After their frustrating 3-2 defeat at the hands of Burnley prior to the international break, the Crystal Palace will host the star-studded Manchester City later this week. This looks like a very one-sided affair and given the fact that Palace have lost the last seven of their eight Premier League matches against City, the fans won’t have high hopes for this match.
However, with City slipping against lower teams this season, Palace might have an outside chance of getting something out of this game. Crystal Palace will also have Bakary Sako returning from injury which will be a boost for Pardew, having more options on the wings.
The Eagles are currently in the 16th position in the Premier League, just two places above the relegation zone and a loss here might pull them down into the relegation zone depending on how other results go.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is expected to start between the sticks ahead of Welsh international Wayne Hennessey since he has no more injury concerns. The right back position should be taken by Joel Ward. Captain Scott Dann will keep his place at the heart of the defence and he needs to pull up his socks as the back line has conceded seven goals in their last two matches against Liverpool and Burnley.
James Tomkins is expected to accompany him at the heart of the defence. Martin Kelly will start at left-back with Pape Souare injured for after breaking his leg in a car crash.
James McArthur, the club’s top scorer and probably their best player in front of the defence, will surely start. The defensive midfielder has bagged 4 goals and 2 assists from 9 appearances. He has been brilliant both in his defensive as well as the offensive duties.
Although Pardew favoured Jason Puncheon in the previous game against Burnley, we expect Joe Ledley to start alongside Cabaye at the heart of the midfield in what will be a three-man midfield to disrupt Man City from playing their possession football.
The two wings will be taken by Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend. Zaha has been bright on that left wing with 1 goal and 4 assists so far. The confusion will be between Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham. Apart from the fact that the centre forward bagged a goal coming off the bench against Burnley, Wickham has scored the most goals against City (3) in Premier League. We expect Wickham to get the nod this time.