Dwight Gayle’s magnificent winner at Aston Villa lifted Palace out of the relegation zone for the first time since September, but the Eagles may find it harder to take flight against Manchester City. Manuel Pellegrini’s side may be erratic on their travels, but at home they are unstoppable, winning all nine of their league games at the Etihad this season and rattling in 37 goals in the process.
Tony Pulis has introduced some defensive solidity to Palace, with three clean sheets in their last five matches, but they face a mighty task to shackle City’s red-hot strikers, including Alvaro Negredo, who can’t stop scoring at the Etihad.
If there is a glimmer of hope for Palace, it lies in City’s defensive frailties: despite the return of the talismanic Vincent Kompany, they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven matches. But Palace are the league’s lowest scorers, with just 12 goals this season, and if City’s “we’ll score more than you” approach was good enough to see off Liverpool’s stern challenge, few will imagine it being seriously tested by lowly Palace.
KICK OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 2 (Wright-Phillips, Tevez), League Cup, August 2009
Manchester City 3 (Wright-Phillips 2, Fowler) Crystal Palace 1 (Powell), Premier League, January 2005
Crystal Palace 1 (Johnson) Manchester City 2 (Anelka 2), Premier League, September 2004
City have won the last four meetings between these sides. Palace’s last win at Manchester City came in this month 23 years ago.
Alvaro Negredo has scored in his last 9 appearances at the Etihad.
Manchester City have now scored in their last 59 Premier League home games, a run dating back to a 0-0 draw with Birmingham City in November 2010.
Sergio Aguero (13) has scored more goals in the Premier League this season than the entire Palace team (12).
8 of Palace’s 12 goals have come in the first 10 or last 15 minutes of matches.
Manchester City to win: 1.12
Crystal Palace to win: 26.0
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.