Leicester v Crystal Palace | Saturday 23rd February 2019, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Saturday tea-time sees two middle of the table sides meet at the King Power Stadium. Despite Leicester being five points clear of Crystal Palace, there’s a clear differential in the form guide.
Claude Puel has come under scrutiny from the Foxes’ faithful for a while now but he still remains in situ. Even before their recent poor run (W0-D1-L5 in their last six) City supporters have voiced their displeasure towards the Frenchman’s choice of playing style, tactics and team line-ups.
Leicester are in no man’s land at the minute; they’re not going down but they’re not going to trouble the European places. I’d suggest if they want a change of style then they appoint someone to replace Puel sooner rather than later so they can get their methods across in time for the next season.
Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan were left out for their last game at Spurs, which surprised many – they should come back in here. Vardy prefers playing in a two up-top so he gets the chance to get one-on-one with a centre-half as the other striker occupies the other with strong work rate. That’s what worked so well for them with Shinji Okazaki is their remarkable title winning campaign.
Crystal Palace have quietly been improving in terms of results at least. Their performance data has been decent enough all season; the Eagles are averaging 1.00 goal per-game but their Expected Goals for is at 1.30 – now they have a proper number nine in Michi Batshuayi they’ll be hoping those chances are converted.
Roy Hodgson has seen his side go unbeaten in their last five – winning three. He will be hoping his side use their counter-attacking threat to collect all three points and they’re an attractive enough price all things considered at 27/10.
The betting angles
I’m happy to focus on two wingers who have impressed in recent times. First of all, I like Harvey Barnes to have a shot on-target at 6/5 (Betfair), the same bet is as short as 8/13 elsewhere. He’s been one of the shining lights since returning from his successful loan spell at West Brom and he’s always a threat coming in off the left.
Barnes is averaging a shot on-target every game this season and with Leicester being the home side the pressure will be on them to attack. Crystal Palace’s full backs like to get forward and Barnes is notorious for not tracking back so he might find himself in a bit of space. He’s 7/1 (Betfair) to have two or more strikes on goal which looks overpriced too and has to be worth a smaller play at the price.
On the other side, I’m keen to get on Andros Townsend to simply have two or more shots in the game at 6/5 with SkyBet. These don’t even have to be necessarily on target and given the former England likes to take plenty of potshots from distance it looks worth ago.
As mentioned, Palace like to play on the break and Townsend and Wilfried Zaha are the main outlets with their pace. Leicester left back Ben Chilwell likes to get forward too and it could mean there’s space for him to exploit.
One final bet that simply looks overpriced is for both sides to collect over one card at 10/3 with Bet365’s BetBuilder. The same bet is 11/8 elsewhere and that looks closer to the truer price.
Leicester are actually second only to Southampton when it comes to home cards. They have seen 25 yellows and two reds in their 10 games at their own patch, so over two per-game.
Palace are fifth when it comes to away cards, seeing 27 yellows and one red in their 13 games on the road. Again, averaging over two per game.
There’s plenty of dangerous dribblers who can draw fouls. The aforementioned Zaha, Townsend and Barnes being the most prevalent, Demarai Gray fits into that category too if he starts. The 10/3 looks standout value – I’d have expected 2/1 as a max price given the stats.
Leicester v Crystal Palace – Harvey Barnes to have 1+ shot on-target (6/5 Betfair)
Leicester v Crystal Palace – Harvey Barnes to have 2+ shots on-target (7/1 Betfair)
Leicester v Crystal Palace – Andros Townsend to have 2+ shots (6/5 SkyBet)
Leicester v Crystal Palace – Both sides to collect Over 1 Card (10/3 Bet365)