Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester: Foxes wilt under pressure from tireless Eagles as Brendan Rodgers’ side let two-goal lead slip to extend winless run to four games
- Crystal Palace fought from two goals down to clinch a point against Leicester
- Kelechi Iheanacho pounced on a Joachim Andersen mistake to punish Palace
- Jamie Vardy doubled the Foxes’ lead six minutes later after more poor defending
- Michael Olise gave Palace a lifeline on the hour mark with his first for the club
- Jeffrey Schlupp levelled the scores with 18 minutes remaining with a header
Just when Leicester City looked to be turning a corner some ugly habits reared their head once more.
Brendan Rodgers boarded the team flight out of Warsaw on Thursday night tasked with solving the issues of their slow starts.
So often they found themselves giving teams a leg up and it left them chasing games. If they were going to have another tilt at the top four that was a method of madness. Those slow starts are in part why everyone around the club will have been so keen to see the back of September and a month where they managed just one win from six games.
Crystal Palace fought back from two goals down to take a point from Leicester on Sunday
Second half substitute Jeffrey Schlupp made an instant impact to head home an equaliser
Schlupp celebrates with team-mate Joel Ward amid a lively atmosphere at Selhurst Park
After a slow half an hour, Kelechi Iheanacho gave Leicester the lead against the run of play
The Nigeria international wheels away in celebration after scoring on his 25th birthday
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita 6 (GK); Ward 5, Andersen 4, Guehi 6, Mitchell 6.5; Gallagher 6.5 (Schlupp 71, 7), Milivojevic 6, McArthur 6; Ayew 5.5 (Olise 53, 7), Edouard 6.5 (Benteke 84), Zaha 7.5
Subs not used: Butland (GK), Tomkins, Kouyate, Hughes, Clyne, Kelly
Goals: Olise (61), Schlupp (72)
Manager: Patrick Vieira 7.5
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel 7 (GK), Castagne 5, Söyüncü 5, Vestergaard 5, Bertrand 4.5; Barnes 6.5, Tielemans 5, Choudhury 5 (Soumare 59, 6), Lookman 6 (Albrighton 80); Vardy 7, Iheanacho 6.5 (Maddison 71)
Subs not used: Ward (GK), Perez, Amartey, Pereira, Dewsbury-Hall, Daka
Goals: Iheanacho (32), Vardy (38)
Booked: Bertrand, Tielemans, Barnes
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 6
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6.5
And so when the half-time whistle blew here with Leicester 2-0 up following a frantic seven-minute spell in which Kelechi Iheanacho, celebrating his 25th birthday, and Jamie Vardy ruthlessly punished a Palace side that had dominated, it felt like a corner had been turned.
Only this habit of turning in solid 45-minute, rather than 90-minute, performances is going to be tricky to knock firmly on the head and that is why Palace never appeared to lose hope. Even at 2-0 down fans felt encouraged.
So when 19-year-old Michael Olise, on as a substitute for the ineffectual Jordan Ayew, scored his first ever Premier League goal seven minutes after being introduced to halve the deficit, there was a growing sense of inevitability about what would follow for Rodgers and his players.
Patrick Vieira has proven himself a master of his bench this season, knowing when exactly to make a change and get a result from it.
Against Tottenham it took Odsonne Edouard 29 seconds to make his mark. Yesterday it took 48 seconds for former Leicester full-back Jeffrey Schlupp to make it 2-2. Talk about super subs.
But before Leicester’s fall we need to recap the rise and for 45 minutes, while not magnificent, they were clinical.
Vieira’s side had been dominating, peppering Kasper Schmeichel’s goal for half an hour, before Joachim Andersen’s nightmarish afternoon began.
Watching it unfold in real time it was almost as if it played itself out in slow motion. Marc Guehi across to Andersen who, pressured by an onrushing Iheanacho, tied himself in knots and soon the striker was barrelling down on goal.
The visitors doubled their lead six minutes later as Jamie Vardy hammered home for the Foxes
The Leicester veteran holds his arms aloft, with Palace ruing their inability to find the net
Palace kept pushing and were rewarded on the hour mark through a Michael Olise volley
The 19-year-old points to the fans in celebration after bagging his first goal for his new club
In for his first league start of the season, hyped up on his birthday, it would have been easy for him to have snatched at the chance, overthought what he was going to do, and yet there was nothing of the sorts. Low and hard into the corner, 1-0. Cue an explosion of noise in the away end.
Palace were stunned. Leicester looked bereft of ideas and energy after their efforts away in Warsaw, even with Rodgers making six changes from the trip for this one.
And then five minutes after being shell-shocked by the birthday boy, mouths were left agape across Selhurst Park as Jamie Vardy made it 2-0.
Youri Tielemans watches on in disbelief as he is booked for a challenge on James McArthur
Jannik Vestergaard marshals Palace livewire Conor Gallagher in sun-soaked South London
This time it was a breakdown in the Palace midfield, seized on by Harvey Barnes and as he drove forward he had the enviable sight of Iheanacho to his right and Vardy to his left.
Guehi and Andersen were befuddled deciding whether to close down Barnes or push wide with the strikers and in the end they didn’t seem to do either. Vardy was Barnes’ choice and as he has done to many of Guaita’s peers, Vardy gave him the eyes before firing in low to the near post.
Palace were staring a first home defeat under Vieira in the face, only to force Leicester into some familiar mistakes with Olise and Schlupp the beneficiaries.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers whistles at his players as he saw a two-goal lead slip away
While Rodgers won’t concede it the international break comes at an opportune time. They need to reset and get whatever is in their system right now out because they have been limping in the league for a while.
They have no won just five of their past 16 league games, including two from seven this season.
For Palace, it is easy to see why fans are so excited at this new era under Vieira. Young players are flying, substitutes are taking their chances and teams – which now includes Leicester – well and truly hate coming to Selhurst Park.
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