"If he goes this Summer, he'll be leaving in his prime. If not, I can't see any clubs putting up the fee necessary to buy him..." - Ask The Opposition - City v Crystal Palace (w/HLTCO)

City Xtra spoke to renowned Crystal Palace fan HLTCO to discover more about the opponent's thoughts ahead of Sunday's fixture between the two sides.
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Recently, Crystal Palace have not been particularly nice guests at the Etihad Stadium. Last season, an injury-time Fernandinho own-goal deprived Manchester City of three points after Sergio Aguero had only minutes earlier fired his team into the lead.

In the 2018/19 season, Palace's visit resulted in the unfortunately memorable 3-2 loss at the hands of Roy Hodgson's side - a match best remembered for the ludicrous volley from Andros Townsend.

We did, however, beat Palace 5-0 the season before - but, rather ominously, of the players who scored or assisted that day, only Raheem Sterling will be available to play on Sunday (Leroy Sane, Fabian Delph and David Silva have since left, while Sergio Aguero is self-isolating). 

With the difficultness of this fixture not in any doubt, especially for the more superstitious City fans, we spoke to renowned Crystal Palace fan @HLTCO to ascertain how the opposition are feeling about the upcoming match...

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Thanks for joining us! So, let's begin by asking about Palace's undoubted star player: Wilfried Zaha. How long do you realistically think the club can hold onto him for?

I feel as though this summer will be a tipping point for Wilfried Zaha's Crystal Palace career; if he doesn't get a move away before the start of next season, I'm not sure he'll ever leave. He's 28 now and will be on the way down "potential" wise from now on. If he goes this Summer, he'll be leaving in his prime. If not, I can't see any clubs putting up the fee necessary to buy him.

Do you feel Eberechi Eze has the potential to be the next Palace star to breakthrough and be linked to the league's top clubs?

Yes, although he’s only just got here in relative terms. He’s still very young (22), he has signed a long-term contract and is showing himself to be a canny Premier League operator. I would imagine we won’t sell until we’ve had two full seasons from him at least but at that point, I fully expect us to be entertaining offers of £50M+

What are your thoughts on Roy Hodgson? He does enough every year to keep Palace in the Premier League, but is there much ambition under him…?

There’s a lot of respect for the job Roy Hodgson has done for Crystal Palace in his three plus years in charge, but whilst we realise that Premier League status is anything but promised to clubs of our stature, there is a genuine sense of frustration and apathy creeping into the minds of supporters over our style of play from week to week. Roy will rightly say that his job description is to ensure safety, but without much in the way of verve, our fan-base are starting to get restless about what the future holds.

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On the topic of ambition and potential, and with the quality of Eze and Zaha, what is the aim of the club over the next two or three seasons? Is it simply a case of survival year in year out?

Our aims as a club are multi-faceted really. There’s obviously the primary objective of maintaining our Premier League status from year to year, but the wider picture links our long-term survival to the projects running alongside on-field matters; for instance, the redevelopment of Selhurst Park and the club’s newly granted status as a Category 1 academy. In order to make the most of both of those aspects, the money top flight football generates is a must, hopefully allowing us a platform to become an established and accepted Premier League force. 

What would you consider to be a successful season this year?

This season, given that we’re out of both domestic cups, the immediate measure of success would be securing safety in a timely fashion and kicking on with our form after it’s been confirmed. I would imagine that, even with a very decent second half of the season, any faint glimmer of European hopes have already faded, which takes us neatly onto next season as the next possible time that we can begin to dream of anything above a mid-table finish. 

What are you expecting from the weekend's game, and what is your score prediction?

I feel as though this weekend’s game is an extremely daunting one for Palace. Manchester City are in superb form and appear to have been significantly boosted by the defensive work of Ruben Dias and John Stones. Our best chance of success is to keep the score at 0-0 for as long as possible and try to hit you on the break when the opportunity presents itself.  

Score Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Crystal Palace

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Thanks to HLTCO for taking the time to provide his insight ahead of Sunday's game - you can follow him on Twitter here.

Follow us on Twitter for live coverage of the match here.