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Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace, Premier League 2017: Players to Watch

A crucial match for City, but it won’t be easy...

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Manchester City need to recover from their 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough last weekend, and a win over Crystal Palace at home could do just that.

In their first two matches of the season, City managed to dispatch the London club twice: once in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory, and the other in a 3-0 blowout during the 4th round of the FA Cup. The first match saw Alan Pardew as the gaffer, while Palace were still looking to adjust to Sam Allardyce’s new system in the second game, both which took place at Selhurst Park.

Big Sam’s men fell into the relegation zone during his first several weeks as the manager, but he boosted the team into their current 16th position with a string of solid performances in their last few matches.

While City are vying for a spot in the Top 4, Palace can avoid relegation with a win at the Etihad, so this match is just as important for them as it is for the Citizens. With the recent form of star players Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke, the Eagles are primed to put up a fight against City.

Here’s a look at a few players who could impact the match.

Patrick van Aanholt

The former Sunderland left-back has been neither an attacking or defending force since his arrival at Palace in January. In the Premier League this season, van Aanholt played much better with Black Cats, averaging twice as many tackles, completed dribbles and interceptions.

However, the Dutch full-back is always a threat across the pitch, with blazing speed and passing ability impressive for a player of his age. Van Aanholt must be on top form while trying to defend City’s attack through the wing, as well as proving support going forward.

Yaya Touré

Touré didn't feature in the 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough, and he should replace Aleix García in the starting eleven on Saturday. Yaya scored in both games against Palace this season, including a game-winning brace in their Premier League match at Selhurst Park, which was his first game for City under Pep Guardiola.

The Ivorian is 33 years old, but his passing and shooting are still world-class. After scoring three goals in two games against Palace this season, look for Touré to get on the scoresheet again in this vital match.

Christian Benteke

Benteke has returned to form after a disastrous season with Liverpool last season, and he is once agian become one of the Premier League’s best strikers. In his last seven matches, Benteke has scored five goals and bagged an assist, leading Palace to 10 league points during that period.

Benteke isn’t just scoring goals against the bad teams, though. He scored and assisted in their 2-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month, and his two goals led the Eagles to a 2-1 victory over Liverpool two weeks ago. Benteke can perform on the big stage, and he must do it again to give Palace a chance at the three points.

Gabriel Jesus

With Sergio Agüero out with a possibly season-ending groin injury, Jesus must step into a lone striker role in the City attack for the rest of the campaign. Although he missed two big chances against Boro last weekend, Jesus bagged the equalizer for City in the 85th minute.

The Brazilian made his first start for City in that FA Cup match in February, and made the assist to Raheem Sterling that opened the scoring. Jesus will be looking to lead the attack again and help City get the three points.