Leicester City will be hoping to strengthen their hold on the third place in the Premier League standings when they take on Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Matchweek 33 of the 2020/21 Premier League spills over into Monday for the final game as Leicester City play hosts to Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium.

It has been another remarkable season for Leicester as they look set to finish in the Premier League top four and have made it to the final of the FA Cup as well. The Foxes are currently third in the league following their 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in midweek and can extend their lead over fourth-placed Chelsea to four points with a victory on Monday night.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, look set for another season ending in the mid-table, although a top-half finish looks unlikely. The Eagles are currently 13th in the standings, eleven points clear of the drop zone but eight shy of Leeds United in tenth. They are without a win in their last two games, having held Everton to a 1-1 draw before being beaten 4-1 by Chelsea earlier this week.

 The reverse fixture, played during the festive period last year, saw Leicester City come back from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace with Harvey Barnes cancelling out Wilfried Zaha’s goal. Ahead of their latest meeting on Monday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Leicester City

Ricardo Pereira wasn’t involved in the last game against West Bromwich Albion but is fit and available for selection for Monday’s contest. However, James Justin and Harvey Barnes remain sidelined for Leicester City when Crystal Palace come visiting.

Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to make many changes to the side that produced a fine display against the Baggies earlier this week. The Foxes should continue in the 3-4-1-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Wesley Fofana, who has been brilliant this term, should continue alongside Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu in the three-man defensive unit.

Despite Pereira’s availability, no changes are likely in the wing-back slots with Timothy Castagne continuing out on the right while youngster Luke Thomas slots in on the left. The duo will have the onus of providing the width going forward for Leicester, given as the formation lacks natural wingers.

Youri Tielemans will take over the creative onus in the middle of the park for the hosts while his partner, Wilfred Ndidi, will be more focused on breaking up the opponents’ play. James Maddison will slot in as the No. 10 from where he will act as the conduit between the midfield and the attacking third, while also providing a goal threat from distance.

There is no looking past the in-form duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy as the two centre-forwards for Leicester against the Eagles.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel; Fofana, Evans, Soyuncu; Castagne, Tielemans, Ndidi, Thomas; Maddison; Iheanacho, Vardy

Crystal Palace

There are a lot of positive news coming from the Crystal Palace camp with regard to the team news as the likes of James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho returning to training along with Jeffrey Schlupp. In addition to that, Michy Batshuayi is also available for selection after missing the last game against his parent club Chelsea.

Gary Cahill has a slight issue that he is expected to shrug off and be available for Monday as well. However, James McArthur, Connor Wickham and Nathan Ferguson remain unavailable for selection. Roy Hodgson should set his team up in their preferred 4-4-2 formation at the King Power Stadium with Vicente Guaita manning the goal.

Despite the return of Tomkins and Sakho, the pair of Cheikhou Kouyate and Cahill are expected to slot in as the centre-backs for the Eagles flanked by the full-backs in Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt who are likely to stay tight and compact alongside the central defenders.

Luka Milivojevic and Jairo Riedewald should be the two central midfielders whol will sit behind the ball and cut out the influence of the likes of Maddison and Tielemans. Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze will be the two wide midfielders, who will be the primary attacking outlets for Palace, along with Wilfried Zaha, who will line up as a central striker but drift out wide consistently to get on the ball and drive at the Leicester defence.

Christian Benteke should partner Zaha at the top and act as the target man for the visiting side.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, van Aanholt; Ayew, Milivojevic, Riedewald, Eze; Benteke, Zaha

Key Stats

  • Leicester City have lost three of their four Premier League games when hosting London clubs this season, with Chelsea being the only team that the Foxes have beaten at the King Power this term. Prior to that, they were unbeaten in eight such fixtures (W6 D2).
  • Crystal Palace have won more Premier League games against Leicester City than they have versus any other opponent (8).
  • Five of Leicester City’s six Premier League wins against Crystal Palace have seen the Foxes keep a clean sheet.
  • Crystal Palace haven’t won any of their last 17 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the top six in the table (D5 L12).
  • Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has been involved in six goals in his last nine Premier League starts against Crystal Palace, scoring five and assisting one.

Player to Watch

Wilfried Zaha

Embed from Getty Images

As the rumours over his future at Crystal Palace rumble on, the Ivory Coast international will be aiming to finish the season strongly, if he wishes to secure a transfer to a big club come summer. Zaha, so far this season, has a respectable return of nine goals and two assists from 23 Premier League outings. However, he has now failed to find the back of the net in six games running in the competition.

That is something that Zaha will need to address if the Eagles are to stand a chance of coming out on top against Leicester. It does bode well for Roy Hodgson & co. thaat Zaha has been involved in six goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Leicester, netting five goals and setting up one more. Palace have won three of these six games, with the 28-year-old scoring in each of the victories. More of the same will be expected on Monday.

Prediction

Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have fared well on their recent visits to the King Power, while Leicester haven’t quite been at their best on their home turf. However, Jamie Vardy will have his tails up now that he is back among the goals while Kelechi Iheanacho has been in terrific form for a while now. With James Maddison also starting to find his feet after his return from injury, the Foxes should be able to coast through to a victory against the Eagles, who may well find a goal through Wilfried Zaha.

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