Sergio Agüero could continue his record breaking week; with the Argentine superstar just one goal away from his 250th in a City shirt. Pep Guardiola also looks to become the first ever City boss to win on their Birthday when the Blues host Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola has a fully fit squad other than his long term absentees Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane. Both players have returned to training with Laporte having “made another week with us training”. Leroy Sane hasn’t resumed first team training but Guardiola said that “everything is going well” despite the German’s future still being as uncertain as ever.
Crystal Palace have an injury crisis of their own with 6 first team players unavailable. They will be without Luka Milivojevic who is serving a suspension and also Max Meyer who is struggling to recover from Aubameyang's horror challenge last Saturday. Scott Dann and Joel Ward are both able to return for the Eagles.
Head To Head
City have won 7 of the past 9 Premier League meetings by an aggregate score of 22-2 despite Palace inflicting City’s only home defeat of 2018 in a 3-2 loss last season. In all competitions the Blues are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 games against Palace scoring four or more goals on four of these occasions. Raheem Sterling has six goals against the Eagles and is a brace away from becoming City’s all top scorer against the London side.
It will be just the 63rd game between the two sides with City having won 33, drawn 13 and lost 16 with City having scored 113 goals and conceded 64. Remarkably in February of 1926 at Maine Road, Manchester City inflicted an 11-4 defeat on Palace, this being the highest ever scoring game between the 2 teams.
Despite being 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, Pep Guardiola’s side come into the game in sizzling form with 4 wins in their last 5 league games, including the 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa last Sunday. City have scored 32 goals in their past 10 matches and are the leagues leading scorers with 62.
It's a case of the league highest scorers versus the leagues lowest with Roy Hodgson’s side only finding the net 20 times this season. Crystal Palace sit in 9th place in the table but with only 1 win in their last 5 league matches. They have endured 3 straight draws to Southampton, Norwich and Arsenal in the past weeks. They haven’t drawn 4 league matches in a row since 1992.
After inflicting crushing defeats on both Manchester United and Aston Villa, you would expect Guardiola to continue with his 4-3-3 formation even with the recent success when playing with a 3-5-2. It will be interesting to see whether he risks both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus together again.
Roy Hodgson has always been a more defensive minded coach and likes to play with a solid 4-5-1 which sometimes becomes a 4-4-2 with Wilfred Zaha playing just behind the preferred striker. It was this formation with Zaha up top with Andros Townsend just behind him that proved unexpectedly successful last season.
Graham Scott will take charge of his 63rd Premier League match when City face Palace on Saturday afternoon. Scott’s assistants will be Neil Davies and Derik Eaton, while Jeremy Simpson will be the fourth official. John Brooks (VAR) and Adam Nunn (AVAR) will be keeping a close eye on proceedings from Stockley Park, where there is talk that we could see the pitch-side monitors used for the first time in the League, if the VAR recommends a review for a red card.
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