Leicester City held on for a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon after leading by two at the half. Goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy gave the Foxes the lead against the run of play, but the Eagles struck back through substitutes Michael Olise and Jeff Schlupp as the teams shared the spoils in an entertaining but frustrating match.
2 - Leicester failed to win a Premier League game in which they were ahead at half time by 2+ goals for the first time since October 2003 (4-3 defeat v Wolves). Before today, they had won each of their last 26 games in the competition when leading by 2+ goals at the break. Slip. pic.twitter.com/2RVaKogHQi— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 3, 2021
Whether due to injuries or a change in tactic (or, more likely, both), manager Brendan Rodgers switched to a 4-4-2 to being the match: Kasper Schmeichel (C), Timothy Castagne, Jannik Vestergaard, Çağlar Söyüncü, Ryan Bertrand, Ademola Lookman, Youri Tielemans, Hamza Choudhury, Harvey Barnes, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Jamie Vardy. Most people expected Iheanacho to start sooner rather than later, but raise your hand if you had Choudhury pencilled into your starting lineup. Now put those hands back down because it’s not nice to fib like that.
Palace lined up in a 4-3-3 and, with the additional man in the midfield, bossed possession in the early going. The play lacked anything resembling cohesion in the early going with both sides looking more likely to take advantage of mistakes rather than carving out chances of their own. The first real opportunity fell to the hosts when Tielemans gave the ball away in his own half, but Schmeichel saved efforts from Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher.
With Palace firmly on the front foot, Eagles’ centre-half Joachim Andersen took a slightly heavy touch just as Iheanacho was applying the pressed. The Seniorman nicked it off the foot off the Dane and had all day to pick his shot and slot calmly past the stranded Vicente Guaita. It was a ridiculous goal out of nothing, but given the way this season has been going? We’ll take it.
Did you like that one? How about another? This time, Choudhury won the ball in midfield and slid it to Tielemans. He dinked the ball over the top to Barnes, who had Vardy and Iheanacho on either side. The “best” pass would probably have been to go to the Nigerian on the right, but he chose to go left and, after a deflection, the ball found the former Fleetwood Town striker. He kept his cool and easily beat Guaita at the near post.
A two-goal advantage does a world of good for a team’s confidence. The Foxes had their tails up, the wind at their back, and probably three or four more cliches. As much as the hosts had dominated the first half, they were the side looking for the whistle to give them a chance to regroup at the half.
The first half was a sloppy, disjointed affair in the London sun. The second started in a squall, which did little to improve the cohesion. After an early bright spell, the Foxes were pinned back again and struggling to clear their lines. Palaces’ best chance of the match fell to former Leicester target Odsonne Edouard, who drifted across the top of the area and beat Schmeichel with a fine effort but couldn’t beat the post.
Just before the hour mark, Rodgers withdrew the impressive Choudhury for the fresh legs of Boubakary Soumare. His first action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net. A long, low cross from the right found substitute Michael Olise near the penalty spot. His first effort struck Bertrand, but the rebound sat up perfectly for him to lash the ball past Schmeichel and give the hosts a lifeline.
Rodgers made his second change with 20 minutes to play, bringing James Maddison for goal-scorer Kelechi Iheanacho. His first action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net. The Foxes failed to clear a ball into the box, allowing the Eagles approximately a million touches before it fell to substitute (and former Fox) Jeff Schlupp, who headed home through traffic.
The final change came in the 80th minute, with Marc Albrighton coming on for Lookman. I waited a full minute before typing anything else to ensure his first action wasn’t to pick the ball out of the net. No, instead, his first action was to stand around Jamie Vardy after James McArthur clattered into him and appeared to have broken one or more of the striker’s ribs.
Neither side carved out a clear-cut chance over the last ten minutes and injury time, although Palace certainly seemed the more likely to do so. The Foxes only just saw off a nervy draw when a win looked more likely at the half.
Did you like the Napoli match? This was pretty much a carbon copy of it: We were outplayed for long periods of time but somehow led 2-0, only to see the lead evaporate and have to settle for a draw. Based on the run of play, you’d have to say that the draw was fair, but you’d also expect more when spotted two goals going into the second half.
xG map for Palace - Leicester pic.twitter.com/QRp1e9yp2j— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) October 3, 2021
Exhibit A: The run of play
The draw gives us 8 points from 7 matches and the 13th position on the table. The international break means our next match will be at home to Manchester United on Saturday the 16th. After that, we head east to face Spartak Moscow in the Europa League on the 20th.
Bad form to embed your own tweets? Don’t care. I feel like I just ate some of Mark’s “Moroccan pasta.”