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Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace, Premier League 2017: Team News, Match Preview, Predictions

City need a big home victory to improve their European chances. Can they do it against a good Palace team?

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Crystal Palace v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

After a full week of recovery and training, Manchester City return to Premier League action and will face Crystal Palace at the Etihad on Saturday's lunchtime kickoff.

This is a crucial game for both sides, but for very different reasons. The Sky Blues are involved in a tight race for a top-four finish and qualification for next season's Champions League, and three home matches in a row give City a major chance to take a giant step towards a place in Europe's biggest competition.

For Palace, three points in their final matches will guarantee their safety and Sam Allardyce will once again avoid relegation as a manager. It seems that Big Sam is the man made to make bad teams look very good, and he's done it again with the Eagles.

Pep Guardiola is expected to win trophies, but a Top 4 finish in his first season is almost like a trophy in such an inconsistent season for City. Winning at home hasn't been a habit in this campaign, but now they must do a job and get Champions League football with three home victories.

Can City finish the job?


MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING

Date/Time: Saturday, April 6, 2017, 12:30pm BST (UK), 7:30am ET, 4:30am PT (USA), 5pm IST (India)

Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

Referee: Michael Oliver

Television: Sky Sports 1 (UK), NBCSN (USA), SuperSport 3 (Africa), TSN1 (Canada), Star Sports Select HD1 (India), elsewhere

Online streaming: Sky GO (UK), NBC Sports Live (USA), FuboTV (USA, 7-day free trial + monthly subscription, click here to sign up), elsewhere


TEAM NEWS

Pep Guardiola ruled out Claudio Bravo for the rest of the season, and Willy Caballero will be the goalkeeper for the final matches. John Stones, David Silva and Sergio Agüero did not recover properly from their injuries during the week and will miss out, although the Spanish Magician has an outside chance of making the bench.

With Agüero's injury, Gabriel Jesus will lead the front line on his own and repeat what was a very successful front three with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané. That amazing trio made its debut in the FA Cup match against Palace in February and had a great run of matches where they scored plenty of goals and electrified stadiums with their pace and skill.

Sané, Sterling and Jesus will get the chance to play together again, and will have Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Touré behind them looking to create chances. City's defense needs to be strong and good in the air against Christian Benteke, which calls for a center-back duo of Vincent Kompany and Aleksandar Kolarov. Jesús Navas and Gaël Clichy may get the start as full-backs to deal with Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha's pace, although Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta could get minutes on the right.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Man City (4-2-3-1)

Caballero; Navas, Kompany, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho, Touré; Sterling, De Bruyne, Sané; G.Jesus

Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1)

Hennessey; Ward, Kelly, Delaney, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic; Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend; Benteke


PREDICTION

It's never easy against Big Sam, but we'll get the job done. 2-1 City.