Last season's clash between these two sides at the Etihad proved a struggle for the home side. This is unlikely to be the case when the sides meet this weekend.
Crystal Palace held Man City to a single goal win during the festive period last season, the first Premier League team to achieve that in 2013/14, an Edin Dzeko strike separating the sides in the second half of that match.
Dzeko will likely play no part in this encounter due to injury and City will have other absentee worries including Stevan Jovetic and Sergio Aguero. Nevertheless, this depleted squad will still prove too much of an obstacle to Neil Warnock’s Palace side and the Eagles are unlikely to cause an upset on Saturday afternoon despite City’s injury woes.
Pellegrini will certainly be concerned about his absence of strikers, especially with a hectic Christmas set of fixtures coming up. The scale of his problem was demonstrated against Leicester City last weekend when he was forced to field 18-year-old Jose Pozo as his only striker.
Frank Lampard sent City into a 1-0 lead on that occasion and it was this which proved to be the winning goal. As a result, Palace will be confident that they can perhaps get something from this clash.
Warnock has steered his side to a win against Everton at Goodison as well as draws at Tottenham, Swansea and Newcastle, therefore they will hold no fear of going to the Etihad this weekend.
Saying that, the Etihad is a hard place to come away from with anything and City will be anything but a pushover, even with their absentees. Pellegrini will be fully aware that if Chelsea slip up against Stoke City on Monday, a win against the Eagles would close the gap on Mourinho’s side.
A four goal win and a Chelsea defeat on Monday would see City overtake the leaders at the top of the Premier League table. We can’t imagine that happening to be honest, however a depleted Man City can win themselves another three points and perhaps a clean sheet, thereby piling even more pressure on the leaders.
Our betting tips
Man City win-to-nil – Sky Bet 11/10
Anytime Goalscorer, Yaya Toure – 888sport 28/17