Title hopefuls Manchester City continue their search for consistency with a home clash against out-of-form Crystal Palace, who they have already beaten twice this season in league and cup.
It is incredible to think that a side so full of quality has not won successive matches in the Premier League since October, and Man City were again found wanting in that regard during the week as they were held to a rare home goalless draw by Everton. It was a game where they had no shortage of attempts on goal but were uncharacteristically lacking in ideas and often faced by dogged defending, while the frustration was compounded by the denial of a late penalty shout.
With Palace on their worst run of the season and struggling for goals, it is hard to see the hosts having all that many problems here, but a team with a front four such as theirs has the potential to run riot against many of the teams in the top-flight. City are definitely not living up to their capabilities at present, and until they do find some rhythym the scrutiny will remain on manager Manuel Pellegrini, who could really do with his side grabbing an early goal in this one.
Although they had not managed a goal in three league games leading up to their trip to Aston Villa on Tuesday, there was still a fair amount of ignominy for Palace at being only the second side to lose to the bottom club all season as they fell victim to a shock result. While their away record is right up there with the best in the Premier League, they perhaps are now being made to pay for the lack of a genuine goalscorer within their ranks.
Connor Wickham was brought in last summer for that purpose, but the only goal he has managed is a penalty in the win at Stoke City in December, so he will be hoping to draw on a couple of previous successes against Man City as he takes to the field here. The race for a European place is a very competitive one and the Eagles are still very much part of that, but they must return to winning ways quickly if confidence and belief is to be sustained. Managing that here, however, is a tall order.
Man City continue to have several players out including captain Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri.
The visitors remain without Yannick Bolasie, while striker Dwight Gayle is a major doubt due to a hamstring problem.