Crystal Palace v Man City
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Palace showing promise
No-one is talking about Crystal Palace breaking into the top six this season.
But there they are in sixth position after accumulating 14 points from eight games - just two fewer than Saturday evening's visitors.
One obvious area of improvement has been their home form. Last season, relegated duo Cardiff and Fulham won more home games than Palace and only Huddersfield scored fewer home goals.
This time, Roy Hodgson's men are one of just four sides without a home defeat having won two and drawn two. They also boast the best home defensive record in the top flight, the only goal conceded a last-gasp strike by Wolves.
Then, of course, there is last year's famous 3-2 win at the Etihad and THAT goal from Andros Townsend. Yep, Palace are no pushovers.
Everything is relative and second place in the table represents underachievement for City.
In fact, it's fair to expand it to serious underachievement given that they've already shipped eight points in eight games to leave themselves eight behind Liverpool's maximum tally of 24.
The draw with Spurs was rather freakish (City should have won easily) but defeats at Norwich and and home to Wolves hinted at problems.
The obvious one is in defence where, quite simply, none of the current fit and available City back four would get in a composite team made up of them and Liverpool.
The loss of their best defender, Aymeric Laporte, is a serious blow and whether Fernandinho can bed in properly or just act as a temporary band aid remains to be seen. It would certainly be easier for him to slot in alongside Virgil Van Dijk rather than Nicolas Otamendi.
City massive favourites
Despite Palace overachieving and City underachieving, the market doesn't really hint at either.
Crystal Palace are a massive 1312/1 to bank three more points while Man City are just 1.261/4. The Draw is a hefty 7.26/1.
City gained some revenge for the 3-2 home loss last season by beating Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park although the score was just 2-1 with nine minutes left.
Palace also held City to a 0-0 home draw the season before.
By rights, Pep Guardiola's men should get back to winning ways but at 1/4 you need to dig for holes and, look close enough, and there are some.
Does that mean Palace are a speculative play at 12/1? Possibly so and, unlike some, they're no strangers to wins against the bigger teams, a trend they continued with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford earlier this season.
Unders worth a play
If you do go down the Palace will win route, there's a problem. City always score on the road (they have done in the last 15 PL games) and that means the hosts would have to net twice.
Of course, putting the ball in the net remains Palace's big problem and they've scored just eight in eight games this season. Having also conceded just eight, the goal quotes on Saturday look too lopsided.
As it's City, goals are taken as a given but 3.052/1 for Under 2.5 is over-egging it.
Let's remind ourselves again of Pep's City drawing 0-0 at Selhurst Park two seasons ago while there was also a 1-0 City win in 2015/16.
We can actually go a goal up to Under 3.5 and still find a reasonable price of 1.84/5 so I'm going to play both.
Palace are very well structured, City may lack a little rhythm after the international break and, keeping it simple, Under 2.5 has landed in each of City's last two games (Dinamo Zagreb and Wolves) and in six of Palace's nine matches in all comps.
Look beyond Aguero
As well as having a slight prang in his car, Sergio Aguero's accuracy has been a little off target on the pitch too when it comes to Selhurst Park.
There's a famous stat that he's never scored at Anfield despite always banging one in against Liverpool at home but less well documented is his awful record at Selhurst Park. He's been there six times and failed to hit the onion bag once.
It means the inevitable Aguero goal that we expect in almost every match may just not happen - something which helps our Unders bets.
Options elsewhere would include Palace penalty expert Luka Milivojevic (scored in the fixture last season) at 5.85/1 and for City, with Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus all odds-on, I'd rather look at Riyad Mahrez at 2.727/4.
The tricky winger has three in his last six and two in his last three away games.
In Man City boss Pep Guardiola's managerial league career, the only English manager he's ever lost to is Crystal Palace's Roy Hodgson (2-3 at the Etihad, December 2018).
For more tips and insight on the weekend action - plus an exclusive interview with Dimitar Berbatov on the racism storm to hit Bulgaria this week - check out the latest episode of the Football....Only Bettor podcast