Manchester City head to Selhurst Park for a crucial match against Crystal Palace, knowing that any drop in points could open the door to Liverpool to take the initiative in the race for the Premier League title.
The Mersey reds won 2-0 at Brighton on Saturday to put them within three points of the blues and, with a trip to Arsenal in midweek, a win for City could be the difference between retaining or losing their crown.
Looking at the stats would indicate a win for the blues. City have not lost at Palace since a 2-1 defeat in April 2015. That was City’s first defeat in three matches and their only loss in 11 matches on Palace ground.
The blues have won 9 of those matches, with one of those being a 2-0 win in April 2014, which gave the blues a vital three points as they beat Liverpool to the title that season. City have won their last three trips to Selhurst Park, 3-1, 2-0 and 2-0 but, for the superstitious among you, there is a worrying trend.
City’s longest winning run is three matches and thy have achieved this on four occasions, and twice the run has been ended with defeat, while a third ended with a goalless draw. City will need to buck that trend on Monday if they are to stave off the challenge from Merseyside.
However, it is also worth noting that the last time Palace did a league double over City was back in the 1987/88 season, when they won 3-1 at Maine Road and 2-0 at Selhurst Park. Since then, a Palace victory in Manchester has seen a blue win in London.
Palace won 2-0 in December 1990 at Maine Road, but a perfect hat-trick by Niall Quinn gave City a 3-1 win the following April. And a 3-2 win for Palace in December 2018 saw another 3-1 win for City, again in the following April. 3-1 to City on Monday anyone?
The blues are unbeaten in seven matches at Selhurst Park, their longest unbeaten run against Palace in South London, and victory on Monday will be their 17th win at Palace in the history of this fixture. The home side have beaten the blues ten times at home with seven ending in a draw.
City have scored 43 goals at Palace and have kept 12 clean sheets against the Eagles. By comparison, Palace have scored 34 goals, keeping just 9 clean sheets, so the stats fall firmly in City’s favour. The blues have only failed to score once at Selhurst Park since a 4-0 League Cup beating in January 1995.
The biggest blues win at Selhurst Park is 3-1, while their heaviest defeat remains that 4-0 thrashing that saw City dumped out of the League Cup in 1995.
These two teams have only ever met once in March in South London, a match that ended 1-1 on 4th March 2000. In fact, they have only ever met in this month three times in total, with both sides winning once each.
What will the outcome be on Monday?