Manchester City host Crystal Palace in the English Premier League on Saturday night as they look to cement their position in the top four
Crystal Palace have been impressive against the big sides recently – most notably handing Chelsea a shock 2-1 defeat – and will be looking to add another name to their list as they travel to the Etihad on Saturday.
The Eagles are six points above the relegation zone with three matches left and will be looking over their shoulder at Swansea, especially since Sam Allardyce’s men also face a trip to Manchester United on the final day.
Palace have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool over the last few months and have shown that they can step up when needed but will be coming up against a Manchester City side that will be full of determination.
City are coming into the game on the back of two consecutive draws against Manchester United and Middlesbrough and are rather precariously only one point ahead of City rivals Manchester United, who face Arsenal on Sunday.
Guardiola’s men will be looking for a win and Crystal Palace will have to be at their best come Saturday night. This is sure to be an open, exciting game with both teams still having plenty to play for.
Team News and Tactics
Ilkay Gundogan (knee) remains sidelined for City and will only play again next season, while goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (calf), Sergio Aguero (groin) and John Stones (muscle) will all miss out as well, with the latter suffering an injury against Manchester United.
David Silva (leg) is also a doubt and will face a late test to see if he can play a part against the Eagles. Other than that, Pep Guardiola does not have any fresh injury concerns or suspensions to deal with.
City will definitely be looking to attack as they absolutely need a win at this stage but they will need to be extremely wary of the pace of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, who have been lethal on the counter recently.
They will also need to overcome their set-piece issues as well as their problems with dealing with balls into the box, as the aerial threat of Christian Benteke has been one of the main focal points for Palace since Allardyce took over.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Caballero, Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, De Bruyne, Sane, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus
Yohan Cabaye (knock) is a slight doubt, while James Tomkins (ankle) and Pape Soure (leg) are major doubts and are unlikely to feature. Scott Dann (knee), Connor Wickham (ACL) and Mamadou Sakho (knee) are likely to miss out.
Allardyce has tightened up Palace’s defence as he tends to do when he takes over teams that are fighting relegation, but with both Dann and Sakho missing, he will have to rely on the likes of Kelly and Delaney to put in good performances against City’s potent attack.
Palace will be looking to get Wilfried Zaha on the ball at every opportunity, and Allardyce will be well aware of City’s deficiencies at the back – particularly their weakness from balls over the top and crosses – and will look to hit them on the counter and put their defense under pressure.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Delaney, van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend, Benteke
- Manchester City have won eight of their last nine league games against Crystal Palace
- Palace haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League meetings dating back to May 1993 under Steve Coppell.
- The Eagles last won away at City in 1991 and they have failed to score on their last three visits. The last Palace player to score at the Etihad in the Premier League was Darren Powell in January 2005.
- Manchester City have won just two of their last eight league games, drawing five and losing one.
- They have kept just 10 clean sheets in the league this season, the same total as Bournemouth, Burnley and Middlesbrough.
- Gabriel Jesus has been involved in five goals in his four Premier League starts.
- The Eagles have earned 19 points from their last 10 games, two more than Manchester City.
- Having kept four clean sheets in six games, they have conceded in each of their last four matches.
- Christian Benteke has failed to score in seven previous league appearances against Manchester City.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Crystal Palace
Gabriel Jesus’ return should definitely add to City’s attacking threat even if Sergio Aguero misses out and the fact that Allardyce will be without both his key central defenders means City will likely have a lot more joy going forward than Arsenal and Liverpool did.
Palace are likely to score given City’s porous defence and the form of Benteke, Zaha and Townsend, however given how much is riding on this game for the Sky Blues they should have just enough to take 3 points at the Etihad.