As a busy festive period of fixtures gets under way Palace travel north to face Premier League champions Manchester City who are enjoying a superb spell of form, winning their last seven games in all competitions.
Despite the recent weeks' successes the Citizens have suffered shock defeats this season at home to Stoke City and away to West Ham United, as well as scraping through their Champions League group. However Pellegrini's side have put these results behind them, rapidly closing the gap on league leaders Chelsea and boast a formidable home record, having conceded just 18 goals in 26 home league games since the Chilean took over in the summer of 2013.
After securing their place in the knock-out stages in Europe last week, fatigue was clearly a problem for City as they struggled to a 1-0 win over bottom of the league Leicester City. Despite their winning streak Pellegrini's side have lacked goals since their star man Sergio Aguero limped off with a knee injury against Everton earlier this month. The deadly Argentine has scored half of his team's goals whilst on the pitch and since his absence City, last season's top scorers, have only netted twice.
Both City and Palace have scored the most penalties this season (three), alongside West Bromwich Albion, and all of City's goals from the spot have come at the Etihad.
The champions have been hit by a plague of injuries in recent weeks. Aguero is out with a knee injury until early January whilst Edin Dzeko, who scored twice against Palace last season, is battling a calf strain and is unlikely to be fit for this weekend's clash. Versatile attacker Stevan Jovetic could make his return after recovering from a muscle injury that forced him off in the 4-1 win over Sunderland, although it is unknown as to whether Pellegrini will risk the Montenegrin's fitness.Manchester City:
Another big blow for City is that club captain Vincent Kompany will be watching from the stands after picking up a hamstring injury. Fellow centre-back Matija Nastasic has been missing all season so far with a muscle strain and is sidelined for this match.
Crystal Palace: Neil Warnock has far fewer injury concerns to worry about. However, Marouane Chamakh looks set to end his run of eight consecutive starts after picking up a hamstring injury against Stoke City last weekend. This week Warnock stated, ”He's struggling at the moment and won't play this weekend. We'll have to see after that.”
Wilfried Zaha also picked up a knock in last weekend's game but should be fit for Saturday. The winger, on loan from Manchester United, clocked the fastest speed in the Premier League last weekend (35.2 KM/H) but should he not make the game then Jason Puncheon is the most likely to step in.
Elsewhere in the squad Adrian Mariappa is still struggling with a knee injury and won't feature against Manchester City. Damien Delaney is fit again and will be competing with Brede Hangeland for a starting berth.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistants: P Kirkup and D Bryan
Fourth Official: N Swarbrick
LAST MEETING AT SELHURST PARK
28th December 2013
Manchester City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Edin Dzeko's 50th goal for his team clinched a narrow win over an organised Palace last December. The home side dominated possession but struggled to break down the visitors.
Palace came close to scoring during the game, having as many shots on target as Manchester City. However it was quantity over quality that ensured Pellegrini's side the win; the Citizens firing 23 shots off in total compared to Palace's nine. At that point in last season City had been averaging over four goals a game at home which led to Tony Pulis praising his side's ”fantastic” performance.
The Eagles came close to beating Joe Hart with Joel Ward firing a superb long distance volley which nearly crept into the bottom corner, the England shot-stopper tipping the ball round the post. A last ditch tackle from Gael Clichy stopped Barry Bannan slotting in whilst Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak also threatened. Eventually the Citizens' relentless pressing paid dividends and Dzeko tucked Jesus Navas' cut back away in the 66th minute.
Watch highlights here on Palace Player.
Tickets are still available to season ticket holders and members, up to a maximum of three per person.
They are priced as follows:
Senior Concessions 65+ £38.00
Young Adults 18-21yrs £38.00
Juniors 16-17yrs £30.00
Ambulant/Wheelchair & Free PA £38.00
The club will be running coaches to this game for supporters and they depart at 5.30am with the cost being £25.00.
to purchase your tickets or you can call the box office on 08712 00 00 71.
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Manchester City to win: 2/7
Crystal Palace to win: 10/1
Odds courtesy of SkyBet.
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