Manchester City's Vincent Kompany and Alvaro Negredo celebrate after scoring against Liverpool in their English Premier League game, December 26. Reuters
Two days after that epic 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad, Manchester City will look to have some fun when relegation-threatened Crystal Palace pay a visit in the English Premier League on Saturday.
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The game is scheduled for an 8.30 pm IST start with live coverage on Star Sports HD1 in India. You can also catch the action courtesy live streaming online HERE. Viewers in the US can live stream the match HERE, while Australia viewers can do the same HERE. To watch the match live online in the Middle East and North Africa click HERE.
Liverpool gave City their toughest home fixture in the Premier League yet, and Manuel Pellegrini's men were a little lucky to come away unscathed from that encounter, with the three points keeping their record at the Etihad perfect, and just one point behind leaders Arsenal.
City have been irresistible at home more often than not this season, and if their attacking stars turn on the style, then Palace could be in for a thumping. However, Pellegrini warned his side against complacency, insisting Palace will give City a tough fight.
"It's a different challenge -- maybe everyone thinks it will be an easy game but I think that all of the teams fighting against relegation are very tough to play against," Pellegrini said. "We must try to recover as soon as we can from the Liverpool game and try to get into our best shape. We'll see what happens but I don't think it will be an easy game.
"Not only because they have changed manager, every team in the league is tough to play against. It is an important challenge but Crystal Palace also played 48 hours before, exactly the same as us. So I think both teams will be a little bit tired but the second day is the worst day for the players."
Palace have been much more solid ever since appointing the experienced Tony Pulis, and will be buoyant after their 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, a result which took them out of the relegation zone and into 17th place.
Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh returns from suspension against Manchester City. Reuters
"It was a significant result in respect of the Newcastle result last weekend," Pulis said of the Villa win after Dwight Gayle scored a belter of a winner. "We got back to basics and made it very difficult for people to get in certain areas.
"We now move onto Saturday's game against Manchester City, an easy game for us! They are averaging four or five goals per match at home so we know that will be very difficult for us."
Team news: Manchester City: Sergio Aguero, Micah Richards and Martin Demichelis are ruled out, while Pellegrini admitted he would give Pablo Zabaleta a rest after the Argentine overcame a hamstring problem ahead of time to take the field against Liverpool.
"I think they need 72 hours to recover and in this case they are not going to get it, so we will see what kind of game we are going to play but it will not be like this [Liverpool] again," Pellegrini said. We will see how difficult it is for Martin but I don't think he will be out for long. It's a hamstring injury, but Nastasic is now ready.
"At this moment we have 20 players and the 20 players must be ready to play on Saturday. We will see which of them will start. I think that Pablo is difficult, too high risk to repeat again. The Liverpool game was a risk for him and I think repeating again in 48 hours is not possible."
Matija Nastasic is definitely back while Stevan Jovetic could also make a return from a long-term problem, giving Pellegrini another much-needed option up front with Aguero missing.
Crystal Palace: Stuart O'Keefe and Kagisho Dikgacoi face late fitness tests, but Marouane Chamakh could return to the starting lineup after missing the Villa victory due to suspension.
Jack Hunt (ankle), Jerome Thomas (groin), Adlene Guedioura (rib), Paddy McCarthy (groin) and Glenn Murray (knee) remain sidelined.
Key men: Manchester City: Both David Silva and Samir Nasri were instrumental against Liverpool, and the two playmakers will look to control the game yet again on Saturday.
Crystal Palace: Pulis' back-four will have to play out of their skins, and then some, to stop Manchester City, who have already banged in 37 goals at the Etihad, from scoring.
Expected lineups: Manchester City: Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov; Garcia, Fernandinho; Milner, Silva, Nasri; Dzeko.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Ward; Puncheon, Jedinak, Bannan, Bolasie; Chamakh; Jerome.
Prediction: 4-0 to Manchester City
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