Manchester City will be aiming to open up a six-point gap at the top of the Premier League table when Crystal Palace welcome them to Selhurst Park for Monday’s Premier League clash.
The Eagles enter the contest on the back of a 2-0 success at Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Pep Guardiola’s men progressed past Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.
Most of the headlines at Molineux last weekend centred around Bruno Lage’s impassioned rant after yet another Wolverhampton Wanderers defeat, but take nothing away from the intent and enthusiasm displayed by Crystal Palace in an eye-catching win over the top-four outsiders.
Four days after seeing off Stoke City in the FA Cup, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Wilfried Zaha were both on target for Patrick Vieira’s side before the half-time whistle to kill the game off in the opening 45, with a top-half finish still not beyond the realm of possibility.
Vieira’s side occupy 11th spot in the table at the time of writing, although a point for Leicester City at Arsenal on Sunday would see the Eagles drop down a place, and they are two points behind 10th-placed Southampton before Sunday’s fixtures commence.
A top-half standing would no doubt constitute a successful debut season for Vieira, whose side have now won three of their last four in all competitions, but not since June 2020 have the capital side managed to string a winning streak of three or more games together.
On a more pessimistic note, Palace have only managed to glean one point from the last 12 on offer at Selhurst Park in the Premier League – conceding an average of two goals per game in that stretch – and City have all the motivation that they need to return to winning ways.
Very few would have chosen to watch an inconsequential second leg between Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon while Real Madrid were busy producing a storming comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, and even some of the Etihad home crowd may have felt the same way on Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s much-changed crop shook hands on a 0-0 draw with the Portuguese champions but still progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with ease after a romping 5-0 away success in the first leg, and the 4-1 derby thrashing of Manchester United certainly saw the champions lay down a marker.
The Citizens’ lead at the top of the table has been cut back down to three points after Liverpool claimed a 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion in Saturday’s early kickoff, but Man City have earned the label of away-day specialists recently and ought to feel confident of replicating the Reds’ success.
Indeed, eight of City’s last nine away matches in all competitions have ended in victory – winning each of their last four on the road without conceding a single goal – and Guardiola’s men have only let in eight league goals on rival turf all season.
Palace shocked the English footballing landscape with a 2-0 win over the champions at the Etihad back in October, but City have won six and drawn one of their last seven meetings with the Eagles at Selhurst Park – shipping a mere two goals in the process.
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Crystal Palace form (all competitions):
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
We say: Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City
A depleted Man City defence is there to be breached by Vieira’s bountiful attacking options, with Olise and Zaha capable of causing even the most watertight of defences problems on their day.
However, home has not been where the heart is for Palace recently, and with Guardiola reverting to his strongest XI, City should return to winning ways in convincing style.