Manchester City have been in flying form recently and currently sit third on the table, four points off top with a game in hand. The dominant City side from two seasons ago seems to be returning. They have won their last seven matches in all competitions and only conceded two goals in that time. The Citizens started the new year with a 3-1 win at Chelsea before winning 2-0 at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final. That was followed by a 3-0 home win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup. In their last match, City beat Brighton 1-0 at home. It wasn’t their best performance but Phil Foden’s strike just before the break proved enough. Gabriel Jesus is fit again and an option for Pep Guardiola. Playing with a false nine has, however, worked in recent weeks so Jesus isn’t a shoo-in for selection. Winger Raheem Sterling should come back into the side for Riyad Mahrez. In the fullback positions, Guardiola could bring Kyle Walker and/or Benjamin Mendy back into the fold. Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte are both injured at centre-back but neither were likely to start. Ruben Dias and John Stones have built a magnificent partnership of late.
Crystal Palace will be pleased with the first half of their season. They are on 23 points in 13th position with a relegation fight looking unlikely. Roy Hodgson will be happy with the way his side has performed recently. Since losing 3-0 at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Palace have drawn 1-1 at home to Leicester, beaten Sheffield United 2-0 at home and drawn 0-0 at Arsenal. Prior to the Arsenal match, Crystal Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat at Wolves in the FA Cup. Hodgson will have Palace sit deep and counter against City, but the hosts have dealt with that tactic pretty well recently. The over reliance on Wilfried Zaha for goals is still a huge problem for Crystal Palace. Centre-backs Gary Cahill and Scott Dann are fit again but after a clean sheet in midweek, Roy Hodgson could choose to with the same back four. There are still a number of injuries in the Palace squad. These include defenders Mamadou Sakho, Jeffrey Schulupp and Martin Kelly. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is also still out, as is forward Connor Wickham.
Manchester City are in great form and should win comfortably. Palace offer little in attack and given City’s defensive record, a win to nil is on. I’m backing City to win with the -2 handicap offering value. Manchester City lead 25-11 in their 47 matches against Crystal Palace. There have been 11 draws along the way. They last met in January 2020 where Crystal Palace took a point in a 2-2 draw at the ethiad
PREDICTION : MAN CITY 2-0 WIN
ACCUMULATOR TIP : MAN CITY FT WIN