Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: Selhurst Park can be banana-skin for Leicester
Published 17/03/2016 | 16:21
Alan Pardew is backing Crystal Palace to be title spoilers again when they host league leaders Leicester on Saturday.
Palace derailed Liverpool's bid to be champions when they drew 3-3 with the Reds in May 2015 and the Eagles struck again in April last year, all but ending Manchester City's hopes with a surprise 2-1 victory.
Leicester arrive at Selhurst Park five points clear at the top of the table, and Palace have not won in the league since December, but Pardew believes his players are ready to upset the odds for a third consecutive year.
"It has been a banana-skin, this place, in the past and it's typical of Crystal Palace," Pardew said.
"Our history is littered with upsets against the odds, that's what this club is about."
Pardew continued: "If we were playing, for example, Norwich at home or Sunderland, we'd be expected to win, the pressure is on us, and in the situation where we haven't won games for a while, that might not be ideal.
"But we're playing the perfect team - everything is falling for them. Not one pundit thinks we'll win, so that's actually when Palace are good."
Leicester have found victories harder to come by in recent weeks, having scraped three 1-0 wins and a draw from their last four league matches.
The Foxes are now hot favourites to win the title with eight games left to play, but Pardew believes anxiety will take hold during the run-in.
"It's only natural. Human instinct is when you're trying to achieve something magnificent like they are, you're going to start worrying and doubting," Pardew said.
"It's been almost the perfect season for them but it doesn't always come all the way through, that perfect run. Maybe their blips are still to come."
At one stage it looked like Palace could be a surprise contender to make the European spots, as they sat fifth in the table at the end of December.
A run of no league wins in 12, however, means they are now just eight points clear of the relegation places and Pardew admits to feeling envious of Leicester's success.
"The stars have aligned and planets have aligned for them this season - hardly any injuries, hardly any mistakes in their campaign, now the run is clear for them, they are the clear favourites," Pardew said.
"Even Alex Ferguson said they're going to win it, probably even before the last three games. For us, it's envy a little bit for what they've done and also admiration.
"They're not star names, most of them. Danny Simpson, I had at Newcastle - we released him thinking we could get someone better and here he is in a position to win the league.
"I take my hat off to him and a number of their players."
Pardew will make a late decision on the fitness of captain Mile Jedinak, who has a sore back, but strikers Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh both remain out with adductor injuries.
It means Emmanuel Adebayor's decision not to join up with Togo this month will be even more welcome, the forward instead deciding to focus on helping Palace avoid relegation.
"I think it's great instruction from him as he knows our league form - he wants to turn it around as much as we all do," Pardew said.
"That is a big bonus for us that he hasn't travelled. He's been excellent. Not just his performances but his manner and personality around the group."