Goals from Ahmed Musa, Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs secured the Foxes’ three points. Yohan Cabaye grabbed a late consolation for the Eagles who now sit eleventh in the Premier League table.
The 3-1 scoreline failed to reflect the true story of the game. Palace had ample chances to score, none more so than when Christian Benteke’s header smacked the underside of the bar with the score still locked at 0-0.
Ultimately, Palace were the architects of their own downfall; not a single defender was quick enough to close down Musa before the winger scored his first Leicester goal, before Okazaki was allowed far too much room by a sleeping Palace side to rifle home his side’s second goal.
Nevertheless, nothing could be done to prevent Fuch’s goal, a wonderful half-volley from 25 yards that flew beyond Steve Mandanda and into the corner of the goal.
How did each Palace player perform?
Player ratings (players must play at least 15 minutes to earn a rating)
Steve Mandanda – 6: Almost gifted Okazaki a goal within a minute when his misplaced pass fell straight into the path of the Japanese international, who could only chip the ball wide. Was unsighted as Musa’s strike whistled beyond him but could do nothing about the other two goals. Distribution was good and an excellent save from Riyad Mahrez in added time prevented a fourth.
Joel Ward – 5: A decent defensive display but left a little to be desired going forward. Andros Townsend cutting inside left plenty of room to be exploited which Ward failed to do. Failed to even move as Okazaki sprinted past him before scoring the second goal of the game.
James Tomkins – 6: Dominant against the physical Islam Slimani and was much improved following his slightly below average performance against former club West Ham United last weekend. Only negative side was him getting in the way of Benteke at a corner from which the Belgian would have surely scored.
Damien Delaney – 6: Like Tomkins, a much better performance from the Irish defender. Was particularly unlucky when his block fell straight into the path of Okazaki who scored. Came close with a header late on.
Martin Kelly – 4: The former Liverpool defender struggled once again on his weaker left side. Failed to make the most of the space created by Wilfried Zaha on the left wing and is evidently uncomfortable playing at left-back. A swap with the more capable Ward seems logical.
Mixed display from the midfield
Yohan Cabaye – 7: The Frenchman capped off his best performance in over a year with his first goal from open play since December. A combative display that saw him win the ball back on multiple occasions and prompt attacks earned him praise from his manager, Alan Pardew, after the game. side-footed the ball home from Zaha’s cross to give the travelling faithful something to cheer.
Joe Ledley – 4: Another poor display from the Welshman saw him taken off just shy of the 75-minute mark. Misplaced several passes and was almost a pedestrian at times as Leicester played around him.
James McArthur – 6: Some nice interplay between Cabaye, Benteke and himself helped to create a couple of opportunities for his side. a few exquisite pieces of skill enabled him to turn away from his marker on a couple of occasions and his range of passing was vastly improved from recent weeks.
Wilfried Zaha – 6: Had the better of Fuchs for most the game and almost scored in the second half but shot straight at Kasper Schmeichel. Appears to have improved a lot in recent months, particularly defensively.
Christian Benteke – 5: A very mixed day for the striker. Benteke was unlucky to see his header hit the bar early on, but squandered the chance to add a consolation late on when he tried to chip Schmeichel, who had stayed upright and saved the effort with ease. Hold up play was good but lacked regular support due to the flat three-man midfield.
Andros Townsend – 5: The winger will certainly have better days in a Palace shirt. An effort that he blazed high, wide and closer to the corner flag summed up his performance. Admittedly did well to double up on Musa with Ward but had very little effect going forward.
Chung-yong Lee – 5: Replaced Lee on 72 minutes but had very little effect on the game.
Fraizer Campbell – 5: Replaced Townsend on 72 minutes and chants of “if Fraizer scores, we’re on the pitch” from Palace fans proves just how much they genuinely expected him to contribute.
Zeki Fryers – NA: Replaced Kelly on 77 minutes to add width but failed to have a say on proceedings.