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Preview: Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

By , Senior Reporter | 3mo
Sports Mole previews Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash between champions Manchester City and Crystal Palace, including team news and predictions.

Manchester City could potentially find themselves four points off top spot in the Premier League when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Citizens are in action the day after current pacesetters Liverpool travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers and cannot afford any sort of pre-Christmas slip-up if they are to keep pace.


Manchester City

Despite making a near perfect start to their title defence, dropping points in just three matches all season, the Citizens still find themselves a point behind unbeaten Liverpool after 17 matches.

City have five points fewer than at this same stage 12 months ago when they were already 11 points clear of closest challengers Manchester United, while the Reds - many peoples' favourites this time around - were 18 points worse off.

The points swing has been remarkable from Liverpool's perspective, yet the champions' standards have not exactly slipped, with their 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in August the only real upset they have faced.

Pep Guardiola's men have already travelled to Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, taking seven points from those fixtures, as well as overcoming rivals Man United on home soil last month.

Liverpool still have some daunting fixtures to come, not least their trip to the Etihad Stadium in a little over two weeks' time. Before then, City have winnable matches against Palace, Leicester City and Southampton, while Jurgen Klopp's side still have top-four chasing Arsenal to face this year.

Finding themselves second in the table will not be too much of a worry for City, then, especially as they are still on course for an unprecedented quadruple. The midweek penalty-shootout win over Leicester set up a semi-final tie with third-tier Burton Albion in the EFL Cup, and they also have a favourable last-16 draw in the Champions League as they face Schalke 04 over two legs.

City have won all nine of their home Premier League matches in 2018-19, scoring 33 goals and conceding just six. Only on five previous occasions has a side started their Prem campaign with 10 successive home league wins, including the Citizens in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

Keeping that run going is now the task for Guardiola, who has been boosted by the return to fitness of last season's Player of the Year Kevin De Bruyne and leading scorer Sergio Aguero. All City and their superstar players can do is keep winning matches and hope that Liverpool eventually slip up.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWW


Crystal Palace

Last weekend's much-needed 1-0 victory over Leicester not only ended Palace's hoodoo without Wilfried Zaha in their side but also lifted some of the weight off manager Roy Hodgson's shoulders.

Hodgson is still the second favourite with most bookmakers to become the next out-of-work manager, behind only Leicester's Claude Puel, having seen his side struggle at the wrong end of the table all campaign.

Palace moved three points clear of the dropzone thanks to Luka Milivojevic's strike against the Foxes, coming on the back of successive away defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United, the latter after taking the lead early on.

Since winning two of their first three away outings, the Eagles have failed to win any of their last six on the road, collecting just one point from that run.

That their solitary away point since mid-September came at Old Trafford perhaps says more about Man United's fortunes than their own, but it is certainly a record that Hodgson will be hoping to set straight over the festive and New Year period.

Palace's lack of striking options is well documented, though Hodgson has not always played his cards right this season. With games against Man City and Chelsea to come, either side of a huge home clash with fellow strugglers Cardiff City on Boxing Day, there is even more importance in finding the right balance.

The bad news for Hodgson is that he has failed to win any of his last seven league matches with this weekend's opponents, with his side failing to score in each of the last five.

That goalless run may well continue this week, too, as no current Palace player has netted a league goal at the Etihad Stadium. The Eagles' last away goal in this fixture was scored by Darren Powell in January 2005.

Recent form in Premier League: LDWLLW


Team News

De Bruyne scored Man City's opener against Leicester on his first start in more than six weeks, and Guardiola may well be tempted to use the Belgian playmaker from the off on Saturday.

Amid a run of nine games in the space of a month, Guardiola is certain to continue rotating between matches. After making eight changes for the trip to the King Power Stadium, City could revert back to a similar XI that faced Everton a week ago.

Aguero is now back involved following a short spell on the sidelines, but Gabriel Jesus is expected to get the nod this weekend on the back of his morale-boosting double against Everton, while Riyad Mahrez should be given a breather after starting two games in a row.

As for the visitors, James Tomkins and star man Zaha will return to the fold after sitting out the Leicester win through suspension.

Vicente Guaita kept a clean sheet on his first Premier League appearance and may therefore have done enough to keep fit-again Wayne Hennessey - one of Palace's shining lights this term - out of the side.

Elsewhere, Cheikhou Kouyate was withdrawn last week and is in a race against time to be fit for the trip to Manchester, though Hodgson will do everything in his power to get the midfielder ready in time.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; Bernardo, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Sane

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Meyer; Zaha, Townsend


Head To Head



Man City have won 10 of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Palace and are unbeaten in the last six.

The Eagles have failed to score in eight of the last 10 encounters and have netted just three in total during that sequence.

Taking only home matches into account, the Citizens have won 10 and lost none of the last 13 matches since a 2-0 top-flight defeat in December 1990.


We say: Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace



Man City are on the longest unbeaten run of any side in Premier League history in the traditional Saturday 3pm kickoff slot, winning 32 and drawing four. The Citizens have won their last 15 such matches by an aggregate score of 57-7, and this should be another stress-free afternoon for the champions.






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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814
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Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814
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