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Manchester City logo
Premier League | Gameweek 17
Dec 16, 2023 at 3pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Crystal Palace logo

Man City
2 - 2
Crystal Palace

Grealish (24'), Lewis (54')
Ederson (42')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Mateta (76'), Olise (90+5' pen.)
Andersen (40')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Crystal Palace, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh from their midweek Champions League victory in Belgrade, Manchester City return to Premier League action when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

While the Citizens find themselves sitting fourth in the top-flight standings, the Eagles are languishing in 15th place and are beginning to look over their shoulders following a poor run of form.

Match preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola applauds fans after the match on December 13, 2023© Reuters

After ending their four-game winless run in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Luton Town last weekend, Man City preserved their 100% record in this season's Champions League when a much-changed side beat Red Star Belgrade 3-2 in their final Group G fixture on Wednesday.

Academy graduates Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb celebrated scoring their first senior goals for the Citizens, the former of whom found the net just 19 minutes into his full debut, while Kalvin Phillips was handed a rare start and scored his first goal for the club from the penalty spot five minutes from time, either side of Red Star strikes from Hwang In-beom and Aleksandar Katai.

Pep Guardiola's men have sailed through to the last 16 and completed the group stage with a perfect six wins from six matches, breaking a Champions League record in the process following their win in Serbia, and they now shift their focus back to the Premier League before jetting off to Saudi Arabia next week for the Club World Cup.

Man City's recent wobble in the Premier League has allowed Liverpool, Arsenal and surprise package Aston Villa to climb above the reigning champions in the table, with Guardiola's side now sitting four points adrift of the former at the summit after 16 games.

The Citizens still have plenty of time to turn their fortunes around, though, and they will be confident of success on Saturday as they are unbeaten in their last 18 top-flight games at the Etihad, while they have only lost two of their previous 16 league meetings with Crystal Palace, although both defeats during this run took place on home soil.

AFC Bournemouth's Marcos Senesi scores their first goal past Crystal Palace's Sam Johnstone on December 6, 2023© Reuters

Crystal Palace appeared to be on course to claim a surprise victory over Liverpool and provide Man City with a boost in their title pursuit, as they were leading 1-0 against the Reds heading into the final 15 minutes of last weekend's encounter at Selhurst Park.

However, the 75th-minute dismissal of Jordan Ayew ultimately proved costly as the Eagles conceded twice in the closing stages to lose 2-1, with Mohamed Salah's equaliser – netted just a minute after Ayew's red card – followed by a 91st-minute winner from Harvey Elliott, condemning the hosts to their eighth league defeat of the season.

The pressure is beginning to mount on manager Roy Hodgson, who has seen his side picked up just five points from a possible 45 available over the last two-and-a-half months, but Palace are still seven points clear of the relegation zone and know that one win could see them climb to as high as 11th place.

Considering that Saturday's clash at Man City is followed by tricky top-flight encounters with Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Brentford and Arsenal, it is difficult to see Palace fans celebrating much success during the festive period, but the Eagles have history when it comes to pulling off upsets and they have reason to be optimistic heading to the Etihad.

Indeed, only Manchester United (three) have won more Premier League games at Man City than Palace (two) since Guardiola's arrival at the Etihad in 2016; the Eagles have scored four goals in their last two visits, with a 2-0 win in October 2021 followed by a 4-2 loss in August last year – a game in which they let a two-goal lead slip in the second half.

Manchester City Premier League form:

Manchester City form (all competitions):

Crystal Palace Premier League form:

Team News

Manchester City's Erling Haaland reacts on December 3, 2023© Reuters

Man City's Erling Haaland (foot) and Jeremy Doku (muscle) are both major injury doubts for this weekend, with Guardiola stating on Friday that he does not expect the former to play against Palace; the duo are more likely to return for the Club World Cup next week, while Kevin De Bruyne remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.

After making nine changes to his side for the midweek win over Red Star, Guardiola is expected to recall several of his first-team regulars against Palace, with goalkeeper Ederson and defensive quartet Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol all pushing to return at the back.

Rodri is expected to take Phillips's place in midfield, while Mateo Kovacic will hope to keep his starting spot in the engine room ahead of John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Rico Lewis, who all began in defence against Red Star.

Jack Grealish should shake off a knock sustained in midweek to start on the left flank, while Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez are all set to return in the final third.

As for Crystal Palace, Sam Johnstone (calf), Jefferson Lerma (hamstring) and Odsonne Edouard (knee) all picked up injuries against Liverpool last weekend and will join Cheick Doucoure (Achilles) Eberechi Eze, Rob Holding (both ankle), Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Dean Henderson (both thigh) in the treatment room, the latter of whom is closing in on a return, though, after taking part in training this week.

Jordan Ayew is suspended following his red card last weekend, but Hodgson has confirmed that Tyrick Mitchell is "OK" and back in contention to play following a spell out with a hip injury, so he could replace Nathaniel Clyne at left-back and join Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen and Joe Ward in the back four that is set to protect Remi Matthews in goal.

Michael Olise should be fit to start on the right flank, while Jean-Philippe Mateta, who scored from the penalty spot against Liverpool, is set to lead the line in the absence of Edouard.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake; Kovacic, Rodri; Foden, Bernardo, Grealish; Alvarez

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Matthews; Ward, Guehi, Andersen, Mitchell; Richards, Ahamada, Hughes; Olise, Mateta, Schlupp

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have frustrated Man City in the past and have already won in Manchester this season, beating Manchester United 1-0 in September, but it seems a tall order for Hodgson's out-of-form and depleted squad to pull off another upset on Saturday.

Man City may not be at full strength themselves, but they have coped without Haaland and Doku in their last two games, and Guardiola can rely on a number of his first-team stars, who were rested in midweek, to fire the champions to victory on home soil.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916

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