If ever Leicester City needed three points, Saturday’s match at home to Crystal Palace, could be that match with upcoming fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton, likely to yield little output.
Battling not to be cast adrift from the other relegation candidates, a win at home against Alan Pardew’s Palace side could see the Foxes move out of the bottom three and manager Nigel Pearson will be hoping to continue the excellent form from January, moving into February.
As previously mentioned, February looks to be a tough month for the Foxes but with the January transfer window now over, and with Leicester addressing some of the areas of concern, there is optimism they can move out of the relegation zone and move themselves up the table.
Although unavailable this week, due to serving out a suspension, the loan signing of experienced Premier League defender Robert Huth from Stoke City, looks to be a sound purchase and will give more support to a backline bereft of any Premiership experience. Along with the returning Matt Upson, the defence has more of a look that screams out a survival chance than it did back in December.
Leicester fans will hope to see more of the exciting record buy Andrej Krameric and he looks to have started the beginnings of a partnership with Argentine Leo Ulloa, keeping the reliable David Nugent, firmly stuck to the bench.
The continued inclusion of Jamie Vardy on the wing may come to an end, now the exciting Riyad Mahrez has returned from International duty and with Knockaert and Albrighton getting limited game time whilst the Algerian winger was at the African Cup of Nations, Foxes fans will be hoping to see Mahrez ready and raring to go in the run in.
The midfield has had a look of confusion throughout the season, with differing combinations in a large proportion of the games and with most of the squad now fit, boss Pearson will look to get back to a settled partnership that benefitted his side last year in their promotion winning season.
With veteran Mark Schwarzer in goal, it looks like the experiment with Ben Hamer has ended and though the former Charlton goalkeeper did not disgrace himself, the experience of the veteran Australian keeper could be a crucial move for the Foxes.
Crystal Palace go into the game buoyed by Pardew’s arrival and have had a productive transfer window with the Palace manager looking to stamp his own authority on the side early.
Wilfried Zaha looks rejuvenated since returning to Selhurst Park and the purchase of Yaya Sanogo and Jordan Mutch could be two of the better signings for the London side. Palace will also the influential return of skipper Mile Jedinak, who has been on duty with Australia in the Asia Cup and coming up against the newly formed Foxes partnership of Ulloa and Krameric will be a good test for the Palace captain.
Home advantage could play a key role in this match and the Foxes faithful have for the most part continued to back the side despite being rooted to the bottom of the table for a large proportion of the season. The squad will hope they continue to hear the backing of the fans and will no doubt want to do all they can for the fans.
Prediction – Leicester to sneak a close victory with a 2-1 win with goals from Krameric and Schlupp to see the Foxes climb out of the bottom three for the first time in months.