How Manchester City and Crystal Palace playing styles compare
By Adam Smith
Last Updated: 06/05/17 11:45am
Manchester City host Crystal Palace live on Sky Sports this Saturday - and it will be a clash of styles.
Both clubs have won 10 points from their last seven Premier League games - but they've gone very different ways about it.
Here, we compare the tactics of Pep Guardiola's fourth-placed Manchester City and Sam Allardyce's back-on-form Crystal Palace...
ATTACK & PASSING
City have scored 65 goals in the Premier League this season - 19 more than Palace. But the Eagles have still scored more goals than any other club in the bottom half of the table, proving their attacking ability.
That threat arrives primarily from the flanks, with the in-form Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend contributing to 825 crosses and corners this season - only Southampton have attempted more.
Those crosses are typically targeted at Palace frontman and aerial specialist Christian Benteke, who has scored a league-high six headed goals.
In contrast, City play the majority of their football in the centre of the pitch, dominating possession as the defenders and midfielders probe for holes in their opposition's guard.
Despite having an ageing squad, City have scored a league-high six goals from fast breaks, with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane providing an abundance of pace and energy on the break. Palace, in contrast, have not scored one goal in that manner.
Guardiola has stuck to his ethos of passing from the back and dominating possession, while Allardyce has reinforced the pre-existing emphasis of crossing and aerial threat at Palace.
So, Palace have a serious attacking potency from the wings, while City probe from the middle and can break quickly.
DEFENCE & WEAKNESSES
Palace have shipped the sixth highest total of goals in the Premier league this season with 56 - largely contributing to their lowly league standing until last month.
Conversely, the Eagles' keepers have averaged a 60 per cent save rate from shots in the box, compared to City's 50 per cent - a stat that may have cost Guardiola a shot at the title during his inaugural season in England.
Underfire City 'keeper Claudio Bravo only has a 43 per cent save rate but is likely to miss the rest of the season through injury, while Allardyce appears to have addressed defensive frailties at Selhurst Park
The former Sunderland boss strengthened a weak defensive spine with Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho in January, who may also miss the rest of the season through injury, and signed fellow defender Patrick van Aanholt from his former club.
Palace surpass City in the majority of defensive stats, including blocks, duels won, clearances, tackles, interceptions and headed clearances - no surprise, given their greater defensive workload. Palace, for instance, average just 46 per cent possession compare to City's league-high 65 per cent.
City also reign supreme for clean sheets, having kept 10 to the Eagles' six.
But regardless of styles, both teams have proved effective in recent weeks. Can Allardyce mathematically guarantee Premier League survival and claim a fourth victory over top-six opposition within a month when his side travel to Manchester on Saturday? Or will City keep their top-four hopes on track?
Watch Manchester City v Crystal Palace live on Sky Sports 1 from 11.30am on Saturday