Crystal Palace vs Manchester City preview: under-achieving sides meet in FA Cup fourth round

Crystal Palace vs Manchester City preview: under-achieving sides meet in FA Cup fourth round

The Eagles host the Citizens at Selhurst Park with both sides hoping for a cup run to save their respective campaigns

Sam Smith

Crystal Palace host Manchester City hoping to pull off a huge cup upset.

The Eagles recorded their first victory under Sam Allardyce in the previous round, beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in a reply at Selhurst Park.

The Citizens have hardly been in great form either, although they demolished West Ham United 5-0 in the third round.

A Yaya Toure brace sealed a 2-1 win for Man City at Selhurst earlier in the season. 

Could the FA Cup be Palace’s only hope of joy in 2017?

Both sides were expected to perform much better than they have done so this season. Each spent vast amounts of money that has so far largely gone to waste.

Palace, managed by Alan Pardew until he was sacked in December, had the worst record of any team to compete in the Premier League in 2016. Their win against League One Bolton, inspired by the introduction of Christian Benteke from the bench, remains their only victory since the turn of the year.

The FA Cup was Palace’s saving grace from the horrific league form last year. They defeated Southampton, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford to set up a repeat of the 1990 final against Manchester United. The Wembley showdown summed up the club’s year; suffering heartbreak as Jesse Lingard’s goal sealed Man United’s first FA Cup final victory since 2005.

A cup run could be the Eagles’ only hope of some success this season, too. They dropped into the relegation zone for the first time this season at the weekend after a controversial 1-0 defeat to Everton.

City flattering to deceive

The week before Palace were defeated by the Toffees, Man City were condemned to a miserable 4-0 loss at Goodison Park. The game epitomised their season. too many players, particularly summer signings, have lived up to expectations.

New boss Pep Guardiola was expected to take the division like the proverbial duck to water, but he is finding England’s top flight much harder than anyone could have ever imagined. His side are currently fifth, two points behind fourth-place Liverpool – who beat Man City on New Year’s Eve.

December was a terrible month for the two-time Premier League champions. Crucial defeats to Chelsea, Leicester City and Liverpool left them out of touch with the pace-setters and they currently sit a worrying twelve points behind the table-topping Blues.

Team news

Palace could be set to continue with the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well against Everton until Seamus Coleman’s late winner. Wayne Hennessey will keep his place in goal after cup ‘keeper Julian Speroni was ruled out by Allardyce earlier today.

Speroni joins an injury list already occupied by Connor Wickham, Pape Souare, Jonathan Benteke and Fraizer Campbell. Wingers Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako have returned from the Africa Cup of Nations but will not feature.

Ilkay Gundogan is City’s only long-term injury absentee, while Fernandinho serves the second match of his four-game ban.