Premier League
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Crystal Palace 1-0 Leicester: Luka Milivojevic earns Eagles win

Luka Milivojevic scores for Crystal Palace against Leicester
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic proved the difference as his side claimed back-to-back home wins

Crystal Palace secured their first Premier League victory without Wilfried Zaha in over two years thanks to captain Luka Milivojevic's superb strike in a scrappy win against Leicester at Selhurst Park.

Both sides struggled to create chances in a drab first half until Milivojevic beat Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards out with a powerful, curving shot.

Jamie Vardy earlier had a goal disallowed for a foul on Vicente Guaita as the returning striker caught the Palace keeper, making his Premier League debut, dawdling on the ball.

After the interval, Guaita made a fine save to deny Vardy - flicking the ball onto the inside of the post and claiming the rebound.

That was as close as Leicester came, with Demarai Gray and substitute Rachid Ghezzal both sliding efforts narrowly wide.

Palace also failed to exploit the openings they found but held firm under concerted pressure in the closing stages to claim a potentially vital win and move five points clear of the relegation zone.

Palace break Zaha curse

Palace had lost their previous 13 league matches without talismanic winger Zaha - who was suspended on Saturday - a run stretching back to a 3-2 victory at Sunderland in September 2016.

The hosts still sorely missed him against Leicester, with Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew both working hard but lacking Zaha's creativity.

Despite not carrying much threat up front, Palace got through with a resolute performance from their defence and midfield, and a moment of exquisite quality.

Townsend and Aaron Wan-Bissaka worked the ball down the right but could not find a way through. It found its way to Milivojevic in a more central position and the Serbia midfielder took a touch before hitting a fine, arcing shot into the far corner.

Elsewhere, James McArthur, freed up from his nominal role on the right of a midfield four to run in between the lines, was excellent and caused Leicester problems.

And Martin Kelly - in for the suspended James Tomkins - epitomised a largely solid defensive display from the hosts, routinely beating Vardy to head clear Leicester crosses.

Eagles still need a goalscorer

Palace will not be able to rely on sublime strikes from central midfielders all season and manager Roy Hodgson, despite his pre-match claim there are already "players within our ranks who can score goals", should consider signing a goalscorer in January.

Palace have just five goals in eight league games at home this season, with only Huddersfield scoring fewer.

Ayew was a willing runner throughout - a little too keen in straying offside several times - but he and Townsend lack a clinical edge, with both having shots blocked when free on the edge of the Leicester area.

Despite his overall importance, Zaha has not offered much of a goal threat this season either - the Ivorian has failed to score since netting three times in his first four appearances.

Christian Benteke is still to come back from injury but only scored three times in a poor 2017-18 season, while Alexander Sorloth is yet to score in the league since joining in January.

Connor Wickham is also close to a return to the starting side but it may be asking a lot of him to provide the goals Palace will need to avoid a nervy relegation battle after a torrid spell out with a serious knee injury.

Man of the match - James McArthur (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur shields the ball from Leicester left-back Christian Fuchs
Cheikhou Kouyate, Luka Milivojevic and Martin Kelly all had fine matches, but James McArthur was at the centre of everything Palace did best, hassling back and popping up between the lines

Leicester still lacking

The Foxes are a curious side to watch this season.

They have an assured goalkeeper, a solid defence, two capable defensive midfielders, tricky wingers and the menacing pace of Vardy up front.

And yet they are adding up to less than the sum of those parts. As a result, they are 11th in the table on 22 points, having scored and conceded 21 goals.

Following defeat by Spurs last time out, they were flat again on Saturday and never really did enough to justify an equaliser - apart from Vardy's misfortune at seeing his poked effort not deflect in off the inside of the post after Guaita's save on 79 minutes.

Manager Claude Puel made a change at half-time, bringing Rachid Ghezzal on for James Maddison and pushing Gray up front before later replacing him with Kelechi Iheanacho.

However, aside from a fine run by Gray and Vardy's chance, it made little difference, with the visitors only mustering two shots on target against a supposedly vulnerable Palace side.

'We ground it out' - reaction

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, speaking to BBC Sport: "In the first half I thought we were very good.

"We lost Cheikhou Kouyate in the second half and when he had come off it handed the ascendancy to Leicester. We then had to make certain we worked hard and ground out the victory.

"We did not concede that many chances - the one we did that I thought they would score we had a stroke of fortune.

"Martin Kelly deserves a special mention. To come in with not many games behind him and play like he did, he deserves an enormous pat on the back."

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Palace had to 'grind out the victory' against Leicester - Hodgson

Leicester boss Claude Puel, speaking to BBC Sport: "We did not start the game with the right intensity. We played a poor first half, it was not enough.

"We came back in the second half with a good intensity and quality. We had three or four chances to come back into the game. We deserved to come back but it is a big disappointment because we need the points.

"We were unlucky at the end but we lost three points. It is important to correct this and to play a consistent game from the start until the end."

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Puel believes Leicester 'deserved' a comeback

Leicester do not like London - stats

  • Crystal Palace have won consecutive home league games for the first time since their final three matches at Selhurst Park in 2017-18.
  • Leicester are without a win in their past 10 Premier League visits to London (D4 L6), since a 3-2 win against West Ham in March 2017.
  • Palace have won and kept a clean sheet in their past three league games against Leicester.
  • Since his Premier League debut in February 2017, Luka Milivojevic has scored more goals in the competition for Crystal Palace than any other player.
  • Andros Townsend has been directly involved in three goals in his past two league matches for Palace at Selhurst Park (one goal, two assists), one more than he managed in his previous 14.

What's next?

Palace are away at Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, 22 December (kick-off 15:00 GMT).

Leicester face Chelsea at the same time, but before that play City in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday (kick-off 19:45).

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 31GuaitaBooked at 90mins
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 34Kelly
  • 12Sakho
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 18McArthurBooked at 45mins
  • 8KouyatéSubstituted forSchluppat 65'minutes
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 7MeyerSubstituted forPuncheonat 90+3'minutes
  • 10Townsend
  • 14J AyewSubstituted forSørlothat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Speroni
  • 2Ward
  • 6Dann
  • 9Sørloth
  • 15Schlupp
  • 21Wickham
  • 42Puncheon

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 14Ricardo PereiraBooked at 61mins
  • 5Morgan
  • 15Maguire
  • 28Fuchs
  • 24Mendy
  • 25Ndidi
  • 11AlbrightonSubstituted forOkazakiat 89'minutes
  • 10MaddisonSubstituted forGhezzalat 45'minutes
  • 7GraySubstituted forIheanachoat 73'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 2Simpson
  • 6Evans
  • 8Iheanacho
  • 12Ward
  • 20Okazaki
  • 21Iborra
  • 31Ghezzal
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
24,738

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home8
Away12
Shots on Target
Home1
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Leicester City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Leicester City 0.

Offside, Leicester City. Christian Fuchs tries a through ball, but Wes Morgan is caught offside.

Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace).

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jason Puncheon replaces Max Meyer.

Booking

Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Shinji Okazaki replaces Marc Albrighton.

Attempt missed. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Martin Kelly.

Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Attempt blocked. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Mamadou Sakho.

Foul by Wes Morgan (Leicester City).

Alexander Sørloth (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kelechi Iheanacho with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Alexander Sørloth replaces Jordan Ayew.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

Attempt blocked. Rachid Ghezzal (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Demarai Gray.

Rachid Ghezzal (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace).

Offside, Crystal Palace. Vicente Guaita tries a through ball, but Andros Townsend is caught offside.

Offside, Crystal Palace. Jeffrey Schlupp tries a through ball, but Andros Townsend is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Rachid Ghezzal (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Demarai Gray.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jeffrey Schlupp replaces Cheikhou Kouyaté because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Attempt missed. Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Attempt missed. Max Meyer (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Booking

Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Christian Fuchs (Leicester City).

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace).

Attempt missed. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Andros Townsend.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andros Townsend.

Attempt missed. Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Cheikhou Kouyaté with a cross.

Attempt missed. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City17142148103844
2Liverpool1613303462842
3Tottenham17130431161539
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Man Utd167542826226
7Wolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester176472121022
13Brighton166371922-321
14Newcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff1742111733-1614
17Burnley1733111533-1812
18Huddersfield1724111028-1810
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1723121642-269
View full Premier League table

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