Crystal Palace-Leicester City Preview
It's been a rough go of late for Leicester City, so perhaps the extended down-time will help spark a revitalization for them within the Premier League.
The Foxes look to keep their overall winless stretch from reaching seven games Saturday, when they also try to avoid a fourth straight defeat to visiting Crystal Palace.
Since winning 1-0 at Everton on New Year's Day, Leicester (9-5-12) are 0-1-5 over all competitions. That stretch is mostly the reason they'll enter this matchday 12th in the Premier League table.
Then again, the Foxes have faced some of the league's best sides in their last four matches with road games at Wolves, Liverpool and Spurs, plus a home match against Manchester United added to the mix.
"It's been a tough run of games for us," midfielder Demarai Gray told Leicester's official website.
Leicester have scored more than one goal just three times in their last overall 22 games, so they obviously must find ways to generate some offence. They managed only Jamie Vardy's goal in the 76th minute of a 3-1 loss to Spurs on Feb. 10 - their second consecutive defeat.
That was the last time the Foxes saw action, so they've had plenty of time to regroup while others in the Premier League turned their attention to tournament competition.
"We need to find a clinical edge," manager Claude Puel said. "We need points. We have two home games (also hosting Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday), and it will be important to find results for our confidence and to go up the table."
Keeping with Leicester's current lack-of-potency theme, they also must find a way to score against Crystal Palace, which has won the last three meetings with the Foxes by a combined 9-0 scoreline.
Luka Milivojevic's 39th minute-goal stood up as the Eagles prevailed 1-0 over Leicester at Selhurst Park on Dec. 15.
Palace (7-6-13) are five points back of the Foxes in the table, and 3-2-0 over all competitions since dropping back-to-back league matches to Watford and Liverpool in January. Now, only one of those victories came in the Premier League, but the Eagles have taken five points from their last three top-flight contests.
They also advanced in the FA Cup following last weekend's win at Doncaster Rovers. But the Premier League is still where their collective mind needs to be.
"Our priority and our focus still remain the same, that we would like to do well in the cup, but we would like even more to stay in the Premier League. That always remains the priority," manager Roy Hodgson told Crystal Palace's official website.
The Eagles last went four consecutive Premier League games without a defeat during a six-game unbeaten run to close out 2017-18.
"My perception is that I think I've got a very good football team, they've showed it time and time again this season," Hodgson said.
Recently acquired former Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi made his first start for Palace against Doncaster. It remains to be seen when he will earn a spot in the starting XI for a Premier League contest.
Updated February 21, 2019