Manchester City will look to bounce back straight away from their surprise Carabao Cup exit when they host Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Manchester City and Crystal Palace will square off at the Etihad Stadium on Premier League Matchday 10. The Citizens’ chances of winning the quadruple this term were dashed in midweek when they were defeated on penalties by West Ham in the EFL Cup following a 0-0 stalemate after 90 minutes.

Pep Guardiola’s men come into this tie in strong league form, having won three and drawn one of their past four Premier League games, only losing points to Liverpool in that period. In their last league match, they trounced Brighton 4-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Phil Foden was the standout performer against Brighton, bagging a brace, but the Manchester City academy product turned culprit in midweek as their four-year dominance in the League Cup came to an end, with the England sensation failing to convert in the penalty shootout. The Citizens will now turn their attention to the Premier League, where they currently sit third after nine games played, two points adrift of table-toppers Chelsea.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are coming on the back of a dominant display against Newcastle. When Christian Benteke put the Eagles ahead against the Magpies, the supporters hoped for a long-awaited victory, but Callum Wilson levelled just nine minutes later to force another stalemate for the Londoners.

The Eagles’ inability to turn draws into wins has plagued them in recent weeks. Patrick Vieira’s side are now 15th in the Premier League table after playing out four consecutive stalemates, but crucially are five points clear of the drop zone, despite having won only one game all season. Ahead of their vital fixture against Manchester City, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both sides.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with, with Ferran Torres the only senior player missing the game as he continues his recovery from a foot fracture. Guardiola will keep the traditional 4-3-3 but with heavy changes from the midweek cup tie.

Zack Steffen started in goal in midweek, but first-choice stopper Ederson, who has five clean sheets in eight Premier League games, will return. Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, and Joao Cancelo are all poised for recalls to the starting XI while Kyle Walker could maintain his position at right-back. However, next week’s important games against Club Brugge and Manchester United must be factored in.

Fernandinho performed admirably in midweek, but Rodri should be ready to return in the midfield orchestrator role after playing full 90 minutes in each of City’s last four league games.

Kevin De Bruyne will play a pivotal role once more, looking to pull the strings higher up the field and threading intricate passes between the lines for the forwards. Bernardo Silva will join Rodri and De Bruyne to form the midfield-three. The Portuguese midfielder will add more balance with his front-foot pressing, exceptional work rate and composure on the ball.

Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez should be relegated to the bench to make way for Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish to return out wide, with English sensation Phil Foden remaining as the focal point of attack after his excellent showing at the Amex last week.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Jesus, Foden, Grealish


Crystal Palace

Like his counterpart in the Manchester City dugout, Eagles’ boss Patrick Vieira has no fresh injury worries hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Etihad, with Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson the only casualties missing due to long-term injuries.

Vieira has changed the style of play and approach since taking charge in the summer, with Crystal Palace more proactive in attack and playing an exciting brand of football. The French manager will opt for a 4-3-3 setup with minor personnel changes.

Wilfried Zaha was on the bench for the Newcastle game after having recovered from illness, with Michael Olise receiving a well-deserved start in his stead, but the Ivorian should be in the starting lineup this time around.

Vicente Guaita is certain to feature in goal. Guarding him in central defence will be a reliable partnership of Marc Guéhi and Joachim Andersen, as they look to stop the Sky Blues from scoring. Tyrick Mitchell has been a solid presence and is improving gradually. He will resume his duties at left-back while experienced defender Joel Ward continues to impress on the other flank as the right-back.

Conor Gallagher, Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur will anchor the three-man midfield for Crystal Palace as they look to contain Man City’s midfield and feed some decent passes to the frontline to launch quick counter-attacks. Gallagher will be eager to push forwards into a an attacking No.10 position, but coming up against a dominant Man City side, it is unlikely he would have much space to roam.

Zaha will provide the creative impetus down the right flank, while Odsonne Edouard focuses on putting a productive display on the left. Christian Benteke will again lead the line for the Eagles through the middle but needs to be more clinical in his finishing.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Milivojevic, McArthur; Zaha, Benteke, Edouard


Key Stats

  • Manchester City have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games against Crystal Palace (W9 D2).
  • Manchester City have a dominant head-to-head record against Crystal Palace, winning 18 of the 24 games so far. The Eagles have three victories to their name.
  • Manchester City are undefeated in eight Premier League matches since their opening-day loss to Tottenham. Their total of 12 goals on home turf is the second-best tally in the league behind Chelsea’s 16, also they are the only club in the division yet to concede a goal at home so far this season.
  • Crystal Palace have surrendered at least two goals in each of their previous six away games.
  • Kevin De Bruyne has an excellent track record against Crystal Palace. He has been involved in eleven goals in 12 Premier League games against Crystal Palace (3 goals, 8 assists).

Player to Watch

Phil Foden

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Regarded as one of the most talented young English players to have come through in recent years, Foden has improvised his game remarkably under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. He has played an influential part in Man City’s success in recent seasons and is on course to have another very productive campaign. He already has eight goal-involvements from just under 600 minutes of footballing action in all competitions.

His incredible versatility has been a major asset to the team and enables them to operate without a recognized No. 9. Guardiola has utilized him in a more central position in the frontline, and instead of regressing, One would argue Foden has improved drastically in the role. He is a very intelligent footballer and a forward-thinking passer and dribbler. His technical first touch, close control, balance and poise on the ball can leave the opposition defence to bits.

The 20-year-old England attacker has a unique ability to find pockets of space to exploit, making him a more potent threat when playing upfront. It is fair to assume that he will remain the poster boy on the blue side of Manchester for many years to come.


Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace

City are undefeated in their own backyard this season, while Palace are yet to win on the road in the Premier League under Patrick Vieira. In fact, Pep Guardiola’s side are yet to concede at home this season, while the Eagles’ have leaked ten goals in the games away from home.

The Sky Blues will be desperate to re-establish their supremacy following a surprise slip-up in midweek and look to close the gap to Chelsea and Liverpool, which could mean danger signs for the visitors on Saturday.

While there is no denying the potential in Vieira’s side, City are likely to run riot against the Eagles, who are in for a difficult afternoon. The Hard Tackle predicts a comfortable 3-0 victory for Guardiola & co., who appear likely to extend their unbeaten home record.

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