Manchester City will be aiming to stretch their winning run and keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea by winning away to a West Bromwich Albion side still reeling from defeat in their last outing.
Just 18 minutes into their game at fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers, Alan Irvine’s Baggies were playing some flowing football and looked set to pull clear of the bottom three as Joleon Lescott and Silvestre Varela struck to give them what looked a commanding lead.
But an inability to defend set pieces and indeed cope with the scoring prowess of Charlie Austin saw Albion slip to an inexplicable loss which now has them looking over their shoulders once more, so they will not relish this test.
Playing without a recognised striker, the champions struggled to create chances early on against Crystal Palace and occasionally looked penetrable at the back, but they stepped in up in the second half and the outstanding David Silva helped himself to a brace.
Some of his link-up play with the likes of Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta was a delight to watch, proving that they can cope with the absence of some key players during this crowded festive programme as their superb form goes on.
Giorgios Samaras is unlikely to feature for West Brom, but they are hopeful over Victor Anichebe and Graham Dorrans. Defender Jonas Olsson is definitely out.
Strikers Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic continue to miss out for Man City along with captain Vincent Kompany.
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