Manchester City fans could get their first glimpse of club-record signing Kevin De Bruyne when Manuel Pellegrini’s side visit Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
City head to south London aiming to continue a stunning start to the new season that has seen them claim four wins from four, including a 3-0 victory over defending champions Chelsea.
Belgium attacking midfielder De Bruyne arrived on a six-year-deal from Wolfsburg for a reported £55million late last month.
And, having failed to make the grade during his previous spell in the Premier League with Chelsea, De Bruyne should be particularly keen to prove he was worth the outlay in what is a difficult away game.
A 2-1 defeat at Palace was key in City surrendering the title to Chelsea last term, with Pellegrini’s men this time around facing a number of injury problems.
Midfielder Fabian Delph could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury picked up in England’s 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Switzerland on Tuesday.
Bacary Sagna is a doubt due to an ankle problem, but Wilfried Bony is back in training after missing the 2-0 defeat of Watford prior to the international break due to a cut on his ankle.
Midfielder Fernando is nearing a return from a groin injury that has kept him out of action so far this term, the Brazilian stating he is “pain free” for the first time in a year, although this game will come too soon for the 28-year-old.
Meanwhile, full-backs Pablo Zabaleta (knee) and Gael Clichy (ankle) remain on the sidelines.
For Palace, who sit second behind City, midfielder Joel Ward is set to be out for up to a month with an unspecified injury sustained in training, while Marouane Chamakh (hamstring) is still unavailable and Mile Jedinak, Fraizer Campbell and Joe Ledley have similar problems.
Alan Pardew’s men have won three of their four games to start the season and beat Chelsea 2-1 last time out.
Despite the players that City have brought in during the transfer window, Pardew is confident his starting XI can compete.
“City were really looking strong before the break, so it will be two teams looking to find the form they were in two weeks ago,” Pardew said.
“Only time can prove value for money. I think they’ve purchased good players. [Raheem] Sterling gives them something different. Only a handfull of clubs can spend like that. But we’re in the next batch of clubs behind them.
“You can only play 11. If you could field 20 players, City would win, but our starting 11 is very strong.”
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