Domestic action resumes after the international break and confidence is brimming in South London with Crystal Palace flying high in sixth after eight games.
The Selhurst Park outfit have 14 points thus far and have made an unbeaten start at home this season. Now Roy Hodgson’s side entertain Manchester City looking to climb another rung in the Premier League ladder.
The current title holders were left stunned at the hands of Wolves and Adama Traore when the Spanish winger, deployed in a more central position, ripped through City’s patched-up defence to bag a brace and all three points at the Etihad Stadium.
Now the back-to-back champions trail pacesetters Liverpool by eight points back in second and have it all to do if they are to make it a hat-trick of titles in succession. Pep Guardiola will be sweating on the fitness of Kevin de Bruyne after the Belgian missed out in the Blues' defeat to Wolves following a groin injury.
De Bruyne’s influence is paramount when it comes to City’s ruthless winning ways. The midfielder leads the division for assists (eight), chances created (29) and big chances created (10) and it’s no coincidence that both of City’s defeats have come when he wasn’t starting.
The Eagles went into the international break with two wins on the bounce and managed to overcome City 3-2 on their own turf last season. In doing so Roy Hodgson handed Guardiola his first and only loss to an English manager. Previously Pep had 27 wins from 31 games when up against English managers on the touchline.
Hodgson confirmed in his press conference that Mamadou Sakho and Conor Wickham are ruled out. He added that a ‘couple of players’ are still to be assessed prior to kick-off.
Returning though will be captain Luka Milivojevic to the centre of midfield after his suspension.
PREDICTED XI: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Kelly, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Kouyate, McArthur, Zaha, Schlupp, Ayew.
Coach Guardiola claimed De Bruyne rejoined training alongside John Stones and Benjamin Mendy this week.
Sergio Aguero is expected to feature having been involved in a minor car collision in midweek.
Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane (both knee) remain sidelined indefinitely.
PREDICTED XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Rodri, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero.
Crystal Palace are winless in four league games against City at home, losing three.
Palace have 44 points in 2019 which is the fourth highest accumulated by any side this year behind City, Liverpool (both 67) and Arsenal (47)
Aguero has yet to score in six visits to Selhurst Park
Palace have three clean sheets from their first four home league games
However, the visitors have scored in 15 successive away fixtures including two or more in each of their last four away outings.
Incredibly, a win for Palace would see them overtake City but the latter will be more determined than ever to get back on the winning trail and try close the gap on Liverpool.