Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: 23 September 2017
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Kick off: 15:00
UK TV: Not on TV
Manchester City return to Premier League action as the league leaders when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s side overcame a testing West Brom outfit in the Carabao Cup in midweek, where Leroy Sané’s dazzling performance was slightly dimmed by another injury to midfield anchor Ilkay Gundogan but could, nonetheless, earn him a place in the starting XI for this weekend’s game.
Captain Vincent Kompany is thought to be available for selection again after a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury sustained on international duty with Belgium. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Gundogan is unlikely to be in the squad for the game.
Yaya Touré could earn a Premier League recall, however, after being given his first minutes of the season against West Brom in midweek.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that deadline day arrival and the club’s Player of the Year last season Mamadou Sakho will make his first start since securing a £30m move to Selhurst Park. Wilfred Zaha and Conor Wickham both remain out with injuries.
Crystal Palace remain at the foot of the table after Hodgson’s opening match in charge ended in a 1-0 loss at home to Southampton. The Eagles did, however, manage to find the back of the net for the first time in this campaign when Bakary Sako scored a winner against Huddersfield on Tuesday. Although, in the league, Palace remain goalless – with a record 450 minutes without a goal.
There were certainly some signs of improvement against Southampton and it was, ultimately, an early lapse of concentration that cost them from picking up their first point/s of the season. The return of Mamadou Sakho is likely to aid them defensively but it still too much of a dramatic change to be able to transform them into a side able to cancel out the joint-most potent attacking force in the league so far this term.
This is where life is going to get me. I’ve been rather reserved with my predictions in recent weeks and have even predicted for City to drop points. This time, I’m going for a 4-1 win and you can all blame me when it comes crashing down.
I don’t think Palace have the physicality in midfield to compete with City and can see Guardiola’s side completely dominating. Yohan Cabaye’s early free-kick will be canceled out by Gabriel Jesus before the break. Sergio Aguero will add another two to his tally and it will be rounded off by a last-minute Kompany header. Sounds good, doesn’t it?