Leicester City had to settle for a draw against a poor Crystal Palace side at the King Power in the Saturday Premier League matinee. Neither side came particularly close to scoring, with Danny Ward having only one save to make the entire match. City amassed five shots on goal, but none of them came close to finding the back of the net.
Manager Brendan Rodgers made one change to the team that lost to Bournemouth on Monday, dropping captain Jonny Evans due to an injury, bringing Daniel Amartey into the starting lineup and allowing Caglar Söyüncü to make his first appearance on the bench: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Amartey, Wout Faes, James Justin, Youri Tielemans (C), Boubakary Soumare, Kiernand Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Patson Daka.
The less said about the first quarter hour the better. Both sides worked hard out of possession but lacked confidence with the ball at their feet. This led to a few half-chances for both sides, but nothing dangerous or even particularly interesting came of it. The match was crying out for a moment, or even better, a sustained period of quality.
We didn’t get that, but the Foxes did seem to suddenly remember that Barnes was in the squad and started work the ball down the left. This led to a flurry of activity inside the Palace area, one clear-cut chance, but nothing that was going to beat keeper Vicente Guaita.
I wish there was something more interesting to report, but things went from dull to soporific as the half wore on. Both sides had little spells when they applied some pressure, but the happenings could barely be described as “happening.” Palace failed to get a shot on target. City had two, but you’d need a magnifying glass to see the xG box for them. As Rebecca Lowe put it: “There’s not too much going on at the King Power in the match between Leicester and Crystal Palace.”
#LCFC up to fifth and just six points off leaders Arsenal...— Jordan Blackwell (@JrdnBlackwell) October 15, 2022
...in the first-half table.
This is the most frustrating thing I saw today, and I can assure you, the competition was fierce.
Neither manager made any changes at the half, indicating a puzzling satisfaction with the run of play. The Foxes should have taken the lead right in just two minutes. KDH’s long through ball found Barnes alone deep in the Palace box. He pulled the ball back for Madders, but it was behind him and his volley sailed high over the bar.
City dominated the first fifteen minutes of the half, dominating the Palace midfield but the back line held firm. Madders had another golden opportunity but scuffed his shot just wide with the keeper beaten. Given the way the season has gone, you might expect this to be when Palace would break the deadlock and you’d almost be correct, but Ward was alert to Edouard’s near-post effort.
Rodgers made two changes just after the hour mark, introducing Jamie Vardy and Nampalys Mendy for Daka and Soumare. This put the Foxes back on the front foot, but that foot was missing its goal-scoring boots.
With ten minutes to play, Tielemans came off in favour of Dennis Praet. Just a minute late, Kelechi Iheanacho replaced Barnes. The Foxes poured forward in search of a late winner but couldn’t get a clear look at the goal. Madders picked up a yellow for a dive in the area which was, alas, the right call. The whistle blew and the Foxes had just their fifth point of the season, but they’ll rightly feel they should have had two more.
We’ll take a clean sheet, especially with Amartey in for Evans, but this was still a bitterly disappointing result. None of the individual performances were poor and the defensive effort and organization were impressive, but the attack never got out of second gear. This was the match where we needed Madders to be transcendent instead of merely good. Without his being magical, we had to find a more conventional way of scoring and we just couldn’t do it.
Leicester (0.89) 0-0 (0.44) C Palace— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) October 15, 2022
This is a fair representation of the match: We were twice as good as a very poor Palace side, but still not good enough to score.
The draw gives us five points from ten matches. That rockets us up to 19th on the table for the time being. We host Leeds United on Thursday and then it’s off to Molineaux to face Wolves next Sunday.