Crystal Palace will have their eyes set on upsetting another one of the Premier League’s title hopefuls when they welcome imperious looking leaders Manchester City to Selhurst Park.
Regular watchers of the English top-flight and those who have monitored the Eagles’ progress over the course of 2015 will know that their win at the home of the champions at the end of August was not as big a shock as it might have initially appeared. It was an 10th away win out of 12 in all competitions for manager Alan Pardew since he took over back in January, as he continues to get the best out the array of attacking talent he has at his disposal.
Bakary Sako is the most recent addition in that regard and he has wasted little time in making an impression, scoring the opener at Chelsea just a week after snatching the late winner against Aston Villa. Joel Ward is becoming a much more unlikely contributor on the goals front, epitomising the confidence that is running through the side at present, and indeed the whole squad looks to be at the top of their game ahead of this clash of the top two.
It is a similar story at Man City, who thus far have brushed aside all those who have dared to try and stand in their way and are yet to concede a goal. They seem only to be going from strength to strength, having pulled off the biggest signing of the transfer window on August 30 by signing Kevin De Bruyne, a man who has become one of the most coveted players in Europe thanks to his outstanding performances for Wolfsburg. He is now back in the Premier League to prove a point.
It was another big-money addition who broke the deadlock in the last game against Watford. Raheem Sterling looks to be gradually working his way back to top form and has his confidence back following a rocky end to last season, while Fernandinho – who netted the second – has also upped his game, possibly in response to the competition provided by new signing Fabian Delph. As well as being fascinating, this promises to be massively entertaining fare.
Alan Pardew must decide whether to restore Julian Speroni to the Palace goal after the Argentine recovered from injury. Ward has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury, while Connor Wickham is doubtful.
De Bruyne should make his debut, but City are without creator in-chief David Silva; injured on international duty as well as Fabian Delph.
Last Meeting: Man City were on the slide as they lost 2-1 at Palace in April despite having the majority of the possession. The whole game was played in the home side’s half until they opened the scoring from their first attack; Glenn Murray tapping in from close range. Jason Puncheon doubled the advantage with a fine free-kick shortly after half-time, and despite Yaya Toure’s powerful strike to reduce the arrears, the Londoners held on.