Crystal Palace were made to wait ages, but in the end Roy Hodgson’s return as manager provided a joyous 2-1 victory over Leicester at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
The victory keeps Crystal Palace (30 points) 12th in the table and puts them six points clear of the relegation zone with nine games left to play. Leicester (25 points) remain 17th, just a point above the bottom-three.
Crystal Palace had the first 20 shots of the game, before Leicester made their first attempt toward goal in the 46th minute. Wilfried Zaha, who had seven of the first 19 shots, was forced off with an apparent groin injury after the Palace talisman went down without contact just moments before halftime.
20 – Crystal Palace have already had 20 shots against Leicester, their most in a single Premier League match this season. It's the most first half shots a side has had in a Premier League game since December 2015 (Liverpool 20 vs Leicester). HodgsonBall. pic.twitter.com/M4p1lrByYt
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 1, 2023
WATCH CRYSTAL PALACE vs LEICESTER FULL MATCH REPLAY
Leicester’s first shot on target came in the 56th minute, and it resulted in the game’s opening goal. It was all Leicester early in the second half, after Brendan Rodgers brought Ricardo Pereira on to replace Kenny Tete and pushed Timothy Castagne forward to the right wing after the restart. Coincidentally, it was Pereira who got the goal off a through ball from Castagne.
The lead lasted just three minutes, though, as Eberechi Eze smashed a free kick off the underside of the crossbar and off the back side of goalkeeper Daniel Iversen for an unavoidable own goal.
Crystal Palace saved their best scoring chance of the game for the very end, as Jordan Ayew threaded a through ball to Jean-Philippe Mateta in the 93rd minute, sending the Frenchman in on goal with only Iversen to beat. He slotted the ball inside the near post to send Selhurst Park into raptures.
JEAN-PHILIPPE MATETA WINS IT FOR CRYSTAL PALACE WITH THE LAST KICK OF THE MATCH! #MyPLMorning | #CPFC pic.twitter.com/mv27d50uSq
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 1, 2023
Leicester not too big to be relegated
By the end of the weekend, Leicester could very well find themselves in the bottom-three of the Premier League table. 18th-place West Ham (24 points) will host last-place Southampton (23 points) in east London on Sunday, and a win for either side will see the Foxes drop into 18th with 10 games remaining.
With just two wins in their last 13 PL games, it is clear that Brendan Rodgers’ side is a legitimate relegation candidate. The Foxes will likely need 10-12 points between now and the end of the season, and it’s getting harder and harder to see them turning this sinking ship around.
Stars of the show
Crystal Palace will continue their relegation battle with a trip to Elland Road to face Leeds (26 points – 16th place) on Sunday (9 am ET). Leicester, on the other hand, be quite busy this week as they face Aston Villa (38 points – 11th place) on Tuesday (2:45 pm ET) and Bournemouth on Saturday (10 am ET).
Crystal Palace vs Leicester final score: 2-1
How to watch Crystal Palace vs Leicester live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
A VERY unfortunate own goal to level the match at Selhurst Park. 😅
📺: @peacock #MyPLMorning | #CRYLEI pic.twitter.com/XH7dcVESOF
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 1, 2023
Key storylines & star players
Hodgson came out of retirement to take over until the end of the season, at which point Vieira’s (still to-be-chosen) permanent replacement will take charge with another summer of squad turnover to come. Though they sit nearer to mid-table than the bottom-three heading into matchweek 29, the gap between Crystal Palace and 18th-place West Ham is only three points, meaning they could tumble as far as 17th with another defeat (pending results elsewhere). Wilfried Zaha’s six Premier League goals lead the way for Crystal Palace this season, but the Ivorian international hasn’t scored since Nov. 6 (11 appearances, all starts). Since Zaha’s last league goal, Palace have scored just seven goals in 15 games (1W-5D-7L).
Leicester’s winless run isn’t quite as long as Palace’s (only five games – 0W-1D-4L) since the Foxes inexplicably scored four goals in back-to-back victories over Aston Villa and Tottenham at the start of February. Since then, two goals in five games and three clean sheets against. In fairness, they have faced Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Brentford during the slide, which is perhaps the reason that Brendan Rodgers is still in the job through the recent international break. The other defeat, by the way? It was to last-place Southampton. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes are level on nine goals each, while forwards Patson Daka, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy have combined to score eight PL goals this season.
Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Sam Johnstone (calf) | QUESTIONABLE: Vicente Guaita (hamstring), Joachim Andersen (calf), James McArthur (illness), Nathan Ferguson (undisclosed)
Our XI to take on Leicester City 👊@shophumm 📲#CPFC | #CRYLEI
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) April 1, 2023
Leicester team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Ryan Bertrand (knee), James Justin (achilles), Youri Tielemans (ankle), Jannik Vestergaard (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Harry Souttar (ankle), Victor Kristiansen (ankle), Jonny Evans (undisclosed)
Back to it. Here's your Foxes XI 📝 💛#CRYLEI pic.twitter.com/w9JraxjBhL
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 1, 2023