Crystal Palace – Leicester: Harvey Barnes’ late goal salvaged a point for a weakened Leicester City lineup in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday at Selhurst Park.
Wilfried Zaha’s wonderful goal before the hour mark could’ve been enough to produce a first win in five tries for Palace. Instead, the Eagles have three draws and two losses in that stretch.
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Palace’s 19th point takes it above Newcastle and into 13th, while Leicester moved ahead of Everton into second where it will stay for the day since the Toffees’ match with Man City was postponed due to the visitors’ many positive COVID-19 tests.
Three things we learned from Crystal Palace – Leicester
1. Rodgers’ ‘B Team’ hopes fall short: The Foxes took a point each from Manchester United and Crystal Palace, but Rodgers’ would’ve thought his rotation would land at least four points. Yes, Leicester controlled the opening half and could’ve well led 1-0 had Kelechi Iheanacho not missed a penalty and Cheikhou Kouyate failed to block a rebound, but this wasn’t a successful few days.
Youri Tielemans was introduced just before Zaha’s goal and failed to keep track of the Ivorian while James Justin was sucked into Christian Benteke’s orbit.
Jamie Vardy entered eight minutes after the concession, while Wilfried Ndidi did not feature. Vardy was said to have a knock, the same reason given for keeping Wesley Fofana and James Maddison out of the 18 altogether (at least Newcastle is next).
2. Economical goal the difference as Zaha snaps to life: Wilfried Zaha looked to be missing pep in his step during the first half, caught on a partial breakaway by Daniel Amartey, but he emerged from halftime a new man and scored with Palace’s first shot on target. The Ivorian was an influential part of the build-up to his fine finish, too, playing the ball out wide and then getting off the ground to head back post, his smashed volley of Andros Townsend’s cross too hot for Kasper Schmeichel to handle.
3. The draw neither wanted: As detailed in Thing No. 1, the Foxes’ top four hopes demanded three points from this one considering Palace’s four-match winless run. Likewise, the Eagles needed to snap out of their funk given how they’d like to avoid anything like last season’s slump that sent them from European contender to the lower half. No one’s going home happy from South London.
Man of the Match: Harvey Barnes
The match-leveling winger’s terrific, mazy goal puts him ahead of counterpart Ayoze Perez and penalty-saving Vicente Guaita.
Barnes finds the net again!
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 28, 2020
Crystal Palace – Leicester recap
Leicester spent most of the opening phase in the Palace end, and James Tompkins was bailed out for a penalty conceded to Harvey Barnes when Kelechi Iheanacho’s stop-start attempt was saved by Vicente Guaita.
Wilfried Zaha broke up the center of the pitch after Hamza Choudhury gave away the ball, beating Jonny Evans but denied by Daniel Amartey. Christian Benteke headed the ensuing corner over the frame.
Palace broke down the left through Schlupp, whose cross was put wide of the near post by Andros Townsend.
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While Leicester had most of the ball and the chances, it was a Zaha-led rush that ended with his sweet volley of Andros Townsend’s cross.
But the Foxes introduced several big names off the bench and Barnes produced a deserved equalizer. Center back Jonny Evans collected the assist to cap a strong performance.