We look ahead to Saturday’s Premier League fixture at the Etihad Stadium with our Manchester City vs Crystal Palace prediction and preview. Will the champions sign off with a win before leaving for the FIFA Club World Cup?

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Manchester City are given a 73.2% chance of beating Crystal Palace by the supercomputer, the highest win probability assigned to any Premier League team on Matchday 17.
  • Man City have drawn their last two home Premier League games. They last failed to win more successive home league matches between October and December 2016 (a run of four).
  • Since Pep Guardiola became City boss in 2016, only Manchester United (three) have won more away league games against them than Palace (two).

Match Preview

Manchester City have a title race on their hands. After four Premier League games without a victory, Pep Guardiola’s men did what champions do last Sunday, fighting back for a 2-1 win over Luton Town to remain within touching distance of Liverpool, Arsenal and Aston Villa. However, with City likely to lose ground next week when they head to Saudi Arabia for the FIFA Club World Cup, three points is a must here, as they face Crystal Palace in their final league game before Christmas.

City looked like being on the wrong end of a monumental upset when Elijah Adebayo nodded Luton in front at Kenilworth Road, but second-half strikes from Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish got them back to winning ways.

Guardiola will certainly want City to shake their habit of slow starts, having watched his team concede first in three successive league games for the first time since November 2019, during the last season which saw them fail to win the title.

The City boss was able to rest key players including Kyle Walker, Rúben Dias and Rodri for Wednesday’s 3-2 UEFA Champions League victory over Crvena Zvezda, with youngsters Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb joining Kalvin Phillips on the scoresheet as the holders finished with six wins from as many games in Group G.

City have been without leading goalscorer Erling Haaland for their last two games, and though he was due to return to training this week after sustaining a foot injury, Guardiola may opt against risking him here. With Jérémy Doku also doubtful, Julián Álvarez could again spearhead a fluid frontline, with the likes of Silva, Grealish and Phil Foden playing off the Argentine. 

Silva has created 27 chances in the Premier League this season, with nine of those defined by Opta as big chances (33%). Of all players with at least 20 chances created this term, only Mohamed Salah has a higher share of big chances (36%, 13/36). Going into Matchday 17, Silva also led all Premier League players for open-play expected assists (xA) per 90 minutes in 2023-24 (0.32).

Bernardo Silva xA graphic

Palace have sometimes been awkward opponents for City in recent years, with only Manchester United (three) winning more Premier League away games against the Citizens than Palace (two) since Guardiola’s 2016 appointment. However, the Eagles approach Saturday’s contest winless in five Premier League matches, losing four of those to leave Roy Hodgson under pressure.

Palace threatened an upset last Saturday when Jean-Philippe Mateta’s penalty – controversially awarded for Jarell Quansah’s challenge on the striker – put them 1-0 up against Liverpool. However, two contentious second-half bookings for Jordan Ayew saw the striker sent off before goals from Salah and Harvey Elliott broke Palace hearts in a 2-1 win for the Reds, causing Hodgson to say he was “disillusioned” with the sport in a remarkable post-match interview.

A positive result at the Etihad would surely help restore his love for the game. Having overseen Palace’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford in September, Hodgson could become the first English manager to record away wins over both Manchester clubs in the same Premier League season since Steve McLaren with Middlesbrough in 2003-04, with Leicester City the last team to achieve the feat in 2020-21.

However, he has plenty of selection issues to contend with ahead of the game, with creative fulcrum Eberechi Eze headlining a lengthy injury list which also includes Cheick Doucouré, Dean Henderson, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Rob Holding. Ayew is suspended, while Palace will assess Sam Johnstone and Jefferson Lerma after they were withdrawn against Liverpool.

Odsonne Édouard also sustained a knock to his knee last time out, and Palace will be desperate to recover the striker quickly given he has scored 40% of their Premier League goals this season (six of 15) – the highest share of any player for their team in 2023-24.

Palace will need an organised defensive performance against the champions, and only Arsenal (42) and City themselves (49) have faced fewer shots on target than Palace (57) in the Premier League this term. However, the Eagles have still conceded 23 goals, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (41%) conceding from a higher share of their shots on target faced than Palace (40%).

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Head-to-Head

City have lost just two of their last 16 Premier League games against Palace (11 wins, three draws), though both of those defeats – in December 2018 and October 2021 – came at the Etihad Stadium.

Palace threatened another shock victory in this exact fixture last August, going 2-0 up before half-time as Joachim Andersen netted after John Stones’ own goal, only for City to roar back for a 4-2 win, helped by a Haaland hat-trick.

man city 4-2 crystal palace xG race

The Eagles have not made strong starts like that one a habit this season, scoring a league-low three Premier League goals in first halves of their matches. City have scored six times as many, a competition-high 18.

Twelve of City’s last 13 league goals against Palace have come after half-time, including the last 10 in a row. A late Haaland penalty was enough for a 1-0 win when the sides last met at Selhurst Park in March.

Recent Form

City are unbeaten in their last 18 Premier League home games, winning 15 and drawing three. However, their last two matches at the Etihad have both finished level, against Liverpool (1-1) and Tottenham (3-3).

City have not failed to win three successive home league games since enduring a run of four without a victory between October and December 2016, with the first three of those being drawn.

Palace, meanwhile, have won 68.8% of their Premier League points on the road this season (11 of 16), the highest ratio in the competition. Three of their four wins – against Sheffield United, Man Utd and Burnley – have come on their travels, and they have posted more victories in the north west of England (two) than in London (one).

Palace have only won one of their last nine matches overall (two draws, six losses), with only Burnley (four) earning fewer than their five Premier League points since that run began on Matchday 8.

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Opta Player Ratings

The Opta Player Ratings are something we introduced ahead of 2023-24. For a quick primer on how they’re calculated, you can check our explainer here.

Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:

Man City

Rodri: 87.1 (out of 100)
Bernardo Silva: 80.5
Erling Haaland: 79.8
Phil Foden: 76.3
Jérémy Doku: 76.2

Crystal Palace

Joachim Andersen: 73.5 (out of 100)
Marc Guéhi: 73.3
Tyrick Mitchell: 71.5
Odsonne Édouard: 66.9
Eberechi Eze: 65.4

These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of Saturday’s kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides:

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Prediction

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Prediction

The Opta supercomputer is siding firmly with Manchester City as they look to sign off for the Club World Cup with three points versus Crystal Palace.

Of 10,000 match simulations conducted before kick-off, City won 73.2%, giving them the highest win probability of any Premier League team this weekend. Palace are given just an 8.6% chance of a famous triumph, with 18.2% of simulations finishing level.

In our season predictions, City are still favourites to retain their title, but their chances of topping the tree have dropped to 48.4%, having stood at 90.2% before the campaign began. Liverpool dethrone them in 32.4% of our simulations, with Arsenal doing so in 14.8% and Villa in 4.2%.

Meanwhile, Palace’s dismal run has seen their chances of being relegated increase to 8.6%, with 16th (21.5%) now their most common position across our projections.

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