Leicester v Crystal Palace: Pardew's road warriors to run down Foxes

There have been lots of Crystal Palace smiles in the dugout at away games in 2015
There have been lots of Crystal Palace smiles in the dugout at away games in 2015

Alan Pardew only joined Crystal Palace in January, but Michael Lintorn foresees him delivering away win number 12 at Leicester...

"Crystal Palace have won a remarkable 11 of their 14 away matches under Pardew. One of those was against Leicester, while they have triumphed at Anfield and Stamford Bridge too."

Back Crystal Palace to win @ 3.412/5

Leicester 2.3211/8 v Crystal Palace 3.412/5; The Draw 3.613/5
Saturday, 15:00


Across the last decade, the majority of Claudio Ranieri's club stints have followed a similar trajectory of really promising openings that swiftly sour, so there was a fear that a 5-2 home defeat to Arsenal four weeks ago to halt their unbeaten start would signal collapse.

Instead, they responded with a 2-1 win at Norwich and 2-2 draw (from 2-0 down) at Southampton to sit fifth after nine fixtures, five points off the top of the table compared to ten points clear of the relegation zone.

The news on the injury front is positive, with just long-term absentee Matty James and possibly bench-warming striker Leonardo Ulloa, who hasn't started in the league for Ranieri, unavailable.

Crystal Palace

The Eagles have joined Leicester in significantly outperforming expectations to be perched a point below them in sixth, with their 15-point return a huge increase on both nine at this stage last season and three nine games in two years ago.

The general consensus is that Alan Pardew has constructed a very threatening team with Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur and Jason Puncheon in midfield and Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha out wide, but that they are lacking in the centre forward position.

Regardless of whether you think that is a fair criticism, it is certainly an issue this weekend, with Dwight Gayle suspended and Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh not yet fully fit. Pardew's solution may be to pick one of his attacking midfielders there rather than Fraizer Campbell or Patrick Bamford. Joel Ward is also a doubt.

Match Odds

There is an obvious pattern apparent in Palace's results: they have lost all four clashes with fellow top-seven sides and won all five against the rest. However, there are two reasons to believe that the Londoners will be able to treat Leicester like a member of the latter camp rather than the former.

The first is that the majority of their top-seven conquerors were long-term members of the elite instead of gatecrashers - Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham teams that they are always rated outsiders against - and the exception against West Ham can be rationalised by Gayle's sending off.

Reason number two is the difference between their home and away records. Only the Spurs setback occurred on the road, where they have won a remarkable 11 of their 14 matches under Pardew. One of those was against Leicester, while they have triumphed at Anfield and Stamford Bridge too.

The Foxes are another club that are better travellers than hosts - indeed it will surprise you how ordinary their King Power Stadium figures are in this most extraordinary of starts. Their victories came against bottom two Aston Villa and Sunderland and they conceded twice in both encounters.

Beyond that, they were held by Tottenham, thrashed 5-2 by Arsenal and required extra time in the Capital One Cup against West Ham. As Palace don't do draws - they haven't had one in the Premier League this term or one away in any competition in the entirety of Pardew's reign - they should be trusted to achieve a third successive win over the east midlanders.

To Score

Leicester have netted at least once in all 11 games under Ranieri, notching twice or more in eight of those, so even if this column's prediction of Palace prevailing is vindicated, the home side are likely to contribute at least one goal.

Jamie Vardy has struck in six consecutive club appearances, with two braces in that period, and hasn't been shut out while representing them in over two months, yet can be backed at around 2.6413/8 to fire.

Recommended Bet:

Back Crystal Palace to win @ 3.412/5

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