Man City v Crystal Palace preview: Roy Hodgson faces tough test against Pep Guardiola
Last Updated: 23/09/17 1:53pm
Crystal Palace will look to arrest their winless and goalless start to the campaign this weekend away at Manchester City.
Palace are the first team in top-flight history to lose and fail to score in their opening five games of a league season.
The fixture list has dealt new Palace boss Roy Hodgson a tough hand as they face a red-hot City team who are unbeaten in their last 13 games whilst scoring 31 times in their last 11 fixtures.
City's 6-0 victory over Watford last weekend leaves them joint-top with Manchester United going into this weekend's fixtures.
Hodgson, who has never faced Pep Guardiola in a competitive match, started his reign with a home defeat to Southampton but - much like in their previous defeat at Burnley - they created some exceptional chances which they didn't take.
Palace have an xG figure (expected goals) of 7.14 in the Premier League this season, which suggests that from the chances they've had, they should have scored seven goals rather than have drawn a blank.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany could be back in contention for the visit of Palace. The defender has missed the last four games with a calf injury but is back in training.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will not feature after suffering a knee sprain in midweek but the problem is not serious and he should soon return to training.
Mamadou Sakho will make his first Premier League start since his permanent Crystal Palace move.
Boss Roy Hodgson has confirmed the former Liverpool defender will start at the Etihad Stadium, as the Eagles bid to rebuff rampant table-toppers City.
Wilfried Zaha remains sidelined with the knee injury he sustained on the opening day of the season.
Manchester City have won nine of their last 10 Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, including each of their last four.
The Citizens have lost just one of their last 24 Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium (W14 D9 L1).
Only two teams in English football league history within the top four tiers have failed to score in their opening six league games of a season - Burnley in 1997-98 (third tier) and Halifax Town in 1990-91 (fourth tier). Halifax hold the all-time record, as they failed to score in their opening eight league games in 1990-91.
The only previous occasion that a side has lost their opening six games in a Premier League season was by Portsmouth in 2009-10 and they ended the season bottom.
The last occasion that a team lost their opening six games in a top-flight season and avoided relegation was in 1983-84, when Leicester City ended up in 15th place.
Crystal Palace have conceded the first goal in a league-high 31 matches since the start of 2016-17, while only Chelsea (33) have scored the first goal more often than Man City (28) in this period.
Sergio Aguero has scored 14 goals and assisted five more in his 17 Premier League appearances since the start of March 2017.
Of players to have scored 10+ goals in Premier League history, Manchester City's current strike partnership have the two best minutes per goal ratios - Gabriel Jesus has scored a goal every 89 minutes on average, while Sergio Aguero's mins per goal ratio is 108 mins.
David Silva have scored four goals and assisted one more in six Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace - only against Newcastle United (5) has he netted more.
This is a Roy Hodgson's sort of match. I was worried about the Southampton fixture when he arrived because he's not very good at setting up teams to win. He's not the type of manager to chase a result.
He's more tactical in terms of trying to stop his opposition playing. That's where he is more comfortable, so these three games - against City, Man Utd and Chelsea - are probably more suited.
Having said that, City are playing in a different league at the moment. Look what they did to a Watford team that seems pretty good this year.
Pep Guardiola's side look irresistible and even if they goal 1-0 down, they just bring on the big guns and go for it.
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0 (Sky Bet odds 7/1)
Manchester City are Sky Bet's bankers of the day at just 1/7 to see off 16/1 shots Crystal Palace, who are 7/1 just to secure a draw. The two sides arrive at the opposite ends of Sky Bet's outright markets, with Pep Guardiola's men 10/11 title favourites while the Eagles head the relegation betting at 5/6. Sergio Aguero leads the first goalscorer market at 9/4 while Christian Benteke is considered the visitors' main threat at 10/1 to break the deadlock.
Man City v Palace is included in this weekend's Super 6 line-up, with £250,000 up for grabs again. Enter your predictions for free here.