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Complacent Leicester suffer a 3-0 pre-Christmas beatdown to relegation threatened Crystal Palace at the King Power

Just in case you’d forgotten what losing feels like

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Looking for their 5th win on the bounce and hosting a Crystal Palace side without an away goal all season, most Leicester fans were expecting nothing less than 3 points.

Unfortunately the team packed absolutely zero punch from the kickoff and allowed Palace to tear them apart on the counter.

The Foxes were nearly a goal down on 6 minutes after former Leicester man Jeff Schlupp charged past Vicente Iborra and into the penalty area, crossing in towards Christian Benteke, for what looked to be an easy tap-in. Luckily for the Foxes, the ball squeaked through the legs of Benteke.

Palace continued to look the far more dangerous of the two sides, and rightly took the lead in the 19th minute courtesy of some terrible Leicester defending. Harry Maguire was positioned woefully in the build up, leaving Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson to mark 3 players. Simpson, unsure of who to mark, was unable to get anywhere near Benteke, who easily met Andros Townsend’s cross and headed home from 2 yards to give the visitors the 1-0 lead, effectively ending a 13 game goal drought.

Unfortunately that goal didn’t serve as any kind of wake up call for the Foxes, who continued to look completely off the pace, as the half progressed.

Wilfred Zaha doubled Palace’s lead on the nick of halftime after Riyad Mahrez was dispossessed in the visitors half, giving them the opportunity to ruthlessly counter. They did just that, with one pass from Benteke to Zaha taking the entire Leicester defence out of the equation and allowing Zaha to easily finish past Schmeichel and give the Eagles the 2-0 lead, capping off an absolutely dreadful 45 minutes for Leicester.

Things didn’t get much better in the 2nd half for the Foxes. Strangely enough, Claude Puel elected to make no changes at the break, despite his team looking completely off the pace in the opening 45.

The team did come out looking a tad more ambitious in possession, with Riyad Mahrez nearly grabbing a goal in the 50th minute. After being played in by Vardy down the right, the Algerian was able to fire a low shot towards the far corner of the goal. Unfortunately for Leicester, Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni was able to get a firm hand to it and steer it away from the incoming Vardy.

Unfortunately any momentum Leicester hoped to gain was effectively killed off by referee Martin Atkinson in the span of a couple minutes. First he called what looked to be a goal back from Iborra for a push on James Tomkins, before sending off birthday boy Wilfred Ndidi for a dive in the penalty area.

Of the two incidents, the call on Iborra seemed extremely ridiculous considering the inconsistencies with those types of calls. In last seasons’ 4-0 loss to Manchester United we saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic practically use Wes Morgan as a stepladder to score, and the referee hardly batted an eyelash. Some would even argue the diving booking was fairly harsh, considering that although Ndidi was definitely looking to make a meal of it, Scott Dann did make contact with his ankle. Either way, Ndidi received his 2nd yellow, and the team, feeling hard done by, showed absolutely no sign of a fightback for the remaining 30 minutes.

Benteke nearly scored his 2nd goal of the game in the 81st minute, after being left unmarked at the back post only to be spectacularly denied by a leaping Kasper Schmeichel.

Bakary Sako did finally make it 3-0 in the dying stages of stoppage time, emphatically finishing off Leicester on the counter.

Overall it was an absolutely pathetic performance from Leicester. Not only was there absolutely zero fight, but now Ndidi’s set to face a one match ban. A Christmas push towards the European places now looks unlikely with a tough league cup match against table toppers Manchester City on Tuesday, and fixtures against Man United, Watford, and Liverpool rounding up the month.