Manchester City v Crystal Palace
Saturday 12:30, Sky Sports 1.
Match Odds: Manchester City 1.271/4, Crystal Palace 13.012/1, The Draw 7.26/1.
Manchester City are fighting for the Champions League places and Crystal Palace are still mathematically in danger of relegation, but it's the away side who have collected more points over the last 10 matches - 19 compared to City's 17.
Indeed, Palace might find their counter-attacking gameplan is well-suited to this challenge, against a side who will overwhelmingly dominate possession. With the speed of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha on the flanks, they could cause an upset at the Etihad - just like they have away at Chelsea and Liverpool recently - and Pep Guardiola will have to prepare his side to guard against counters.
Guardiola played a three-man defence last weekend at Middlesbrough but there's little to suggest he'll do something similar here, after City conceded two goals against the Premier League's least impressive attack. Expect a four-man defence, and with John Stones unlikely to return, Vincent Kompany should continue alongside Nicolas Otamendi, his longest run of starts for some time.
Jesus Navas will fancy his chances of returning to his increasingly familiar right-back role, with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling stretching the play either side of Kevin De Bruyne. David Silva may play in a deeper midfield role if fit to return, while upfront Sergio Aguero's injury means another chance for Gabriel Jesus.
Palace's team should be relatively unchanged from the XI that surprisingly lost at home to Burnley last weekend. Christian Benteke was particularly poor last week, and while Sam Allardyce loves basing his side around a big man upfront, perhaps he might consider fielding a forward with plenty of pace against a defence that plays very high up the pitch. Loic Remy is an option, although is still searching for his first Premier League goal for Palace, after an injury-hit season.
City will dominate this game, but how will they find the breakthrough? Without Silva, their passing can be too slow, with no-one connecting the play through short passing and quick movement. De Bruyne, for all his talents, hasn't played that role particularly well this season and can be less effective against deep defences - and Palace will certainly sit deep here.
City's wingers, too, might struggle here. Although Sterling and Sane offer plenty of pace, that might not be particularly useful against a Palace deep playing deep and narrow - they'll find it tough to make runs in behind, and Palace will happily gobble up any crosses chucked into the mixer.
Some incision may have to come from deep. While Jason Puncheon can counter-attack through the centre, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure should feel comfortable enough to push forward and provide some midfield thrust. Toure, in particular, is the type of player who could dominate this game, against a side sitting deep and allowing plenty of pressure.
Jesus, meanwhile, seems a livewire forward who comes alive in the box and reaches crosses and cut-backs quickly. Teams haven't worked out how to stop him yet, and his close-range goalpoaching might prove crucial.
Allardyce will order his side to play on the counter-attack, primarily through the two wingers. He might consider switching Zaha from right to left if Navas seems set to start at right-back, and if Guardiola fields Stones or Aleksandar Kolarov in the centre of defence, expect Benteke to play up against them.
City are rightly favourites but seem very underpriced to me. Instead, I'll look to Gabriel Jesus to open the scoring at 4.03/1 - he's a bundle of tricks and there aren't too many other major goalscoring threats on the pitch.