Manchester City v Crystal Palace Betting Preview
Back Manchester City to strengthen their top four chances with a win
Manchester City are not experiencing the best run of forms at the moment, and with only four games left they need to turn that around this weekend. Pep Guardiola’s men have only won two of their last nine in all competitions – hardly the form of a side looking to secure Champions League football next season.
They’re without a win in any of their last three outings, drawing to Manchester United and relegation-threatened Middlesbrough as well as a 2-1 FA Cup defeat (after extra time) to Arsenal two weeks ago. However they’ve only lost once at home all season, and that was against Chelsea. They know that any slip-ups between now and the end of the season will hand the advantage to Manchester United and Liverpool in the chase for a top-four finish, but they’ve only won half of their 16 home league games this season, so a win on Saturday is far from certain.
Despite a slow start to his reign as Crystal Palace manager, Sam Allardyce has all but guaranteed the Eagles’ place in the Premier League for next season when looking destined for the drop at Christmas. Palace had only won four of their opening 17 games before Allardyce took over, and they’re now close to securing top-flight football for the fifth consecutive season. They’re currently six points clear of the relegation zone with 38 points, and a win on Saturday would all but guarantee survival.
They come into the game on the back of a good run of form, having lost only three of their last ten in the league. Allardyce’s men have taken three points from Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks, and will have the belief that they can cause another upset this weekend. Despite sitting 16th in the table, they have the best goal difference of any team in the bottom 11, and only the top seven and Bournemouth have scored more league goals this season (46). They have however lost their last two, including a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Burnley at the weekend, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that run stretch to three on Saturday.
Manchester City have won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two sides, and haven’t lost at home to the Eagles since 1990. Crystal Palace have failed to keep a clean sheet against City since 1995, and with City fighting for Champions League football it’s likely they won’t hold back in front of goal. There hasn’t been a draw in this fixture in the last 14 meetings, and I think we’re unlikely to see one this time around.
To score – Sergio Aguero 4/9
The Argentine, as he is so often, is in fine form. He’s scored in seven of Manchester City’s last eight games in all competitions, and currently has 18 goals in the Premier League so far this season. You wouldn’t want to bet against him scoring at home right now, and I recommend backing odds of 4/9 for Sergio Aguero to score on Saturday.
Both teams to score – Yes 4/6
Crystal Palace, despite failing to score in their last two league encounters, have found the net in four of their last five away games, and with away wins against both Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks they’ve proved their ability to produce in front of goal in the big games. Manchester City have scored in 14 of their 16 home league games this season, with only Stoke and Manchester United keeping clean sheets at the Etihad. They’ve also scored eight times in their last four league games. I fancy both teams to find the net on Saturday, with both teams to score priced at 4/6.
Match odds – Manchester City 1/4
As good as Palace’s away form has been in recent weeks I can’t see Sam Allardyce’s men getting a result at the Etihad on Saturday. City know that they need to win all their remaining games to secure Champions League football and they’ll be determined to go out and take all three points. Their record against Palace is an impressive one, and I’m backing Guardiola’s men to win at 1/4, although it may be wiser to include it in an accumulator rather than a single bet. The draw is priced at 19/4 or you can back odds of 10/1 for a Crystal Palace win.
Writer’s Prediction: Manchester City 3 – 2 Crystal Palace (22/1)
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.