Leicester City-Crystal Palace Preview
Roy Hodgson claims he "has never felt old enough to retire" as he prepares to return to Crystal Palace for a huge relegation six-pointer against Leicester City at Selhurst Park.
Hodgson left Palace at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but he returned to his boyhood club during the international break after a 12-game winless run in the Premier League led to Patrick Vieira's dismissal.
Palace sit 12th in the table, just three points clear of the bottom three and two ahead of Leicester, but Hodgson had no qualms about walking back into the job.
"I had accepted that I had retired because that is what everyone has been saying," he said. "If I walked down the street, people would say to me 'are you enjoying your retirement?'
"I have never felt old enough to retire. There has always been an opening there for project such as this one.
"Perhaps most importantly of all, we need to try and remove, as much as we can, the fear and spectre of relegation and really encourage people to once again believe they are good players.
"We are a good team - we've shown that on many occasions in the very recent past."
Leicester remain in the thick of the basement battle after losing four of their last six Premier League games, though the Foxes did earn a creditable draw at Brentford last time out.
Some have accused Brendan Rodgers' men of believing they are too good to go down, but the former Liverpool boss is adamant that is not the case.
"That's something that will never be the case," he said. "That's one of the pitfalls, if you think you're better than you are.
"We have shown we can win games, but we haven't done it consistently enough. We're under no illusions. We know the qualities we have, but it's more than that. It's about consistency."
Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha
Palace wideman Zaha has scored more Premier League goals against Leicester than he has against any other opponent in the competition (seven). Those seven strikes have come in just 10 appearances against the Foxes. Hodgson's chances of getting his Selhurst Park return off to a winning start may hinge on the Ivory Coast man.
Leicester City - Harvey Barnes
No Leicester player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Barnes, with his nine goals his joint-best return in a single top-flight campaign. Only once has he reached double figures in a single league season, doing so in 2018-19 (nine with West Bromwich Albion in the Championship, one Premier League goal for Leicester).
Leicester have won just one of their last six away league games against Crystal Palace (D3 L2), with their last two visits to Selhurst Park ending level.
However, after winning four consecutive Premier League games against Leicester between 2017 and 2019, Palace are now winless in their last seven against the Foxes (D3 L4).
The hosts remain without a win in their 12 league games in 2023, drawing five and losing seven. Only three clubs have had a longer run without a Premier League win from the start of a calendar year - Derby County in 2008 (18), Sunderland in 2003 (17) and Middlesbrough in 2017 (14) - and all three of those sides were relegated.
Crystal Palace 30.8 per cent
Leicester City40.3 per cent
Draw 28.9 per cent
Updated March 31, 2023