Manchester City travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon, as they look to bounce back from defeat for the second time this season. The last time City came into a game off the back of a defeat, well, from a Watford point of view, the least said about that the better...
Pep Guardiola will be heavily encouraged by the return of John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy, after the trio missed out on the defeat to Wolves through injury. Sergio Aguero was also left without injury following his scare in midweek, with the Argentine forward involved in a car crash in Hale.
Ahead of Saturday afternoon's clash, we spoke to Diyar from popular Crystal Palacepodcast 'Back of the Nest', to get his views on a fixture that has been one of mixed emotions for the blues in recent seasons.
Thanks for speaking to us ahead of Saturday's game Diyar! There's no better place than to start off by mentioning that City go into this fixture off the back of a disappointing 0-2 defeat at home to Wolves. Do you see this as the perfect time to face Pep Guardiola’s side?
I think it’s a dangerous time to play City - the Wolves defeat and sitting 8 points behind Liverpool sends a clear message to the players, that this is a must-win game and I’m sure that they’ll respond to it.
For Palace to have a chance of getting something out of the game, as simple as it may sound, we need to make sure we’re focused from the first to the last minute of the game, which we managed to do last time we faced you guys. So that’s a positive, but it’ll be a huge task to do it again.
Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last three games. Does this make you any more confident going into this weekend’s clash?
Facing a club like City will never be easy, but I think the unbeaten run gives both the fans and the players a boost, especially as we’re playing at home. Selhurst Park should be rocking come Saturday night, and due to how we set-up, we tend to get results against top six sides; so many Palace fans, including myself, are looking forward to the game.
What have you made of Crystal Palace’s start to the season on the whole?
It’s been a shock for everyone at the club after the eventful summer. We lost Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United and not replacing him, to Zaha putting in a transfer request on the last day of the window, so going into the season there were a lot of negatives.
However, it’s managed to work out well so far as Joel Ward has been solid in the right-back position and, over the last couple of games, Zaha has returned to top form after his slow start.
How does this start to your season compare to the initial expectations you as fans had going into the campaign?
Going into the season, many fans expected us to survive, however that’s changing now after having the start we’ve had. No one expects us to push for a top four finish as it’s a long season, but realistically if we continue playing to our strengths, it’ll be nice to not be involved in a relegation scrap and try to finish in the top 10.
Who should Manchester City particularly look out for at Selhurst Park?
This might sound surprising but Jordan Ayew. We managed to get him on a permanent deal this summer, for a reported £2.5m fee and he has been in fine form. His first touch has been brilliant which has helped bring others into the game and he’s also been clinical in front of goal, scoring three goals so far this season. It’ll be important to not give him too much room in the box.
Crystal Palace Starting XI and score prediction?
Roy Hodgson doesn’t like changing it around, but it seems like goalkeeper Vicente Guaita has picked up a knock and won’t be available for the game, which is a massive blow. Wayne Hennessey is expected to replace him.
Predicted Starting XI: Hennessey; Ward, Kelly, Cahill, Van-Annholt; Milivojveic, Koyuate, McArthur; Zaha, Schlupp, Ayew.
Score prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City
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