Manchester City host Crystal Palace at the Etihad this weekend as Pep Guardiola’s Blues continue their unlikely pursuit of Premier League leaders Liverpool. They may have 14 points to make up on the Merseyside outfit, but don’t expect the Citizens to throw in the towel just yet.
Where and when: Etihad Stadium – 18 January, kick-off 15:00
Where you can see Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace: Unavailable in the UK
Last time: Gabriel Jesus and David Silva both scored late in the first half as City beat Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park in October.
Manchester City v Crystal Palace Predictions and Preview
Although the defending Premier League champions have a wonderful record against Crystal Palace, the Eagles actually beat Manchester City in last season’s corresponding fixture. The Citizens have won twice at Selhurst Park since the Eagles upset the odds at the Etihad in December 2018, but that superb result should give Palace some hope here.
City are on a good run at the moment, coming into this game on the back of five successive victories. They haven’t been performing to their full potential for the majority of this season though, while more teams have figured out how to combat their style of play.
That’s led to Guardiola tinkering with his tactics in recent weeks, which has worked in games such as their League Cup semi-final first-leg victory at Old Trafford, where City operated without a recognised striker. Guardiola followed that up by naming both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in his starting line-up away to Aston Villa at the weekend, a rare occurrence that helped the Blues to a resounding 6-1 win.
It remains to be seen whether Guardiola decides to do the same here, but even if one of those two are on the bench, City will be full of goals. Indeed, as well as Aguero’s hat-trick and a Jesus strike on Sunday, it was Riyad Mahrez who kicked off the scoring at Villa Park with a brace.
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Man City to win to nil
Crystal Palace to win 3-2
Aguero to score first
Palace meanwhile claimed a point at home to Arsenal at the weekend, courtesy of a 1-1 draw. They were perhaps a little disappointed not to convert that into all three, following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s red card with around 25 minutes left to play.
That game took the Eagles to four without a win, although their only defeat in that run was a 1-0 loss to Derby County in the FA Cup. All three of the other games finished as 1-1 draws, two away from home against Norwich City and Southampton. Palace have managed a number of strong results on the road this season, beating Manchester United, West Ham and Burnley away from home.
None of those teams are on the same level as City, although Palace’s victory at the Etihad last season started their current run of only six defeats in their last 21 Premier League away games. Roy Hodgson’s side have won 10 of those matches, but a repeat of last season’s heroics appears very unlikely this weekend.
The away team’s task isn’t helped by their injury troubles, with as many as 10 players either doubtful or ruled out of this tough trip north. They include the scorer of last season’s wonder goal, Andros Townsend, as well as Scott Dann, Patrick van Aanholt, Max Meyer and Luka Milivojevic, who is suspended. City on the other hand have only got Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane on the sidelines.
One to watch for Manchester City: Sergio Aguero overtook Thierry Henry as the Premier League’s record foreign goalscorer with his treble at Aston Villa on Sunday, and the Argentine is 27/10 to follow that up with the opener this weekend.
One to watch for Crystal Palace: While Wilfried Zaha is widely lauded as Palace’s main threat, Jordan Ayew actually has twice as many goals as his team mate this season. Ayew scored his sixth of the campaign with the equaliser against Arsenal last weekend, and he is 20/1 to break the deadlock here.
Long shot: It would be some upset if Palace manage to cause another massive shock by beating City on their own patch once again. It would be even more of an upset if they do so courtesy of another exhilarating 3-2 victory, which is priced at 175/1 in the betting.