Published: Sun, December 31, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Pep Guardiola praises Wilfried Zaha's form this season

Pep Guardiola praises Wilfried Zaha's form this season

It's been a unusual old season for Crystal Palace supporters.

Manchester City have claimed 10 triumphs in their last 11 (W1-D0-L10) Premier League meetings against Crystal Palace with the most recent two encounters ending in 5-0 victories for the Citizens.

Roy Hodgson's side put in a spirited, if ultimately fruitless, display against Arsenal in midweek although the former England manager knows his Eagles will have to raise their game yet again if they are to have any chance of picking up points in this outing. Not necessarily serious injuries, but they may be sufficient to keep them out [against] Man City.

"What counts is what we have to do against Palace, and what we have to do against their four fantastic strikers".

"But the players we have are best suited to playing the way we are trying to play, so I'm afraid we won't have much option other than to try and do against them what we tried to do against Arsenal".

Delph had a small muscle problem but is in contention to return.

The 25-year-old made a slow start to the season due to a knee injury but has returned to his best form following the appointment of Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

"I said to the players after Newcastle, "Be ready guys and focus because we have a tough game on the 31st at Selhurst Park".

Joel Ward, who missed the clash with the Gunners, may also miss this game with a groin problem.

Vincent Kompany pulled up injured and will be missing for Sunday's trip to the capital but Eliaquim Mangala is waiting in the wings as a direct replacement for the City captain.

David Silva may also miss out, while youngster Phil Foden is definitely out with an ankle injury.

His team are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League, having won their past 18 matches in the competition.

The run has prompted suggestions Guardiola's Manchester City side are the best the Premier League has seen. With four goals already against Crystal Palace in his career, he'll be relishing Sunday's meeting.

Manchester City haven't ended a calendar year with a victory in the Premier League since 2013 - they lost 0-1 at Liverpool in 2016, drew 0-0 away at Leicester in 2015 and drew 2-2 at home to Burnley in 2014.

Sergio Aguero twice hit the woodwork in the opening half hour and Kevin De Bruyne thumped the post and then side-footed wide in the second half as the Citizens should have extended their advantage with Pep Guardiola admitting post-match it is "difficult to play" against ultra-defensive teams. Still unbeaten domestically, Pep Guardiola's side will travel to southeast London and meet a Crystal Palace side who's eight-match unbeaten run came to an end on Thursday night.

With the Eagles famously struggling against Manchester City, it is hard to see them causing major upsets against the runaway league leaders.

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