If you had to pick an away trip for the first game of the season, you could do a lot worse than Crystal Palace. Selhurst Park is no longer the fortress it once was, with successive managers failing to capture satisfactory home form.
In 2005/06 the Eagles won 13 matches and took 45 points at home. Since then their points return from home fixtures has read 39, 36, 35 and last season, 29.
In 2005/06 Palace scored 39 league goals at home. In the following seasons they have managed 33, 31, 26 and 24. Only Swansea and Plymouth scored fewer at home than the Eagles in 2009/10.
If the above has failed to convince you of how poor Crystal Palace were at home last season then the fact that 10 Championship sides, including Leicester, left Selhurst Park with all three points should do the trick. Only Plymouth and Peterborough lost more games at home last term.
Leicester have won seven league matches at Selhurst Park, but last season’s victory was the club’s first since 1998. The match was also notable from a statistical point of view as City retained 64% of the possession, the highest share they would control in the whole on the 2009/10 season.
It was the sort of ball retention that Paulo Sousa will be hoping his side can recreate on a regular basis this season. Sousa’s own record at Selhurst Park is encouraging too. In just his third game in charge of QPR his side claimed a goalless draw, then his Swansea team took a 1-0 win last season.
One point to note is that the game will be overseen by Mr K A Woolmer who awarded 4 penalties last season in the Championship, all of them for the home side.
As the season begins every supporter has high hopes. These are both clubs who have experience in reaching the playoffs. Crystal Palace (17) are the only team to have played in more Championship playoff matches than Leicester (14). But it seems like only one of these clubs has any realistic hope of reaching the playoffs this year. Leicester should have enough to get Paulo Sousa off to a perfect start.
On This Day – August 7th 1999
A last minute own-goal from Frank Sinclair saw City lose their opening day match at Arsenal 2-1. City had taken the lead through a 57th minute strike from Tony Cottee, only for Denis Bergkamp to equalize eight minutes later and Sinclair’s misdirected clearance to cost City the points. It would turn out to be Sinclair’s first of two last ditch own goals in a week, meaning City started the 99/00 campaign with four points from a possible nine instead of seven.