Manchester City travel to Selhurst Park to face goal-shy Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, in a game that is likely to be decided on how many changes are made to either squad.
Palace have been short of form of late and may consider resting a number of key players for their meeting with a giant such as Manchester City given they’d be underdogs regardless.
The Eagles have a Premier League six-pointer just days after their cup clash and manager Sam Allardyce might pin his focus on the midweek game, resulting in a host of fringe players starting against the Sky Blues. Palace won’t want a replay adding to their fixture list so it will be all of nothing at Selhurst Park.
Home side Crystal Palace are enduring a woeful start under new manager Sam Allardyce. The Eagles have picked up just one win and two draws from the seven games played in all competitions, and have managed only one Premier League victory since September.
Their defensive record is the biggest problem. Palace just can’t keep sides out this season. The Londoners have managed just two clean sheets in all competitions since August.
Despite having Allardyce at the helm, Palace remain porous as the new boss has a season of mismanagement to try and undo. Manchester City aren’t the best opponents to have to face when in this form, and the visitors have beaten Palace at Selhurst Park earlier in the season.
Manchester City are in decent form ahead of their meeting with Crystal Palace, having won five of their last eight games in all competitions.
The Sky Blues still slip up at times, losing their last away game 4-0 at Everton, while throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw with Tottenham Hotspur, but they should have too much for the Eagles this weekend.
Manager Pep Guardiola may feel the Premier League title is out of their hands this season so he might name a strong team to travel to Selhurst Park in an attempt to win a trophy. City do have league duties days later, but given they are so far off top spot, supporters may be more keen on an FA Cup run.
Manchester City won 2-1 away to Crystal Palace the last time they travelled to London, and given the Eagles conceded two or more goals in four of their last six games, 888 Sport are giving odds of 11/17 for Manchester City Goals Over 1.5.
Saturday afternoon’s FA Cup clash is between two clubs who have kept just five clean sheets between them since October. 188 Bet are giving odds of 9/10 for Both Teams to Score as a result.
Manchester City have a one-sided head-to-head record against Crystal Palace, winning eight of their last nine meetings in the league while thrashing the Londoners 5-1 in their last domestic cup clash.
888 Sport are giving odds of 4/7 for Manchester City to win against Sam Allardyce’s side in 90 minutes. Palace will regard the fixture as somewhat of a distraction from their relegation battle, while City might look to the competition as a chance to resurrect a disappointing season.