It is top against second Saturday when Manchester City visit Crystal Palace this Saturday. It is certainly a test for any side going to Palace and facing an Alan Pardew side but, in the week Queen Elizabeth became the longest serving British Monarch, wouldn't it be just like the Citizens to revolt at the Palace!
The history between the two sides doesn't go back all that far, in League play, between the two clubs. In fact, Liz had already been on the thrown for over a decade before the two sides met. City would host Palace, who were both in the second tier of English football, and lose 2-0. The return fixture, only a few days later saw Pardoe of City score in a 1-1 draw. The next season, Joe Mercer came and we all know what happened after that.
On the third of January we beat them, convincingly, 4-0 as we started our FA Cup run which would end in a replay defeat to Tottenham and ‘that' goal by Ricky Villa. Later, in League play, Dave Bennett would score his last goal in Manchester City Sky Blue. Eventually, after being on the losing side in an FA Cup Final he would again face Tottenham in another FA Cup Final, this time in Coventry City Sky Blue, scoring a goal and putting in a man of the match effort to lift the trophy.
Andy Hinchcliffe made his last appearance for City away to Palace on May 5th 1990. After over 100 appearances he would move on to Everton, where he would stay for close to a decade. David Brightwell and Michel Vonk would both do the same five years later, away again, as Citys problems began to surface.
Head To Head Stats:
Head to head the stats certainly make good reading for the Blues. In all competitions, including two FA Cup meetings in the 1920's, City have won just under half. If you take that to just League meetings the win percentage goes down a little but still at the 45% mark, with Palace winning just over a quarter.
At Palaces ground though it is surprising, and couldn't be much more even. In the eighteen games played, City have won 7, lost seven and drawn the other four (although technically one of City's victories was actually played at a neutral venue). In the process they have scored 23 goals and conceded 22.
What Links Us?
Quite a decent amount of history between us with regards staff also. Jon Macken, the poor man's Robbie Keane, played for City. Can't remember him? Well you know the FA Cup game against Spurs on 4th February 2004 when City were 3-0 (and a man) down at half time only to come back and win 4-3? Yeah, it was Macken who scored that fourth.
Michael Hughes was a trainee at City from the late 1980's. He came on as a sub against Nottingham Forest towards the end of a successful, and back then fifth was successful, season. He would score his only goal for City in the next campaign before moving on, eventually ending up at Palace the same season City said goodbye to Maine Road.
Eddie McGoldrick went the other way. Playing for Palace along the same time as Hughes was with us he would leave for Arsenal before being loaned, and then bought, by City in 1996. He would play a handful of games before leaving in 1999.
A year later Jamie Pollock would leave City, after two seasons, and head to Palace. At City in their darkest time he was there for most of the season, scoring a goal in a 1-1 draw with Walsall, and being in all playoff games including the Final. His last game for City came the season after that and seeing City heading back to the top flight. Danny Granville also would go a similar way a season later.
Abdul Razak is a more recent addition to this group, after having spells at both City and Palace in his youth.
With regards management we have a guy who is loved by Palace fans and somewhat confused and angered City fans and one who was loved by both.
Steve Coppell is a strange one for City fans. He was appointed manager on October 7th, was in charge of six games and then quit. Both Asa Hatford and Phil Neal, who were in caretaker charge before and after Coppell, spent longer that season in the hot seat. He cited the pressure of the job as being the key factor and although, at the time, it was confusing and angered the City faithful, maybe it was actually a clear early sign of how City would fall in only a few seasons.
At Palace, there is no such confusion, they love him.
And a Palace/City history piece could not be completed without mentioning Malcolm Allison. A previous article deals with the man himself, who actually spent two spells managing both clubs, although it was as Assistant to Joe Mercer where he had most success.