These two clubs come into the home stretch with something to play for. Crystal Palace are attempting to break into the top half to cap an excellent season in the Premier League, while Manchester City still have a great chance of securing the title. In fact, if Liverpool drop three points, and City win their remaining fixtures, they could regain the title on goal difference. It would be incredible for them to win the title on goal difference again, but they need Liverpool to slip up first. They will be keeping an eye on Chelsea’s visit to Anfield before they step out at Selhurst Park.
Although there were fears that Crystal Palace would be fighting for their survival up until the final match day, recent form has seen them climb up the table and a top half finish is certainly on the cards. Tony Pulis has worked wonders and he is a front runner for manager of the year. Palace have never stayed up in the Premier League, therefore Pulis has already surpassed any Palace manager in the Premier League era and he has a real opportunity to secure the South London side as a top flight outfit in years to come. There were doubts about the Welshman’s managerial ability in the Premier League after leaving Stoke, but he has shown he belongs at this level after performing miracles at Palace.
Many thought Manchester City’s title hopes were over after their loss at Anfield, but Chelsea’s loss at home to Sunderland means that they only require Liverpool to lose once to have their fate in their own hands again. It is unknown how the City hierarchy are going to view the season if they don’t win the title. They have the Capital One Cup to their name, but that is the least prestigious competition that they entered. Manuel Pellegrini has failed to win major competitions throughout his own career and doubts will only increase if they don’t secure the league title this season. The City owners aren’t as ruthless as Roman Abramovich, but they will want to see the club win major honours sooner rather than later.
In the previous meeting between the two sides this season, Crystal Palace were very unlucky to lose. Manchester City ground out a 1-0 win, but this was when City were in full flow and scoring goals for fun. The goal was scored by Edin Dzeko. The last time they met at Selhurst Park in the league finished 2-1 in Manchester City’s favour.
Crystal Palace have won their last five matches in the Premier League. This is currently the second longest winning streak in the league, behind only top of the table Liverpool
Manchester City have the best goal difference in the league with +56. This is crucial as it gives them the advantage if they are joined top with any side come the end of the season.
Mile Jedinak has been crucial to Crystal Palace this season. He has been very impressive in the holding role, breaking up play and protecting the back four well. The good defensive record of Palace has been largely down to Jedinak. His tackle success rate highlights this as he has won 77.69% of his tackles. His aerial 50-50 win rate of 72% is incredible and it emphasises his ability in the air, which has been key this season, especially when defending set pieces.
The Australian will want a good finish to the season ahead of the World Cup as he appears set to start in Brazil. He will be very important on Sunday as Manchester City are likely to control possession, therefore the Australian will need to prevent their attacking players from running riot and provide a platform for Palace to continue their winning streak.
After a disappointing campaign last year, Samir Nasri has emerged as one of Manchester City’s best players this season under Pellegrini. He offers a threat in the final third as he has the ability to score goals and create opportunities for his team-mates. He has created 66 chances, which is a chance created every 33 minutes. That is up there with the most creative players in the division. He has five assists to his name, while he has also contributed six goals himself.
He will cause Palace plenty of problems this weekend as he drifts between the lines which may cause the Palace players to leave space unattended. A side like Manchester City will exploit any confusion in the back four, and the Frenchman can certainly create confusion.
Crystal Palace have few injury worries going into the weekend with Marouane Chamakh being the only player on the injury list and he is only a doubt for Sunday. They are likely to continue with an unchanged side given the impressive run that the team finds itself on.
Manchester City are likely to be boosted by the return of midfielder Yaya Toure after his groin injury. David Silva, Jesus Navas and Matija Nastasic are all set to miss the game through injury. James Milner could start in place of Silva who was injured during the West Brom match.
It’s going to be a very tough match for Manchester City as Crystal Palace have shown themselves to be very tough opposition, especially at home. They beat Chelsea at Selhurst Park and they’ll be keen to add Manchester City to that list of scalps. I think that the match will end in a draw as Palace will come into the match on a high, which will allow them to play with confidence, but it will be tough to beat Manchester City, who need to win their remaining games to cling onto the slim chance they have of winning the title.
Jan 26, 2015 0