Manchester City will be hungry and determined for a victory as they welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad stadium on Saturday.
Manchester City will be brimming with confidence as they welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad stadium on Saturday. Things have not been all that great for Crystal Palace so far this season while everything seems to be going according to plan for Pep Guardiola’s squad.
City look absolutely unstoppable at the moment. In the last four games, they have won all four while scoring 17 goals and conceding just one. In fact, the club currently sits atop both Premier League and Champions League tables. With such a fierce form, City will be eager to play a struggling side like Palace to pick three points this weekend.
Palace have lost every one of their first five league games without scoring a single goal – a feat that had never happened in the history of English football’s top flight before. Although Palace have already changed managers, Roy Hodgson didn’t give the fans any encouragement with the team’s performance against Southampton last week.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany is expected to be available after a calf injury. Ilkay Gundogan is unlikely to feature after suffering a minor knee injury in midweek in his first game back following nine months on the sidelines.
Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero were all rested against West Brom, so the most important players in the team will be completely fresh coming into this match. Aguero will fancy his chances of breaking Eric Brook’s record of scoring 177 times in all competitions for the club – Aguero is now three goals short of surpassing him.
City have all the tools to beat Palace and could guarantee a win by halftime, which would be important to rest players ahead of a tough Champions League match midweek. Guardiola could stick with the 4-3-3 formation which has served him well in recent games.
City put a total of 10 goals past Feyenoord and Watford using this system, and they are unlikely to need the extra level of control provided by a 3-4-3 when they face Palace. Raheem Sterling could line up alongside Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, though Bernardo Silva is another candidate.
Predicted lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D. Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Aguero.
Crystal Palace are set to hand centre-back Mamadou Sakho his first league start since he joined the club permanently last month. Wilfried Zaha and Connor Wickham remain sidelined by injuries. Zaha has not played since the defeat at Liverpool a month ago and the Eagles are now hoping he will be fit for the Chelsea game in October.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to be used in attack by Hodgson who is again expected to field his preferred 4-4-2 formation. Palace will come to the Etihad to defend really deep and either try to get a goal on the counter or via a set piece – which could prove to be a dangerous proposition, to say the least.
Palace will be heavily reliant on the services of Mamadou Sakho when it comes to dealing with Aguero. While he lacked fitness for the opening games of this season, the Frenchman has been brought up to speed and is likely to get a place in the starting line-up to marshal the club’s frail defence.
Their previous performances in the new season have not been encouraging when it comes to conceding goals. Now, they face two most in-form Premier League attacks in the next two games and will need Sakho back to his best pronto, if at all they harbour some hope of sneaking in some points.
Predicted lineup (4-4-2): Hennessey; Ward, Fosu-Mensah, Sakho, van Aanholt; Townsend, McArthur, Cabaye, Schlupp; Loftus-Cheek, Benteke.
- Manchester City have won 13 of their last 14 competitive matches against Crystal Palace, scoring 35 goals in the process. Palace won 2-1 at home in the Premier League in April 2015.
- The Eagles have lost on all five previous Premier League trips to the Etihad Stadium, conceding 16 goals and scoring only once.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 14 goals and assisted five more in his 17 Premier League appearances since the start of March 2017.
- Of players to have scored 10+ goals in Premier League history, Manchester City’s current strike partnership have the two best minutes per goal ratios.
- Crystal Palace also now own an unwanted Premier League record for the longest wait for a first goal (450 minutes).
Player To Watch
Sergio Aguero is one of the greatest Premier League players right now, and yet has not won any Player of the Year awards. However, the sensational striker has again hit the heights for City as he continues to improve his all-round game. He will want to break Eric Brooks’ record of 177 goals for City, and can hope to increase his tally on Saturday.
His hat-trick against Watford means he now has five goals out of five league games this season and a career total of 125 premier league goals from 186 games. After a rest midweek for the game against the Baggies, the Argentine striker is expected to start this weekend and yet again, he will be expected to get his name on the scoresheet.
Manchester City 3 – 0 Crystal Palace
Manchester City are flying high and Palace are simply not strong enough to put up a strong fight, especially since it will be a home game for Guardiola’s men. However, they are expected to offer better resistance compared to their earlier performances in the season.
West Brom managed to contain the City attack to an extent in the cup encounter on Wednesday, and Palace will try to do a similar task – even though they will not have enough strength in the central midfield area like the Baggies.
If and when City score against Palace this weekend, it is likely to rain goals with City’s players looking high on confidence, and Crystal Palace can simply not match up to Guardiola’s men at the moment.