The first of two matches on Super Sunday this afternoon takes us to Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace are the latest team to try and end the phenomenal Premier League winning streak of runaway leaders Manchester City, not only that though they will want to exact revenge for the 5-0 defeat they suffered at the Etihad in September.
When Roy Hodgson took over in September the plan was to make sure that the club were not cast adrift at the foot table, well in that sense they have surpassed his expectations and with the transfer window set to open tomorrow they now have a perfect opportunity to strengthen the squad and improve further.
Crystal Palace’s eight match unbeaten run come to an end on Thursday after they were edged out at home by Arsenal. Roy Hodgson’s men suffered a 3-2 defeat and although they finished the game strongly they left themselves to much to do in a bid to earn a share of the points.
That defeat coupled with the fact that the bulk of the teams played yesterday has made their league position slightly more precarious with the Eagles currently lying 17th and should they suffer the nightmare scenario of another heavy defeat at the hands of City they would then drop into the relegation zone.
Manchester City’s previous opponents Newcastle were accused of not having a go in a bid to make sure there goal difference does not take a hammering but you get the feeling that Roy Hodgson will set up his team to at least make the game something resembling more of a fair fight.
Thursday night saw them undone by the talents of Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean international scored a brace to put Arsenal clear ahead, but this lunchtime they are going to have to be prepared to deal with attacks on multiple fronts as Manchester City look to go 16 points clear at the top.
That is because Manchester United now longer find themselves second in the table with the Mancunian duo now split by Chelsea for the first time this season, should City achieve this is would mean a nineteenth straight win in the league this season.
Number 18 came on Tyneside as Pep Guardiola won the battle of the Spanish managers on Thursday night but for Rafa Benitez it was almost as if he took a knife to gun fight, Newcastle’s negative tactics may have only stifled City to a 1-0 win thanks to Raheem Sterling’s goal and the setup drew ire from many including Jamie Carragher.
There are perhaps two schools of thought here, the first being that a manager has every right to be pragmatic but the second being that a team especially at home should not be setup in such a negative way, with that mentality from the opposition it comes as no surprise that City have won so many games.
A slender win in terms of scoreline but again the league leaders need not even have to get into top gear, the only blot on the copybook was the fact that Vincent Kompany hobbled off once again to only add to his ongoing injury frustration.
That could mean that Pep Guardiola dips into the transfer market in a bid to bolster his defence, with Jonny Evans’ name once again popping as a potential addition and Pep Guardiola will have to decide whether the capture of Alexis Sanchez is one that can be sealed in January.
The risk is that the singing of Sanchez could upset the apple cart and knock out the balance of what has simply been an imperious season so far and with the title all but wrapped up before the turn of 2018 the task will now be whether they can go the whole campaign unbeaten
Palace are a different team to the one that was heavily beaten by Manchester City earlier in the season and although this game should be a lot closer than their first meeting I still cannot see anything other than win number 19 for the footballing juggernaut, an away win for me.