Crystal Palace play host to Leicester this Afternoon at Selhurst Park and although perhaps not a ‘6 pointer’ in the truest sense of the word there is still a lot to play for as both teams look to get an all important win in a bid to secure their Premier League status.
Both teams are very much in form as they have the exact same record from their last 6 matches, that is 5 wins and just the one solitary defeats. Runs of form which have seen both clubs drag themselves away from the dreaded relegation zone.
Palace manager Sam Allardyce was perhaps slow in getting the wheels of escape turning but now it is fair to say that they are very much in full swing and there was no greater evidence of this than in their 3-0 mauling of Arsenal on Monday night.
Arsene Wenger’s side were incredibly poor on Monday but that is taking nothing way from the Palace side who got the job done. Andros Townsend of former Tottenham fame opened the scoring and from there on in they never looked back in what was once again a vital three points for the South London club.
That win sees them move 6 points clear of the drop zone and they still have a game in hand, although that one is at home to Tottenham so they cannot necessarily on the extra game for extra points. Instead they will look at Today’s encounter with champions Leicester as a possibility for more points.
Leicester’s unbeaten run under Craig Shakespeare came to an end on Sunday as a much changed side lost to Everton at Goodison Park. The changes were understandable as Shakespeare looked with more than on eye to the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
It was a 4-2 defeat on Sunday but they fared better in the Spanish capital as they were edged out by an Antoine Griezmann first half penalty. Whether it was a spot kick is still debatable, Leicester boss Shakespeare felt it was not with the referree ‘guessing’ in his opinion.
Although they failed to get a vital away goal, Leicester will no doubt be full of belief going into next weeks second leg. But once again you have to wonder just how many changes will be made to the side for this Afternoon’s trip to Selhurst Park.
For Leicester fans as long as they do not finish 18th then the league position becomes irrelevant especially if it can mean further progression in the Champions League. So this game could once again be afforded to give fringe players a run out before facing Atletico again.
That carries a slight risk as they are still not over the line just yet, but the situation has been weighed up and they will most likely feel that they can find the three points somewhere else between now and the end of the season to make sure they beat the drop.
After the Leicester sinking ship has been stabilised and the season all but a right off in terms of domestic matters then it makes full sense to go for broke in Europe. Many will say that is all the wanted from the club this season after a defence of the title was rightly proved unlikely.
So does Leicester’s decision to rest key players now play into Palace’s hands? Well you would very much like to think so as if they see a much changed team sheet to previous weeks then their own chances of getting another win will very much increase.
If Leicester go against my hypothesis and do go full strength (although I cannot see that happening) then I reckon the game will end in a draw but should they not go full strength then I can only see the one outcome and that would be a home win and three massive points for Sam Allardyce’s men.