On Saturday the Etihad will play host to Manchester City versus Crystal Palace. One team with title aspirations and another trying to distance itself from a relegation dogfight. The home side go into the tie as the form team in the league beside their red brothers from Manchester. A run of form that has seen City keep within touching distance of champions elect Chelsea. Pellegrini’s men will see a visit from Neil Warnock’s side as an opportunity to put further pressure on Mourinho’s boys to keep winning. Crystal Palace are no easy game though, recently they have been able to frustrate teams to draws. The Londoners will be hoping to turn some of those draws into victories so as to guarantee their safety in the top flight for another season. A visit to the Etihad isn’t a game Palace will usually look at expecting to pick up points, but by no means does that mean City are not going to have to work for whatever points they aim to get on Saturday. Neil Warnock is capable of putting out a side to frustrate City at home but City are capable of putting out a side running through Palace to another 3 points. Even without Argentine talisman Sergio Aguero Man City have more than enough options to put Palace to the sword especially when playing at the Etihad Stadium.
Man City are to continue without lead striker Sergio Aguero, but will also be without back up options Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic, leaving young striker Pozzo to continue up top as he did against Leicester. The strikers aren’t likely to be back in the side before the end of the year. Captain Vincent Kompany is also set to miss out with hamstring problem so you can expect Mangala and Demicheilis to deputise at centre-back.
Crystal Palace are without Marouane Chamakh who will miss out the visit to Manchester because of his hamstring problem. The London side has had a boost in the shape of Adrian Mariappa returning to training after his knee injury. It will be too soon for him to return to the starting 11 but his return may not be far away now.
- Crystal Palace haven’t won at City since 1990.
- In the corresponding fixture last season City left victorious with a 1-0 win after an Edin Dzeko strike.
- The sides have met 8 times in the Premier League with City winning on 4 of the occasions and Crystal Palace only 1.
- There has never been a red card shown in the fixture during the Premier League era.
- Edin Dzeko has 2 goals against Palac the most of anyone in the squads.
Manchester City: David Silva
With Manchester City’s current injury troubles to their strike force, attention will be aimed towards the diminutive Spaniard whose return from injury is key at this stage giving City’s lack of strikers. Silva may not be famous for his goal scoring exploits but his creation is what will be needed to break down Palace’s rearguard and put the ball on a plate for young Pozo perhaps to collect some goals. As number 10’s go Silva is one of the most effective in the world let alone the Premier League. He will need to pick up the slack left over by City’s ailing front line and he is definitely a player of the calibre capable of doing it with minimal fuss.
Crystal Palace: Mile Jedinak
The industrious Austrailian has made a name for himself screening Palace’s defence. Statistically Jedinak is as effective as the likes of Matic who is considered the best in his position at his club and even in the league. When playing against an attacking team like City defensive responsibility will be high on the list of priorities for Warnock and he will as usual be looking to his captain to be the force he regularly is. The ability to frustrate and stifle City’s fluid, attacking flare must be achieved if Palace are to get anything from the game and you can count on big Mile Jedinak setting the tone with a few strong tackles to let the City stars know they are in for a game.
It is safe to say not many expect Palace to get much from this match. Not only are you playing the reigning champions but you are also playing them when they are currently on a 7 game winning streak and you are near the bottom of the table. Even without their usual striking options it is difficult to imagine Palace withstanding City’s barrage from the likes of Toure and Silva. A comfortable City win should be the order of the day on Saturday afternoon and I don’t think I am the only one thinking that.