At the start of the season most people would have been expecting the result in this clash to be a foregone conclusion. Crystal Palace were regarded as the potential top flight whipping boys, while we needn’t label the powerhouse tag that Manchester City had attached to them. However, with the end of the season just around the corner, City will be treating their opponents with the upmost caution.
The reason for such an approach boils down to Tony Pulis, and the remarkable job that he has undertaken at Selhurst Park. When he was first given the role, most pundits were quick to claim that this would be the first time in his managerial career that he would add a relegation to his CV. However, Palace have surprised everyone and taken points off sides they really, on paper, shouldn’t have. They’re now in 11th place, completely safe of relegation, and could actually finish in the top half with a decent finish. They’ve won their last five games and with some of their victims including Everton and Chelsea, their supporters won’t be daunted in the slightest about the prospect of City coming to town.
Manchester City meanwhile have seen their title aspirations slowly slip away over the last few weeks. At one point, Manuel Pellegrini’s men looked odds-on favourites to lift the crown, but now their fate rests in the hands of other teams. While City do have a game in hand over leaders Liverpool, the fact that they are six points behind them has led many to suggest that they’ve left their charge too late. Having drawn to Arsenal and Sunderland, and of course lost to Liverpool, it looks something of a certainty that the Blues will have to settle for 2nd place, or worse. While they did win their last game against West Brom, it remains to be seen whether or not that will be a case of too little, too late.
Something that could hinder Crystal Palace’s chances ahead of this game is the absence of Marouane Chamakh, who still hasn’t recovered from the injury that blighted him last weekend. It gets worse for the Eagles in other areas as well, with Kagisho Dikgacoi poised for a late fitness test as he struggles on the sidelines. Palace shouldn’t be too downbeat though, with Manchester City arriving at the game with problems of their own. Jevus Navas and David Silva have already been ruled out, although there is better news in relation to Yaya Toure who returns following the muscle injury which he picked up in the Liverpool game.
Crystal Palace have proved to be a tough nut to crack for numerous sides this term, although we think opponents City will have just enough about them to dispatch of them. Palace will make it difficult, but our prediction will be a 2-0 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s team.