Crystal Palace: How Do We Outfox The Foxes?
With both sides buoyant after last Sunday’s impressive victories this should be a rip-roaring affair. In last week’s preview I suggested that how Palace fare against Everton would be a handy barometer of how things are likely to go in the early part of the season. Warnock’s third match in charge did not start so well and Everton were cruising until Tim Howard’s rush of blood to the head as he brought down McArthur. As soon as Jedinak smashed home the penalty the Eagles’ confidence soared and an exact replica of last year’s 3-2 victory was a massive fillip.
If that was a surprise then what happened in the last 30 minutes at the King Power stadium put the Goodison result into the shade. To come back form 3-1 down to eventually run out 5-3 winners was impressive enough, to do it against Man United was sensational. Even if Van Gaal’s team are not quite the finished article yet there is enough quality in the team to intimidate most teams. And so that four goal surge shook the order of things and how.
One of the most interesting stats is that Palace have had eight different scorers so far in their five league matches. Whilst it is good to spread the load it is always reassuring to have a headline goal scorer and Dwight Gayle would seem to be our most natural choice. But Gayle is not necessarily in the starting line-up and many have questioned why this should be when his record is so good. Selection could be complicated by the return of Chamakh from injury, who has become an automatic choice.
So with a few issues over who to pick still hanging tantalisingly in the air we are facing a Leicester side who have acquitted themselves admirably in their return to the Premier League. They had an incredibly tough baptism back in the big time, facing the likes of Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea and Nigel Pearson’s mean have acquitted themselves very well but slightly under the radar until they performed their dramatic transformation against United. This will be another interesting test of character and quality as we pit ourselves against the surprise package of the year so far.
Richard Foster’s first book The A-Z of Football Hates is now available.