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With any hopes of a top-seven finish seemingly dead in the water, the Conference League represents Leicester’s best shot at returning to Europe for the 2022-23 season, but they have it all to do in the Netherlands next week following a goalless stalemate with PSV on Wednesday night.
Neither that stalemate nor the recent one at Old Trafford were welcomed with open arms by the Leicester faithful, who saw three points turn to one after James Maddison‘s late winner was ruled out for a foul on Manchester United’s Raphael Varane, but taking a point home from the Theatre of Dreams is still no mean feat.
However, a top-half finish in the Premier League is all that Leicester realistically have left to fight for on the domestic front this term, as Rodgers’s side occupy 10th spot in the rankings with Aston Villa and Southampton both within touching distance.
Leicester do have two games in hand on their upcoming opponents, but the European fatigue is not letting up for the Foxes, who have won just one of their last five in all competitions and have next week’s trip to PSV in the back of their minds.
On a brighter note, Leicester have now strung together a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions at the King Power Stadium – winning four of their last five – but Palace are in no mood to let the momentum from Monday night take an immediate hit.
Leicester boss Rodgers still has the injured quartet of Jamie Vardy, Ryan Bertrand, Wilfred Ndidi and Danny Ward missing for Sunday’s game, but Boubakary Soumare should be back in contention despite muscular soreness.
Caglar Soyuncu and Ayoze Perez were both missing from the draw with PSV due to illness, and while the former is expected to return to the squad, Perez is more of an uncertainty. Nampalys Mendy will be fine to feature, though.
The need for fresh legs amid the quick turnaround should see James Justin, Ademola Lookman and Patson Daka considered for starts on Sunday, and Mendy’s possible return could see Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall pushed further up the field or dropped entirely in favour of Lookman.
As for Palace, Zaha was fit enough to start and star in the win over Arsenal on Monday, but Nathan Ferguson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a thigh injury.
The Palace boss affirmed at his pre-match press conference that Ferguson was the only player not in training, so that would suggest that Michael Olise has overcome the foot problem which forced him to miss out against the Gunners.
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Whether the 20-year-old is ready to start remains to be seen, but Vieira will surely see no reason to fix what is not broken with his first XI this weekend.
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Soyuncu, Castagne; Mendy, Tielemans; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Daka
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp; Ayew, Mateta, Zaha