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Monday, 10 December, 2018

In-form Leicester should punish depleted Crystal Palace rearguard

Puel's men eyeing up fifth straight win against struggling visitors

Leicester celebrate their fourth goal in the victory at Southampton
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Crystal Palace have rallied impressively after losing their first seven Premier League games of the season but Roy Hodgson’s Eagles could suffer a setback at another of the top flight’s resurgent clubs.

Palace travel to Leicester aiming to end a remarkable run of ten away league matches without a goal but the Foxes have started to purr under Claude Puel and they can ensure that favourite-backers enjoy a winning start to the weekend.

Puel has already had a satisfying week thanks to Wednesday’s 4-1 victory at Southampton, the club who sacked him in June despite an eighth-placed finish.

The Saints were underwhelmed by Puel’s cautious, stodgy football at St Mary’s but Leicester fans have had little to complain about since the Frenchman succeeded Craig Shakespeare in October.

The Foxes scored twice against Everton in the first 30 minutes of Puel’s reign and have struck 15 times in eight league games since his arrival.

The win at Southampton, lit up by another fine goal from the rejuvenated Riyad Mahrez, made it four straight victories for Leicester following a 3-2 win at Newcastle and home successes over Burnley (1-0) and Tottenham (2-1).

While Palace’s attack is led by Christian Benteke – still under a cloud after an acrimonious missed penalty that cost them two points against Bournemouth last weekend – Leicester have an enviable array of attacking talents.

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Tottenham v Man City

Leicester v Crystal Palace

Jermaine Jenas views

Didi Hamann's views

Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, the stars of the title-winning season, are full of vim and vigour again while Demarai Gray’s pace, 

Marc Albrighton’s crossing ability and the bustling workrate of Shinji Okazaki offer further threats to a depleted Palace defence.

Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Damien Delaney are among Palace’s defensive absentees and Luka Milivojevic, who has started in midfield in 15 of their 17 league matches this season, is suspended.

Hodgson’s Eagles have provided some amazing late drama at Selhurst Park recently, with Benteke’s penalty miss followed by two very late goals to snatch a 2-1 win over Watford on Tuesday.

However, their away record makes for miserable reading despite the caveat that five of their six defeats have come at the two Manchester clubs, Tottenham, Liverpool and high-flying Burnley (where they were unfortunate to lose 1-0 in September).

But Leicester, eight points clear of 11th-placed Southampton and 1-7 for a top-half finish, represent another tough away fixture for Palace and should be backed to claim a fifth straight win.

As the Premier League big guns found out in 2015-16, once the Foxes get on a roll it can be hard to stop them.

2pts 10-11 general

Premier League standings

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Team news
Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined but Vicente Iborra and Marc Albrighton are pushing for recalls.

Crystal Palace
Defenders Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Mamadou Sakho are injured and Luka Milivojevic serves a one-game ban.

Key stat
Crystal Palace haven’t scored a goal in their last ten away Premier League matches.

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Crystal Palace haven’t scored a goal in their last ten away Premier League matches
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