Fresh from their Champions League semi-final first leg win over PSG on Wednesday night, Manchester City could clinch their third Premier League title in four years this weekend, providing they beat Crystal Palace on Saturday.
If City can see off the Eagles and Manchester United lose to Liverpool on Sunday, City will be champions again, capturing a second trophy in a season where they’ve still got another to play for.
It may sound like a gimme of a fixture on the face of things, with Palace currently in mid-table obscurity and very much “on the beach” in terms of how much they need to win at Selhurst Park, and Pep Guardiola’s side with the bit between their teeth at the business end of the season. But as City fans will know, Palace have caused them issues in recent years.
Andros Townsend’s goal of the season contender at the Etihad in 2018 came during a 3-2 win for Roy Hodgson’s side, and a 2-2 draw in 2020 also provided a stumbling block as Liverpool took the title from Manchester for the first time.
However, Palace haven’t beaten City on their own patch since 2015, when Glenn Murray and Jason Puncheon scored, with Yaya Toure’s late strike only coming as consolation.
Going into this one, Hodgson has as many as six players missing for the visit of City, with James McArthur, Conor Wickham and Nathan Ferguson certain to miss out. Gary Cahill, James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho are also major doubts, as the Palace manager patches together a defence once again.
For Manchester City, only John Stones is definitely out, having been sent off against Aston Villa. The England defender missed the League Cup final win over Spurs, and will miss this game and the one against Chelsea next week before he’s available again.
That means Nathan Ake could come in for a rare start, as Guardiola rotates his side once again with the second leg against PSG looming on Tuesday. Sergio Aguero may also start, while Ferran Torres, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus are all expected to be involved also.
If Palace can deny City by taking the points in South London, they can go level with Wolves in 12th, having played a game less. If City get the win, they’ll watch Manchester United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, knowing they’ll be confirmed champions if the home side lose.
Crystal Palace take on Manchester City on Saturday, May 1st. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.