Crystal Palace vs Manchester City preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
anchester City's German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 17, 2021. (Photo by Dave Thompson)

Pep Guardiola's charges are only a couple of wins away from a staggering third Premier League title in four years. Should they win at Crystal Palace and Manchester United lose to Liverpool - results which would open up an unassailable 13-point lead at the top with four games remaining.

The hosts will have had five days to recover from their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City on Monday night, while Manchester City overcame Paris Saint-Germain by the same score line in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in midweek.

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Despite two home slip-ups to Man United and Leeds United, City's dominance on the road is showing no signs of letting up, as Guardiola's men have won their last 10 Premier League away matches, and another victory on their travels here would see them equal the English top-flight record of 11 consecutive away wins.

  • Form Guide

City came back from behind to pip PSG away from home in their Champions League semi-final first leg. In doing so, they demonstrated lion-hearted qualities that we haven't seen from them very often after they go a goal down.

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Meanwhile, Palace are comfortably seated in 13th place, with 38 points in the kitty. Roy Hodgson seems to have secured the Eagles' top-flight status for yet another season although not mathematically safe. They will hope they can end the campaign on a high by spoiling the party for City.

That appears unlikely, however, as the hosts have only collected one point from their last three Premier League matches.

While the Eagles have managed to keep three clean sheets in their last four home matches, only West Bromwich Albion (33) and Newcastle United (27) have conceded more goals on familiar territory than Palace (25) this season, so City can certainly aspire to replicate Liverpool's seven-goal showing as they attempt to prise the title off the Reds.

Crystal Palace form guide (Premier League): L L D W L

Manchester City form guide (Premier League): W L W W W

  • Team News

Palace's treatment room is still well-occupied heading into the final few games of the season, with injuries to the likes of Gary CahillMamadou SakhoNathan Ferguson and James Tomkins restricting their defensive options, although the former is the closest to returning.

Further up the field, Connor Wickham and James McArthur are not expected back just yet either, but James McCarthy is fit again and pushing for a start over Jairo Riedewald.

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John Stones will serve the second of a two-game domestic suspension after seeing red at Aston Villa, but City otherwise boast a fully-fit squad at a crucial time for Guardiola.

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Aymeric Laporte should earn an immediate recall to the team in Stones's absence, but the Pep rotation is set to strike further up the pitch as they work around two gruelling Champions League ties with PSG.

Fernandinho is a candidate to replace Rodri in the middle, and Ilkay Gundogan should be fit to start after alleviating any fears of a serious injury following Idrissa Gueye's red-card challenge.

A complete overhaul of the forward line could see Ferran TorresGabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling - the latter of whom boasts six goals and one assist from his last seven starts against Palace - all featuring from the off.

  • Tactical Overview

The Eagles deployed a fluid 4-5-1 system in the narrow defeat against Leicester and may do the same against City, with Eberechi Eze playing more centrally in midfield and leading goalscorer Wilfried Zaha out wide. Captain Luka Milivojević played a deeper role, behind Eze and Jaïro Riedewald, whilst Christian Benteke was the lone target man.

The Cityzens have alternated between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 formation throughout the season, rotating many players to fit the required system. Given that City played the Champions League game without a traditional striker, Gabriel Jesus or Sergio Agüero may be leading the line on Saturday. Captain Fernandinho could return to the midfield having sat out in midweek, along with England winger Raheem Sterling.

  • Predicted lineups

Crystal Palace predicted XI (4-4-2):

Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Dann, Van Aanholt, Ayew, Milivojevic, McCarthy,  Eze, Zaha, Benteke.

Manchester City predicted XI (4-3-3):

Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva; Torres, Jesus, Sterling.

  • Ones to Watch

Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha

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On the ball, he is always threatening and provides an outlet for Palace, especially from the counter-attack.

The tricky winger can bring the ball forwards whilst having the quality to pick out a pass and get the ball back to produce an effort on goal or set up a chance.

Zaha must be watched at all times by City before he can be allowed to punish their backline.

Zaha's opener at the King Power Stadium was his 10th goal of the Premier League season, and the Ivory Coast international has now become just the second ever player to hit double figures for Palace in two different seasons - following in the footsteps of penalty specialist Milivojevic.

Manchester City - Phil Foden

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Phill Foden has been exceptional under Pep this season. The 20-year-old has scored 13 goals and recorded nine assists in all competitions this year. He will also be on a high after staring in City's dramatic Champions League semi-final first leg turn around versus PSG. Foden has blossomed as a player in recent years as he looks to follow in David Silva's footsteps. He's a brilliant passer of the ball but also has an eye for a goal too. The lad has a bright future.

  • Previous meetings

City have secured 34 wins against the Eagles. In reply, Palace have won 16. Only 14 matches between the pair have ended as draws.

The Cityzens are obvious heavyweights in this clash, having won 13 of their last 17 outings against Palace. They are also on a run of five unbeaten games at Selhurst Park.

Guardiola's side cruised to a 4-0 success over Palace when the sides met at the Etihad in January, and they have strung together a five-game unbeaten run at Selhurst Park since losing 2-1 in the 2014-15 campaign.

  • Manager's comments

Roy Hodgson

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Discussing the squad more widely while reflecting on his time at the club and addressing the opposition, Hodgson said: “I don’t think there are many teams who’d have in their squads for tomorrow [so many of the same players] four years down the line, so I’m very proud of that.

“I don’t doubt for one minute we will be facing a full-throttle Manchester City, that they’ve taken their foot off the gas or eye off the ball, to mix metaphors, in any way, shape or form.

“But I can’t deny of course if I was Manchester City’s coach, I would be thinking: ‘Blimey, this game coming up in the middle of what’s going on is not ideal.’ I’m full of admiration for Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, playing these incredibly difficult games in the middle of an important Premier League campaign.”

Palace are preparing for one of the toughest challenges of their season against the champions-elect, City.

Pep Guardiola

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The City boss highlighted the crucial role his coaching staff play in reassuring and supporting him in these unprecedented times, including a team meeting that took place this afternoon.

“It’s a lot of games we know it, but the problem is it’s a short amount of time, you cannot enjoy one game - you think only of the next one,” Guardiola conceded.

“I love my job and am fortunate to do it but sometimes you can’t take a break and analyse what’s going on.

“That’s why my backroom staff today, my assistants like Rodolfo (Borrell), Juanma (Lillo), were so important.

“Because sometimes they are more cold to analyse what is going to happen, and even in the bad moments, Juanma and Rodolfo say: ‘We are going in a good direction’.

  • How to watch

Crystal Palace v Manchester City will be shown live via BT Sport. Coverage starts from 11:30 BST with kick off at 12.30 BST on Saturday 1st May.

  • Prediction

A raft of expected changes from City could lead Palace to feel optimistic about their chances of a shock result, but City's form on the road is unparalleled.

City might look worn out after putting in the hard yards against PSG, especially in the second half where they won a lot of balls higher up the pitch.

Guardiola's side need other results to go their way to secure the Premier League title with four games to spare, and they should give themselves the best chance possible of confirming their status as champions after the likes of Sterling and Jesus poised to start after missing out in midweek with a routine win at Selhurst Park.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 0 - 3 Manchester City

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