Manchester City have missed their chance to catch up on the Premier League duo during the week following their goalless draw against Everton and Manuel Pellegrini’s men are aware that they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they want to remain in the title race as they prepare to welcome Crystal Palace.
There is no use in ruing missed opportunities, but Manchester City will most definitely feel down knowing they could have gone top of the league after the midweek Premier League round. With Arsenal dropping points at Liverpool and Tottenham losing to Leicester, the Citizens were unable to go further than playing a goalless draw in the game between two most efficient teams in the league versus Everton. It was Manchester City’s first home draw in all competitions since February 2015 and it also snapped their five-game triumphant run at the Etihad. What is more, Wednesday’s draw was the first game in little under a year that the Citizens have failed to get their name on the scoresheet. The stalemate against the Toffees was perhaps somewhat an expected results having in mind City’s inconsistent performances of late. Prolific up front, Pellegrini’s charges have had a lot of problems in the backline, struggling to compensate for the absence of the team’s captain Vincent Kompany. Hosts cannot afford to lose any more points, particularly at home, if they intend to fight for the Premier League honours, but they are aware that Crystal Palace are no pushovers.
Fernandinho and Mangala’s appearances are under a doubt due to hamstring problems, while Wilfried Bony continues his recovery from a calf injury. Nasri and Kompany are long-term absentees.
David Silva is expected to regain his place in the starting line-up following a 15-minute stride against Everton.
Eagles are landing at the Etihad with only one win out of their last five games across competitions and an evident dip in form under manager Alan Pardew. Crystal Palace are coming off from a disappointing performance against Aston Villa, who dispatched Eagles with a 1-0 triumph, thanks to a disastrous error from Wayne Hennessey. Current slump in form can be attributed to the fact that Pardew’s team has been without Yannick Bolasie for the last few weeks, but it most certainly is not an alibi. Palace are currently occupying the eighth spot in the Premier League standings, still in hunt for the European football. West Ham in fifth have only four points more than Crystal Palace and top half battle will be highly interesting until the very end of the campaign. Heading into their highly anticipated game at City, Eagles will be relying on their impressive on the road record. Defeat by the hands of Aston Villa was Palace’s first in last six matches and Pardew’s charges will build their optimism around their fine away form.
Aforementioned Yannick Bolasie remains sidelined for the upcoming event, together with Dwight Gayle.
Connor Wickham could return to the fold at the expense of Bacary Sako, who is likely to remain in the starting line-up but deployed to a wide role.
Key Factors to Consider
- Citizens have won 9 of last 10 meetings with Eagles
- Palace have failed to score in 4 of their last 5 Premier League games with City
- Pellegrini’s men won 15 of the last 18 league games at the Etihad
- City have scored most goals (39) of all Premier League teams
- Palace have failed to win any of their last four league games
Despite their most recent slump, Crystal Palace are indeed the force to be reckoned with, particularly away from their own ground. Manchester City cannot afford to drop any more points though and I can see them going head first from the off.
Verdict: Half-time/Full-time Home win
Best Odds: 20/21