MX23RW : Friday, July 30 00:02:36| >> :120:25827:25827:
Jan 18, 2020 at 3pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 54,439
Man CityManchester City
Crystal Palace
Aguero (82', 87')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Tosun (39'), Fernandinho (90' og.)

Preview: Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Crystal Palace, including team news and predicted lineups.

Manchester City will be looking to make it six straight victories in all competitions when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Pep Guardiola's side moved above Leicester City into second spot in the table last weekend, but they are still 14 points off leaders Liverpool, while Palace occupy ninth following a solid campaign to date.

Match preview

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero embrace on January 12, 2020© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that City have not been at their best this season, and it seems incredible to think that a team with their talent have suffered five Premier League defeats already this term.

Guardiola's side were at their best last weekend, though, as they recorded a 6-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick for the reigning champions, while Riyad Mahrez continued his fine form with a brace as Dean Smith's team were blown away in front of their own supporters.

The win, coupled with Leicester's shock home loss to Southampton, saw City return to second spot in the table, now two points clear of the Foxes on the same number of matches.

The Citizens could win each of their remaining 16 matches of the 2019-20 campaign and are still unlikely to get anywhere near Liverpool, though, as Jurgen Klopp's side have a 14-point advantage with a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Fernandinho during the EFL Cup game between Manchester United and Manchester City on January 7, 2020© Reuters

It will certainly be interesting to see whether Guardiola prioritises other competitions as the season progresses as it could still be a brilliant campaign for the club. Indeed, they are on course to make yet another EFL Cup final having recorded a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the first leg of their semi-final.

City are also through to the fourth round of the FA Cup having overcome Port Vale, while they have the small matter of a last-16 Champions League clash with Real Madrid to come. The first leg of their European tie will be at the Bernabeu on February 26 before the reverse at the Etihad Stadium on March 17.

Guardiola's team have lost to both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United on home soil in the Premier League this season, while Palace have already triumphed at Old Trafford during the 2019-20 campaign.

All City can do in the league is keep winning and see where that takes them, and they will be looking for a double over the Eagles having recorded a 2-0 victory in the reverse match at Selhurst Park in October.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson before the match on January 1, 2020© Reuters

Palace might have lost their last two Premier League games against the Citizens, but they recorded a 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium in the corresponding clash last season.

The Eagles are certainly a team capable of picking up big results, although much of their success this season has been built on a strong defence, with only three teams conceding fewer goals in the top flight.

Incredibly, no side in the Premier League has scored fewer goals than Palace during the 2019-20 campaign, with Roy Hodgson's team finding the back of the net on just 20 occasions in their 22 matches.

Cenk Tosun has arrived on loan from Everton in the hope of boosting their output in the final third, while it would also be fair to say that the fans will be looking for more from Wilfried Zaha over the next few months.

Indeed, as talented as the Ivorian is, he has only contributed three goals and three assists in the Premier League this season, which is simply not enough for a player with his skill set.

Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring for Crystal Palace on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Palace, who were dumped out of the FA Cup by Derby County earlier this month, will enter Saturday's clash off the back of a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend.

The capital outfit have actually only won one of their last eight in the league, which came at home to West Ham United on Boxing Day. They have been the draw specialists in many ways having shared the points in five of their last eight fixtures in England's top flight.

There is no question that Hodgson would take a point at the Etihad Stadium, and a positive result this weekend would lead them nicely into back-to-back home fixtures with Southampton and Sheffield United.

Palace will again travel without a number of key players, though, and it is difficult to imagine City not putting another win on the board due to their excellent form in recent weeks.

Man City Premier League form: WWLWWW
Man City form (all competitions): LWWWWW

Crystal Palace Premier League form: DLWDDD
Crystal Palace form (all competitions): LWDDLD

Team News

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez scores against Chelsea in the Premier League on November 23, 2019© Reuters

City will again be without the services of Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane through injury, but Guardiola otherwise has a full selection to choose from.

Raheem Sterling is likely to return to the starting XI having been given a rest against Villa, although Bernardo Silva might have to accept a spot on the bench once again due to Mahrez's form.

Indeed, the Algeria international has managed two goals and three assists in his last three league outings, in addition to a goal against Manchester United in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

John Stones could again keep his spot at the heart of the defence, while David Silva is expected to get the nod over Ilkay Gundogan in central midfield, with the home side expected to dominate the ball.

Palace, meanwhile, could hand a full debut to Tosun following his arrival on loan from Everton.

The Eagles still have a whole host of players on the treatment table, though, with Andros Townsend, Jeffrey Schlupp, Joel Ward, Christian Benteke, Patrick van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho and Max Meyer all out.

Key midfielder Luka Milivojevic is suspended, meanwhile, meaning that James McCarthy, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate are likely to continue as the midfield three.

Further forward, Jordan Ayew could shift into a wide position to allow for Tosun to lead the attack.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy; Rodri, D Silva, De Bruyne; Sterling, Aguero, Mahrez

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Kelly, Tomkins, Cahill, Riedewald; McArthur, McCarthy, Kouyate; Ayew, Tosun, Zaha

Head To Head

City lead the head-to-head record 33 wins to Palace's 16, while there have also been 13 draws between the two sides throughout history.

The Eagles have only enjoyed two Premier League victories over their opponents this weekend, although one of those arrived at the Etihad Stadium on their last visit.

The Citizens have won nine of their last 11 meetings in all competitions, though, including a 2-0 success when they travelled to Selhurst Park earlier this season.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace

Palace's defensive record this season must be respected and therefore it is difficult to back a heavy City victory this weekend. Guardiola's team will enter the match as the overwhelming favourites, though, and we fully expect them to put another three points on the board.

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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson before the match on January 1, 2020
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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