborra is also likely to come back into the side after starting nine consecutive games before dropping to the bench in midweek. Matty James and Robert Huth will not return from their respective long-term injuries before Christmas.

What time does it start?

Leicester vs Crystal Palace is at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon.

Where can I watch it?

The match will be live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage starting from 11.30am.

It’s a big game for…

Riyad Mahrez. The tricky Algerian is finally rediscovering the form that won him PFA Player of the Year two years ago, after a difficult campaign last season. He has five goals and three assists in his last ten games, and will enjoy the opportunity to run at the fragile Palace defence.

He and his team thrive on momentum though, and it is crucial for 26-year-old to continue his good form if Leicester are to maintain their push for a top-seven place.

Mahrez has been in fine form
Mahrez has been in fine form (Getty)

Best stat…

Claude Puel has not won five consecutive league games as a manager since 2008, when his Lyon side went on to finish third in Ligue 1.

Remember when...

Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City won promotion to the Premier League in 1996 ahead of Palace after beating them 2-1 in a dramatic play-off final. Steve Claridge shinned a fluky winner into the top corner in the last minute of extra time to win it for the Foxes. The oversized Palace shirts worn here are a particular highlight.

Player to watch…

Wilfried Zaha. Is there any team in the Premier League as reliant on one player as Crystal Palace are on Wilfried Zaha? The forward was integral to both of Palace’s goals on Tuesday, with the rebound from his shot converted by Bakary Sako, before Zaha’s brilliant run and pull-back set up James McArthur for the winner.

Zaha has moved more central in recent weeks, usually partnering Benteke up front in an approximation of 4-4-2, and his ability to run at players and create chances is unrivalled in this Palace side. His three league goals is the highest tally in a low-scoring side, and the Ivorian will be key to the Eagles improving their poor away form, especially if his electric pace is effectively utilised on the break.

Zaha is vital to Palace's hopes of staying up
Zaha is vital to Palace's hopes of staying up (Getty)

Previous three meetings…

Crystal Palace 2 (Cabaye, Benteke) Leicester City 2 (Huth, Vardy), Premier League, April 2017
Leicester City 3 (Musa, Okazaki, Fuchs) Crystal Palace 1 (Cabaye), Premier League, October 2016
Crystal Palace 0 Leicester City 1 (Mahrez), Premier League, March 2016

Form guide…

Leicester City: DWWWW
Crystal Palace: WDDDW

Odds…

Leicester City: 17/20
Crystal Palace: 10/3
Draw: 13/5 

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's Premier League encounter between Leicester City and Crystal Palace, brought to you from the King Power Stadium.

Jack de Menezes16 December 2017 11:21
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TEAM NEWS

Jack de Menezes16 December 2017 11:32
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The early kick off will see one team's run come to an end, Leicester are on a four-game winning streak while Palace are unbeaten in their last six games.

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 11:47
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A win today for Palace could lift them (albeit until the rest of today's games are played) as high as 14th in the table, while a fifth win on the trot for Leicester would see them potentially start to close the gap on Spurs, Liverpool, Burnley and Arsenal. 

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 11:57
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6a2ae8b1-f323-415c-bac9-f7881362ad92.jpgIt's certainly an interesting look... 

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 11:59
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Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 12:08
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Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 12:08
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Palace fans not to be outdone in the odd outfit competition 

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 12:12
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Leicester manager Claude Puel:  

We have had some good results, but we still have some aspects to correct.

We must try to continue to improve today against a good team.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson:

 We know how much of a threat Leicester will pose for us today.

It is a case of us doing our job of defending well and making sure we profit when we do win the ball and hurt them on the counter attack.

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 12:20
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Not long until kick off now, the players are in the tunnel waiting to come out. Which way will this one go?

Charles Reynolds16 December 2017 12:26

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