Leicester 3-0 Crystal Palace: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Persistent Foxes Break Down Stubborn Eagles

Leicester secured their first win in five games on Saturday, as they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at King Power Stadium.
James Justin was unlucky not to find the back of the net, his first of two long range efforts cannoning off the bar. The hosts controlled the proceeding in the first half but failed to really trouble Palace’s backline, as Gary Cahill and co. defended well.
Leicester finally broke the deadlock after the break, as Kelechi Iheanacho pounced on some poor defending. Youri Tielemans’ low cross caused problems for Vicente Guaita, leaving the Nigerian to simply tap home and finally get the breakthrough for the Foxes.
Another Palace mistake allowed Leicester to double their advantage, leaving Jamie Vardy to wrap up the three points. Mamadou Sakho’s costly slip put the ball on a plate for Harvey Barnes, who simply squared it to Vardy to tap it in for his 100th Premier League goal.
Vardy made it 101 in stoppage time, with a trademark striker’s finish. Barnes once again put him through on goal, and as soon as he was away there was no doubt about the end result, as his classy finish secured a massive win for Leicester in the race for a top four finish.
Key Talking Point
With just one win in eight league games and no victory since the restart, Leicester simply had to win this one. The hosts had the best share of early chances, but for all of their progress into the final third, they could not find that cutting edge.
Eventually, it was a mishap at the back and smart positioning from Iheanacho which saw them take the lead, finally breaking through after a frustrating first half. It was the spurt of confidence the Foxes needed, to be able to seize control of the game and play with more freedom.
Leicester were, truthfully not at their best, but they took advantage of the clear chances and did enough to earn the win in an improved performance. It is a huge confidence boost to a club chasing a Champions League finish, and ahead of a crucial few weeks to conclude the season, it is no less than what Brendan Rodgers’ side needed and deserved.
Starting XI: Schmeichel (6); Justin (7), Evans (6), Söyüncü (6), Chilwell (6); Pérez (6), Ndidi (7), Tielemans (7*), Albrighton (6); Iheanacho (7), Vardy (7).
Substitutes: Bennett (6), Praet (6), Fuchs (6), Barnes (7), Choudhury (N/A).
Vardy does deserve praise for his late brace on Saturday, but credit is due to Youri Tielemans for his influence in the middle of the park. His clever movement and sound cross into the box resulted in the Foxes’ opening goal, and it was the Belgian’s great passage of play which gave the hosts the lead and kickstarted their afternoon en route to earning the win.
Key Talking Point
A run of four straight wins came to an abrupt end for Crystal Palace, with back to back defeats to Liverpool and Burnley. Despite having conceded five goals in their last two away games, the Eagles proved their defensive prowess by keeping out a flurry of chances from the hosts, defending well to keep Leicester’s attack quiet.
After a superb early defensive performance, an avoidable mistake from Guaita undid all of Palace’s hard work. It was the same story for Leicester’s second – another shocking error from Palace gifting the goal and the three points to the hosts. They had been so solid at the back in the first half, but defensive ineptitudes and sloppy play cost the Eagles in the second.
Starting XI: Guaita (5); Ward (6), Sakho (5), Cahill (7*), Van Aanholt (6); Milivojevic (7), McArthur (6), Riedewald (5); Zaha (6), Benteke (6), Ayew (5).
Substitutes: Kouyaté (6), McCarthy (6), Townsend (N/A), Mitchell (N/A).
While it was a shocking performance overall for the visitors, Gary Cahill remained as solid as ever. The experienced Englishman was the main reason Leicester could not break through at first, and ended up having the Eagles’ best chance of the game with his header.
Leicester travel to London next Tuesday, when they face Arsenal at the Emirates. The Foxes are on the road once again at the weekend, going down to the south coast to play relegation battlers Bournemouth on 12 July.
Crystal Palace have a big London derby up next at Selhurst Park, as Chelsea make the trip down to south London next Tuesday. The Eagles then play their penultimate away game of the season in the Midlands, when they meet Aston Villa at Villa Park on 12 July.
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