Title-chasing Manchester City makes the journey to London to take on Crystal Palace in Premier League action this weekend, with anything less than a win not good enough for Pep Guardiola and his men as they chase what could be their fifth English league crown in six years.
Currently, the Citizens sit five points behind league leaders Arsenal, and they could have cut that gap down to two last week were it not for the Gunners’ thrilling 3-2 comeback at the death over Bournemouth. But Reiss Nelson’s dramatic late winner ultimately meant that Arsenal would stay five points ahead of City at the top of the division.
Meanwhile, 12th-place Crystal Palace are not in serious danger of joining the relegation battle at the moment, but they will still be looking slightly nervously over their shoulder as the season draws closer to an end. Only five points currently separates the Eagles from 18th-place Everton, and Patrick Vieira will need to get his men firing again if they want to avoid a late-season scare.
Crystal Palace have failed to win a single game in 2023 so far, and that run unfortunately looks set to continue this weekend when they face Pep Guardiola’s side. The last time that Palace tasted victory came back in 2022, when goals from Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze secured a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the end of December. But, they have failed to pick up three points since, drawing five and losing five of their subsequent ten games after that win at the Vitality Stadium.
Vieira’s men seem to be suffering from a lack of cutting-edge up-front and a killer goalscorer, with the feeling around Selhurst Park one of staleness. And with the arrival of the title-chasing Citizens this weekend, Crystal Palace’s winless streak looks set to continue.
The Eagles face further trouble afterwards, with tough away trips to both Brighton and Arsenal rounding off this month. April will be a key month for Vieira and his squad though, with fixtures against six of the eight sides who are currently below them scheduled. The results of that month will be key to Palace’s eventual finish in the league table, but first, they must contend with three tough fixtures against three of the division’s best teams first, starting with Manchester City this Saturday.
City do come into the match as rightful favourites and look very likely to win, considering the superiority of their squad over Palace’s and their recent form. Because although they were held to a draw by RB Leipzig in the Champions League two weeks ago, their league form has been excellent as of late, with fine wins over Newcastle, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Arsenal coming in their last six league matches. However, it should be noted that City can be got at – evidenced by their dropping of points late on to Nottingham Forest and a surprise defeat to inconsistent Tottenham occurring in recent weeks.
So, while City will rightfully fancy themselves as favourites going into this match, they should remember that plenty of lesser teams have already picked up scalps against them this season, and Palace could do the same. Any more points dropped at this stage could be fatal for City’s title challenge.
Now while Crystal Palace could potentially hold City to a shock draw or defeat this weekend, we think that common sense will prevail and that the Citizens will run out as winners convincingly. They are in fine form currently in comparison to their opponents, and so should come out with an easy win like they did in the reverse fixture back in August, when they won 4-2.
The home side are priced at 8/1 odds to emerge with a surprise win here, while the visitors are priced at 1/3 odds to win.
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