Eagles head to the Blues
The Blue side of Manchester awaits for Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace as the Eagles boss returns to another one of his former clubs.
In Palace's last away day, Vieira experienced an emotional return to Arsenal and secured a 2-2 draw.
That night, Palace were sucker-punched by a last-second equalizer to snatch the three points from their grasp, which is something that has been a theme throughout their season so far.
Vieira has overseen a huge turnaround at the club, and the footballing transformation of the side has been extremely impressive.
However, this improved style has only been rewarded with one victory so far this season, with Palace falling into a habit of outplaying opponents but not winning games.
The last time out was a similar story after a potential late Benteke winner was ruled out correctly by VAR to hold Palace to a 1-1 draw with Newcastle, their sixth stalemate of the season already.
A game against a side of Manchester City's quality will almost be a free hit for the Eagles.
With all expectations to win sitting with the home side, Palace can go out and express themselves and show what they can do against the very best in the league.
However, with the football this new-look Eagles side have been playing, it certainly won't be a walk in the park for Pep Guardiola's side.
City will look at how Palace have impressed against "big six" teams this season, especially the performances against Arsenal and Tottenham.
For Pep's City side, the only remaining player on the sidelines is Ferran Torres, who continues to recover from a foot injury suffered on international duty earlier this month.
This leaves the City boss with his full roster of players to choose from. However, after their midweek loss in the League Cup, there may be some changes as players require rest.
Foden, Grealish, Cancelo, Rodri, Dias, and Laporte were all rested in midweek and will be expected to all return to the starting XI.
The exciting Eze has returned to training in the last few weeks, with Vieira stating the club will be patient with his recovery.
Eze became a huge fan favourite in his debut season with the club and should be back on the pitch by the new year.
Starman Wilfried Zaha is expected to return to the starting XI after recovering from an illness.
The Eagles will look to implement the Ivorian back into the front three, and after the effectiveness of Edouard on the left wing, Vieira could opt for Zaha on the right with Benteke through the middle.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva; Grealish, Foden, Jesus.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Geuhi, Andersen, Mitchell; McArthur, Milivojevic, Gallagher; Zaha, Edouard, Benteke.
Ones to watch
For Manchester City, you could pick any player in the starting team or bench to be the one to watch.
There is no denying the strength and ability of their squad, as well as manager Pep Guardiola.
For Vieira, this is certainly one of, if not the biggest test of his managerial career so far.
One player that has to get special mention however is Phil Foden, who in recent weeks has arguably been City's best player.
The playmaker is a joy to watch and Palace's midfield three will have a real job on their hands to contain him.
For the away side, Zaha returning is always a bonus for Palace and it is clear how much of a positive impact he has on the side.
In the centre of the park, however, I would keep an eye for Conor Gallagher, who is sure to be covering every blade of grass as he has done every game this season.
The England U-21 international has caught the eye of many around the league and become an instant favourite with the Palace faithful.
In what might surprise some, Palace has a solid record at the Etihad over the last three seasons.
Andros Townsend's wonder goal secured a 2-3 win in 2018-19, which was followed up by a 2-2 draw in 2019-20, and then the most recent trip City came out 4-0 winners.
A mixed bag overall but certainly a better recent record than many teams who travel to the Etihad.
With Vieira's renaissance underway as well, Palace fans could be quietly confident of at least having a real go at this City side.
Vieira has made it clear his side will not sit back and defend behind the ball against sides of greater stature, so tomorrow's game could be a really exciting affair.
Head to head last six games:
22 Dec 2018: Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace
14 Apr 2019: Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City
Where to watch
The kick-off is scheduled for 3 pm on Saturday, October 30th, 2021.
Unfortunately, this fixture will not be televised in this country.
However, you can follow all the latest updates live during the game here on VAVEL!