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Nov 3, 2019 at 2pm UK
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Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between surprise packages Crystal Palace and Leicester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of the Premier League's surprise packages so far this season face off at Selhurst Park on Sunday when sixth-placed Crystal Palace host third-placed Leicester City.

Palace have lost just one of their last five league games going into this match, while Leicester have won four of their last five including a record-equalling 9-0 humiliation of Southampton last weekend.

Match preview

Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Leicester have moved on from last Friday's bonanza at St Mary's, but such a result will no doubt make opposition all the more wary of a team which has quite rightly earned glowing praise so far this season.

Many tipped the Foxes to push for a top-six spot this term, but few had them sitting third after 10 games and only two points behind champions Manchester City, who are also the only team to have outscored them in 2019-20.

Victory on Sunday would give Leicester their best-ever start in the top flight, with their current tally of 20 points from 10 outings equalling their record from the 1930-31 season and one better than their unforgettable title-winning campaign.

Such is the standard being set at the moment that Leicester are still eight points off Liverpool's pace at the top of the table, but they look perfectly capable of challenging for a top-four spot this season, with four points already separating them from fifth-placed Arsenal.

Manchester United and Liverpool are the only teams to have beaten Leicester in 13 matches across all competitions this season, and nine of their last 11 have ended in victory - including a 3-1 triumph away to Burton Albion in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

That made it 12 goals in their past two outings with two vastly different starting lineups but, as impressive as their attack has been, their defence has also made light of losing Harry Maguire in the summer and boast the joint-fewest goals conceded in the league so far this term.

Such a record may concern a Palace side that has only averaged one goal per game in the league this season, but Roy Hodgson will nonetheless be just as happy as his fellow former Liverpool boss Rodgers with how the opening 10 weeks of the campaign have gone.

The Eagles go into the weekend sitting sixth in the table, above Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur and only one point behind Arsenal, against whom they recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2 last weekend.

Granit Xhaka's act of petulance under provocation stole the headlines in that match, but you can be sure that Hodgson fully appreciated the fightback from his side having been beaten at home by Man City a week previously.

Palace's record of one defeat in five is made all the more impressive by the fact that this will be their fourth successive game against a team starting the day in the top five - a difficult run which is almost certain to stretch to seven with Chelsea and Liverpool next up after Leicester.

One cause for optimism lies in their record against the Foxes having won each of their last four editions of this fixture, scoring 13 times and conceding just once in the process, and the most recent of those wins prompted Leicester to sack Claude Puel in February.

Only once before in their history - against Wimbledon from 1989 to 1991 - have Palace won five successive top-flight games against a particular opponent, but they will be expecting a completely different test against Rodgers's Leicester this time around.

Crystal Palace Premier League form: LDWWLD

Leicester Premier League form: LWWLWW
Leicester form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Team News

Crystal Palace will hand late fitness tests to Andros Townsend and goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, the latter of whom is considered the more likely to recover from the groin injury which has kept him out of the last two games.

Townsend is a major doubt due to a muscle problem and is expected to join long-term absentees Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham on the sidelines for this one.

Hodgson is again expected to opt for Jordan Ayew leading the line ahead of Christian Benteke, with the Ghanaian having scored four goals in his last eight Premier League games - compared to only three in his previous 32 before that.

Wilfried Zaha remains Palace's main attacking threat, and he boasts a good record against Leicester, scoring in each of the last three meetings and four times overall versus the Foxes - more than he has managed against any other club.

Zaha and Jamie Vardy are the two players who have won the most Premier League penalties since August 2014 - 16 apiece - and both will be on the field for this one with Vardy in particularly good form at the moment.

The former England striker has scored 18 goals in his 20 league games under Rodgers and has six in his last four following last weekend's hat-trick.

Ayoze Perez also came away from the Southampton game with a match ball, while James Maddison has four goals in his last five outings and Youri Tielemans has three in three for the free-scoring Foxes.

Vardy, Maddison and Tielemans have all been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award, and all three are expected to start in what could be an unchanged side from last weekend.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Tomkins, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur, Zaha; Ayew

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi; Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy

We say: Crystal Palace 1-2 Leicester

Leicester have won just one of their last 14 league games in London, but this is a team brimming with confidence who will go into every match believing that they can come away with all three points. Palace have been in good form themselves and will not be easy to beat, but we are backing the Foxes to carry on flying.

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Premier League Table
2Manchester CityMan City33213981344766
3Leicester CityLeicester33177963313258
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd331510856332355
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33131374536952
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs33139115244848
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd33121293433148
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle331110123545-1043
14Crystal Palace33119132840-1242
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton33812133544-936
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3387184058-1831
18Aston Villa3376203662-2627
20Norwich CityNorwich3356222561-3621
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