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Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace, Premier League 2017: What to watch for

Three things to look for when City and Palace face off at the Etihad

Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Manchester City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad on Saturday's lunchtime kickoff looking for three crucial points in the race for a Champions League place next season. Palace want to avoid relegation and ensure another season in the Premier League, and with Pep Guardiola and Sam Allardyce with clear plans in mind, this promises to be quite an interesting match.

Here are three things to watch for:

Battle of the Belgians

Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke are among the Premier League's best players at whay they do: De Bruyne is an exceptional all-around player, capable of scoring and making goals. Kevin leads the league in assists, and his double-digit shots to the posts this season prove that he's been quite unlucky in front of goal.

Benteke has 14 league goals this season, and revitalized his career after an awful year at Liverpool. The most dangerous aerial threat in England has been fantastic lately, with five goals in his last seven matches. Benteke scored 11 of his 14 goals away from Selhurst Park, which means there's a big chance he'll get a goal at the Etihad.

Styles Make Fights

Guardiola and Big Sam have built their careers on very distinct philosophies. Pep created a Barcelona team that made history with incredible possession play, team goals and attacking prowess. His Bayern Munich team won't be one of the best of all time, but the Bavarian giants dominated the Bundesliga with the same possession play, team goals and attacking prowess from that Barça team.

Allardyce specialized in saving teams from relegation, making it clear that he knows how to get a team out of trouble. Big Sam has never been relegated in his long career, and his simplistic style based on strong defending and counter-attacking excellence has made weak teams look very strong.

Pep and Sam respect and like each other, and their teams clearly understand and apply what the coaches teach them. The best fights in boxing happen when the fighters have very distinct styles. Football is the same.

Home, Bitter Home?

Crystal Palace is one of three teams with more wins away from home than at their own stadium. The other two? Manchester United and Manchester City. The Sky Blues won just 50% of their home matches in the Premier League, and even though City only lost once at the Etihad all season, they've had too many draws (7).

City play their next three games at home, and nine points from those three matches will pretty much guarantee a top-four finish. The season results at home have not been positive, and City need to turn their home fortunes around to get Champions League football next season.

Palace's style is perfect for them on the road, and they'll be looking to make sure that City's problems at the Etihad continue.