Manchester City V Crystal Palace, Premier league, Etihad Stadium, 23rd September
It’s top versus bottom in the Premier League on Saturday as Pep Guardiola’s in-form Manchester City host Roy Hodgson’s beleaguered Crystal Palace in what looks, to all intents, to be a Premier League mismatch.
City have four wins and a draw to their name from five games in the Premier League so far this season, scoring 16 goals along the way which makes them the league’s top scorers alongside great rivals Manchester United. Palace, on the other hand, have lost all five of their matches, and worryingly for fans, players and staff alike, are yet to open their account in front of goal. Frank de Boer was unceremoniously sacked after four games (one of the shortest Premier League managerial tenures in history), yet new coach Hodgson, the ex-England boss, got off to a losing start in the league against Southampton last time out, suffering a 1-0 defeat. But, more positively, the Eagles did claim their first win of the season in the League Cup in midweek against Huddersfield.
If Palace’s task was not daunting enough, then it is only made worse by the fact that in Sergio Agüero they face the most prolific striker in English football right now; five goals in five Premier League games for the little Argentine so far, with another added in the Champions League rout against Feyenoord. Ominously for Palace, he also got a rest in his side’s midweek EFL Cup win over West Bromwich Albion.
Unsurprisingly, there is little value to be found backing Manchester City conventionally, so looking at -2 on the handicap is where you have to go to find anything worthy to follow. Odds of 2.10 can currently be secured with PaddyPower.
As previously mentioned, Palace’s misfiring attack has yet to find the net in the league so far, while City have conceded only two in five games. Backing ‘no’ on Both Teams to Score is the sensible option at 1.70 with a number of different bookmakers.
And finally, looking at the goalscorer markets; Sergio Agüero bagged a hat-trick last time out against Watford, and was rested for City’s midweek win, so he should be ready to wreak havoc on Palace’s overworked defence. Agüero to score twice or more is available at 3.40 with PaddyPower.
Could this be the game to spark a Palace revival, or this an opportunity for a rampant City to further enhance their title credentials? Not the game Roy Hodgson would have picked as his first outside Selhurt Park, but sometimes in the greatest challenges inspiration lies.