In a way the opening day trip to Selhurst Park serves as a microcosm for the frustrations Sven-Goran Eriksson outlined after Saturday’s victory over Burnley. Back in August, City produced a second-half display strong enough to win most games, but sadly not one good enough to overturn a 3-0 half-time deficit. Leicester fans, just like Sven on Saturday, were left to lament why a team could play so badly when they had clearly been capable of so much better. Foxes fans must now be wondering if the weekend’s emphatic victory will be enough to overwrite a string of below par performances which have seen City drop from real promotion challengers back to fringe candidates. Tonight’s match will serve as an indicator for whether Saturday’s heroics were too little too late.
There might be something cathartic in gaining revenge for that opening day defeat, and Palace offer few signs that they will be able to stop the Foxes. The Eagles are without a win in 14 away league games, have collected just six points on the road all season and have conceded a Championship high 2.15 goals per game on their travels.
Despite a reasonable home record, Dougie Freedman’s side have hovered one place above the trap door since the beginning of February. Quite why Palace are suffering so badly from travel sickness is unclear, especially as this time last year they held the divisions 5th best away record. But failing to score in half of their away matches doesn’t help, nor does having the fewest attempts on goal in the division.
Leicester meanwhile are unbeaten in their last six home meetings with Crystal Palace, a sequence containing four wins and two draws, and Saturday’s victory has gone a long way renewing confidence at home. Last season the Foxes won 45 points at the Walkers, they’re currently seven points short of that total this year, and will almost certainly need to exceed it by winning the trio of remaining home fixtures to have a hope of making the top six.
There’s no doubting the Foxes can take full advantage of this fixture, but Scunthorpe proved on Saturday (just as Leicester fans will be hoping they can again tonight) the form book can mean nothing if preparations and performances are poor. Many fans will be indulging in the club’s pie and a pint offer this evening, but I’d wager all of them would sacrifice the snacks in favour of three points.