Despite a dull, scoreless draw against Sporting CP in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Manchester City will be on cloud nine after terrorizing Manchester United in a 4-1 drubbing last Sunday.
Regaining their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, albeit having played an extra game over Liverpool, Pep Guardiola’s side’s statement performance showcased that they continue to refuse to let go of their stranglehold of the summit.
However, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium indicates that they will have to dig deep to get the all-important points and march on in the title race.
With three wins, one draw and one loss in their last five games across all competitions, Patrick Vieira’s Palace side are largely one of the trickiest sides to face in the entire division.
Coming off the back of a brilliant 2-0 win against a high-flying Wolves side at Molineux, the South Londoners host the Premier League champions in high spirits.
Here’s how we expect Manchester City to line up in London, whilst balancing their various fitness and personnel problems that are currently hampering Pep Guardiola’s selection dilemmas.
Ederson‘s eyes will be set on maintaining reign at the top of the clean sheet charts, as he is expected to start in between the sticks at Selhurst Park – and yes, there is no place for the in-form Scott Carson.
After being suspended for the second-leg of Manchester City’s last-16 tie against Sporting CP in the Champions League, Kyle Walker is expected to slot straight back in at right-back.
With Ruben Dias’ injury set to keep him out of contention for the time being and Nathan Ake confirmed to be working his way back to full fitness, John Stones spirit Aymeric Laporte will be Pep Guardiola’s go-to center-back pairing of choice against Crystal Palace.
In his latest press conference, the Catalan boss stated that he remains unsure about whether Joao Cancelo will recover from illness in time to face Patrick Vieira’s side, which makes Oleksandr Zinchenko an automatic shoe-in for the contest at the time of writing.
Rodri was rested mid-week in Manchester City’s final battle against Ruben Amorim’s side for the experienced Fernandinho, which means he is dead set to return straight back into the starting XI against Palace.
Since Bernardo Silva was substituted at half-time against Sporting, it is likely that Pep Guardiola was conserving his key man’s energy for the upcoming high-octane affair against the South London side.
Kevin De Bruyne dropped to bench on Wednesday night, which suggests he will be unleashed once again after his derby day heroics last time out in the Premier League.
After Riyad Mahrez’s cracking brace against Manchester United, it is likely that Pep Guardiola will draft him in for the clash against Crystal Palace.
Much like Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden was also hooked at half-time on Wednesday night with the intention of starting him against a side that could be considered a potential banana skin – especially after the last meeting.
Jack Grealish played arguably his best game in a Manchester City shirt in the Manchester derby and it seems highly plausible that Pep Guardiola will opt for the England international in his starting XI once again.
Starting XI: Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish.
Substitutes: Scott Carson, CJ Egan-Riley, Luke Mbete, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, James McAtee, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Liam Delap.
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