Free Soccer Picks for Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City

Lee Phelps

Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:59 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 25, 2014 7:59 PM GMT

Expert handicapper previews this Premier League clash between Leicester City and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London, and offers his free soccer picks for the match. 

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock was at his usual mischievous best following his team’s extra time defeat to Newcastle in the League Cup. He claimed the loss was down to the Stadium Announcer at Selhurst Park, who announced the winner of the tie would be heading to Cup holders Manchester City in the next round! Behind the scenes the Warnock will be happy to be out of the League Cup.

The former Sheffield United manager learned a valuable lesson when he managed the South Yorkshire club. They went on a fantastic cup run, playing Arsenal in the semi-finals, but ultimately missed out on promotion to the Premier League. Whether it was the additional cup games that cost his team we’ll never know, but ever since, wherever he has been in charge, he has played weakened teams and never been too upset to leave the cup when he has a bigger job to do.

Palace have won just one match in the Premier League so far this season and with the next round of the cup coming between key fixtures against West Brom and Sunderland he’ll be thankful not to have a midweek trip to Manchester to contend with.

 

Crystal Clear Counters
The London side are the latest to adopt the minimal possession maximum points mantra having traveled home from Everton with all three on the coach with them. The Atletico Madrid model has caught on, albeit with inferior players. Alisdair Kemp spotted the shift in Palace and detailed it in the Croydon Advertiser: “

Fraizer Campbell never stopped running; the back four diligently held their positions and demonstrated an assuredness under waves of pressure, while Joe Ledley, Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon turned defence into attack with devastating power and efficiency.

Everton may have had the lion’s share of the ball but time and again they were forced to thread passes down blind alleys or simply switch the ball back and forth from either wing. Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and Leon Osman had all the time in the world on the ball but no options to distribute it. Fans and players alike would grow restless at this perceived dithering; forcing Everton into attempting risky, percentage balls and inevitably yielding possession.

Joel Ward and Martin Kelly would tuck inside to form a compact back four, which also served to draw opposing full-backs Leighton Baines and John Stones into the space vacated down the flanks. This move proved inspired from Palace as Bolasie and Puncheon were able to surge into the unguarded territory on either side of Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka.”

The issue is what happens when they are at home?

 

Foxes on the Hunt
The interesting thing here is that Leicester will be the team sitting in and looking to pounce, if Palace assume the home team’s role then it’ll be down to Nigel Pearson’s men to exploit the gaps, but surely if you also play that way on the road, you should learn how to counteract it? When you look at teams who have played the counter-attacking style away from home, they do attack at home, but strangely seem to fall a little short. Stoke had 27 attempts at goal against Leicester, but the promoted team won 1-0. Liverpool, who are one of the best exponents away from home, had 18 shots on goal against Villa, but lost 1-0, QPR have tried (and failed) to play on the counter away from Loftus Road and had 21 efforts on goal, but drew 2-2 with Stoke.

What I’m saying is I fully expect Palace to attack, but for my free soccer picks I’m siding with Leicester to grab their third successive Premier League win with soccer odds listed at 19/10 at 5Dimes, because I believe they will take their chances and will leave fewer gaps at the back.

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Alloha Ulloa
I’ve already made plenty out of the Argentinian Leo Ulloa and I’m not deserting him here either. I’m really surprised to see you can back him to score a goal at 12/5. He is in form, full of confidence and is obviously a very good finisher.

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