Premier League preview: Crystal Palace v. Man City
- Crystal Palace has earned four points in their last 3 PL games v. MCFC
- Crystal Palace has 3 clean sheets in 4 home PL matches this season
- Sergio Aguero has not scored in 6 PL matches at Selhurst Park
With Liverpool set to face Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal in the next three matches with Champions League play sprinkled in, now is the time for Manchester City to pounce.
Pep Guardiola leads Man City to Selhurst Park with a hefty eight point distance between them and the Reds atop the Premier League table, looking to make a dent in the differential as they face Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.
[ WATCH LIVE: Crystal Palace v. Manchester City ]
Kevin de Bruyne has been on fire despite his injury troubles, with eight assists in league play this season, double anyone else in the league. Unfortunately, the Man City defense has not followed suit, with the squad banged up and conceding twice to Wolves before the international break and recording just three clean sheets this season. The nine goals they’ve conceded thus far is triple what they allowed through the first eight matches of last season - in fact, it took them until a Week 16 loss to Chelsea to concede nine league goals.
Now, they face an in-form Crystal Palace side challenging for a European place to begin the season, having won its last two and four of its last six. They have been excellent at home, going unbeaten in four this season in league play. They aren’t dominating teams, but they’re earning results and sit sixth in the table with 14 points. What’s more, they’re doing all this without stalwart defender James Tomkins, who struggled with a groin injury early in the season and has suddenly found his place in the squad snatched up by Martin Kelly and Gary Cahill who are performing well together at Selhurst Park.
Roy Hodgson has instilled a culture of consistency at Crystal Palace that has allowed the club to not just earn results against teams they should beat but also challenge for points against the best squads in the league week in and week out.
Crystal Palace: OUT - Mamadou Sakho (groin), Connor Wickham (ankle).
Man City: OUT - Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee). QUESTIONABLE - John Stones (thigh), Benjamin Mendy (thigh).
Crystal Palace: Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Kelly, Ward; McArthur, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Zaha; Ayew.
Man City: Ederson; Zinchenko, Otamendi, Stones, Walker; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Bernardo Silva.
What they’re saying
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on Raheem Sterling: “The criticism that could be leveled at him then and was, much to my displeasure because I would see him playing well, the big thing for Raheem is that there’s no draining his confidence, and no doubts. He’s playing in a team that creates a lot of chances so he gets in the right positions. His maturity, not just as a Manchester City player, but shouldering a very heavy burden with the racism and the attention that is being paid to the racism problem that we have. He has been a spokesperson.”
Man City boss Guardiola on Roy Hodgson: “I think since Roy took over the team [Palace] with zero points and helped them to avoid relegation, they have always made a really good season. They have incredibly talented players. Of course I admire him. He has the patience and love. It’s incredible. You have to have a lot of energy every day and he is there.”
Manchester City has a loaded squad with reinforcements on the way in John Stones and Benjamin Mendy. Stones in particular is a massive addition, and if he is indeed fit to play, his presence gives this squad new life at the back. Still, Crystal Palace is as formidable a mid-table side as any in the Premier League and will be hungry to prove they mean business challenging for Europe this season. It will be a hard-fought grind, but Man City walks away with a quality 1-0 victory behind a goal from Raheem Sterling.