Thursday, March 23, 2017

Prediction: Crystal Palace v Manchester City

Verdict: Manchester City

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: bet365

Crystal Palace play host to Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon. Crystal Palace enjoyed a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers in the third round, while Manchester City had a resounding win over West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium. Manchester City are strong favourites due to this, while Crystal Palace are 9/2 outsiders. This will be only the fourth meeting of the sides in the FA Cup, the last coming in 1981, when City were 4-0 winners.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace come into this game as complete outsiders and going on recent form you can see why. Sam Allardyce has yet to win in four Premier League games in charge of Palace, his sole win as boss came in the FA Cup replay to League One side Bolton in Round 3 . They currently sit in the relegation zone in the Premier League just 1 point from the bottom of the table. Palace will have to improve on their form to cause a cup upset as they have now lost four straight Premier League matches and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. While Premiership survival battle obviously has the priority at the moment, the Eagles could use the FA Cup to get their season back on track, but they cannot really be trusted to defeat Manchester City, even though the visitors have been struggling for form of late as well.

Team News

Jeffrey Schlupp is a doubt having suffered cramp in a late defeat to Everton, while Connor Wickham (ACL), Jonathan Benteke (knee), Steve Mandanda (knee) and Pape Souare (broken leg) are all out for the foreseeable future. However, Patrick Van Aanholt is closing in on a signing and may be available for selection for Palace.

Manchester City

Guardiola will be looking for a good performance and of course the win. City are firm favourites and are in a much better place than their opponents. They currently sit in 5th place in the Premier League, just two points outside the Champions League places. Pep will be looking to win this trophy as his side has only a slim chance of winning the league as they are 12 points behind Chelsea. The Citizens are still in the Champions League but will face difficult games if they are to go all the way. Therefore, it will be a target of City’s to win the FA Cup and they are aware they stand a good chance of progressing to the next stage by defeating out-of-sorts Crystal Palace. The Citizens are winless in their last two fixtures having lost 4-0 to Everton on the road before squandering a two-goal lead in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, so it goes without saying they are in desperate need of a morale-boosting win. 

Team News

Guardiola’s only injury concern coming into this game is Ilkay Gundogan. The German is out on a long term injury to his knee. Gabriel Jesus will be pushing for a starting place in the team having impressed in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the last Premier League game.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Crystal Palace have never beaten Manchester City in the FA Cup.
  • This will only be the 4th meeting of the sides in the competition
  • In 1926 when these sides met Manchester City won 11-4 in the 5th round
  • City have won the last 11 out of 12 meetings between the sides in all competitions.
  • This meeting will be the 56th meeting of the sides, so far City have won 28, Palace have won 15, with 12 draws.

Conclusion

Crystal Palace have never beaten Manchester City in the FA Cup, therefore their odds of 9/2 are probably about. In addition, there form to date has been quite poor and they are in the relegation zone in the Premier League, whereas City are just 2 points out of the Champions League places. Expect a tight game but Manchester City to win is the bet to have on this game.

Verdict: Manchester City

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: bet365

 

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