With Liverpool not playing Chelsea until later in the day, Manchester City have the opportunity to re-claim top spot for at least a few hours this Sunday afternoon, but standing in their way is the banana skin of all banana skins as they travel to south London to face the Premier League's perennial giant-killers, Crystal Palace.
Pep Guardiola's side will be looking to get things back on track after tasting defeat at Tottenham on Champions League duty during the week, while Palace will be looking to shock City for the second time this season and climb further up the table at the expense of the champions.
It will be an interesting encounter to watch, so take stock with 90min's preview of Sunday's clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick-Off?||Sunday 14th April,|
|What Time Is Kick-Off?||14.05 BST|
|Where Is it Played?||Selhurst Park|
|TV Channel/Live Stream||Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Premier League|
Mamadou Sakho remains on the sidelines with injury for Palace, while captain James Tomkins looks doubtful after limping off in the second half against Newcastle in their last outing, so it's possible the Eagles could be without both of their first choice central defenders - not what you want against a City side who have scored 83 goals in 32 games so far.
For the champions, Bernardo Silva is 50/50 after sitting out against Cardiff and Spurs, while late decisions are to be made over Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and top scorer Sergio Aguero. There are no confirmed absences as yet, but with Guardiola's tendency for rotation, his starting 11 is anyone's guess.
|Crystal Palace||Guaiata; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Dann, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Townsend; Zaha, Benteke.|
|Manchester City||Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Foden; Mahrez, Jesus, Sane.|
Head to Head Record
As alluded to earlier, Palace like an upset against one of the bigger sides, and the formidable City are no exception to that. The South Londoners have the distinction of avoiding defeat in both of their previous meetings with Guardiola's side, denting their title prospects with a 3-2 win in December and fighting out a 0-0 draw - though missing a late penalty - in the previous meeting.
Prior to the immediate recent history between the two sides, however, things swing back in the direction you would expect. City won nine of the last ten prior to that draw in 2017, most recently recording back-to-back 5-0 wins.
Overall, the sides have met an even 50 times throughout the leagues over the years, with City winning 31 of those to Palace's 16.
Selhurst Park is a tough ground to go to at the best of times, and it looks an even less attractive prospect against a Palace side who have hauled themselves out of the mire over the last month or so, but City, being City, have every reason to fancy their chances.
They may have lost at Spurs in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final during the week, but they have won 20 of their 22 in all competitions since that earlier defeat to Palace, and remain on course to retain the title should they avoid another stumble.
Here's how both sides have fared in their last five outings:
|16th March||Swansea 2-3 Manchester City||9th March||Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton|
|30th March||Fulham 0-2 Manchester City||16th March||Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace|
|3rd April||Manchester City 2-0 Cardiff||30th March||Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield|
|6th April||Manchester City 1-0 Brighton||3rd April||Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace|
|9th April||Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City||6th April||Newcastle 0-1 Crystal Palace|
Palace are a good side, and three wins from five in the league is impressive stuff from a side thought to be a relegation contender on paper, but having not recorded back-to-back wins in the competition since they last beat City in December, they are just a bit too inconsistent for you to really fancy them here.
Guardiola's side will be reeling from Champions League defeat, and having learned from their defeat to Hodgson's men at the Etihad, it seems highly unlikely that they will make the same mistake twice. They will rotate, and it probably won't be a rout, but it's difficult to see past a routine win for the champions.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City