The international break is FINALLY over, and it will not be back until March of next year. Manchester City players will only play for Manchester City now, and Pep Guardiola will finally be able to have his players for a good number of months, with time to train and fully assess the state of his squad as his City Era continues.
We're now close to reaching a third of the way in the Premier League season, and City are shaping up to be a title contender. We all thought this would be the case, and despite a few disappointing results — three straight draws at home, for instance — the team looks strong enough to take the title.
But Liverpool and Chelsea look absurdly strong at the moment, and they don't look likely to drop points anytime soon. That puts pressure on City to continue to pick up victories as well, and any slip-ups could lead to the Reds and Blues opening up a bigger gap than desired.
One potential slip-up opportunity takes place on Saturday, when the Citizens visit Selhurst Park for a very tricky game away to Crystal Palace. The Eagles have a very good offense and a very bad defense, meaning City are likely to concede one or two goals, but have the firepower and the opportunities to score a lot more.
A clean sheet would be nice, obviously, but if doesn't come, we just need a win.
Date/Time: Saturday, November 19, 2016, 3pm BST (UK), 10am ET, 7am PT (US), 8:30pm IST (India)
Venue: Selhurst Park, London, England
Referee: Bobby Madley
TV listings: Premier League Extra Time (US), NBC UNIVERSO (US - Spanish), Sportsnet (Canada), Star Sports Select HD2 (India), elsewhere
Online streaming: NBC Sports Live (US), SiriusXM FC (US - Radio), NBC UNIVERSO NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (US - Spanish), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), BBC Radio (UK - Radio), elsewhere
Man City: Wait, no injuries? Is Pep Guardiola really working with a full-strength squad? Almost. Almost. Fabian Delph is apparently going to be injured forever, and Fernando has a slight knock. Vincent Kompany is always a doubt, though he's not actually injured. Bacary Sagna will return from a hamstring problem, but we'll probably see him on the bench. It's good news anyway.
There's a very important Champions League match against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Wednesday, but it's on Wednesday. The players will have a lot of time to rest from the Palace game and then travel to Germany. Expect a very strong lineup on Saturday, one that should give the Sky Blues a good victory.
Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew is a good manager, and he has one giant gameplan to try and beat City: cross the ball to Christian Benteke all the time. He'll have Yohan Cabaye, Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha ready to provide him that, and then the big Belgian will try to win balls in the air to create chances for himself and others.
If that doesn't work, Palace don't really have too many options. Their defense isn't even competent, and if Benteke is not having a great afternoon, then the Eagles could be at the wrong end of a beating at home.
We'll win this one. Not comfortably, but we'll win it. 3-1 to the visitors.