Crystal Palace face Leicester this weekend at the King Power Stadium and, having won their last three clashes with the Foxes without conceding a goal, Palace will be hoping that they can continue their unprecedented run of good results against the 2015/16 champions.
However, BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson, though, thinks that the game could be won or lost depending on whether one Leicester remains benched or not.
Discussing his predictions for the weekend’s round of football in his regular column, the former defender said:
“There always seems to be speculation over the future of Foxes boss Claude Puel, and he really needs to return to winning ways here.
“A lot depends on Puel’s line-up – and whether Jamie Vardy starts this time – but I actually quite fancy Leicester here.
“Crystal Palace are having a good run in the FA Cup and have taken five points from their past three games too.
“The Eagles have been playing quite well and creating loads of chances, but they are still hovering just above the relegation zone and they will have to be careful they don’t get sucked in.”
As Lawrenson says, the Eagles have been putting in solid performances but their finishing needs to be far better if they are to fly away from the relegation zone. They will fancy themselves against the Foxes considering the results from their last few meetings and the possible absence of lynchpin James Maddison, but former England international Vardy will cause them problems should be given the nod.
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The hitman was surprisingly left out of the starting XI in the 3-1 loss to Spurs last time out, with Demarai Gray deputising up front, but came on to score the consolation for his side. Selhurst Park outfit Palace will have to be wary of the 32-year-old’s pace if they are to get the win but also pray that their forwards’ finishing is as exemplary as Vardy’s typically is.