Manchester City sit top of the Premier League by virtue of the strangest of tiebreakers, that being alphabetical order. With nothing else to split them and their crosstown rivals United it is already becoming a race for goals at the top of the table.
Today they will look to add a few more into their account as they go up against a Crystal Palace side who are yet to even score let alone earn a point. It is five straight defeats and two different managers already for the South London outfit.
The trip to Manchester for Roy Hodgson could arguably have not come at a worse time, this City side made ridiculously easy work of a Watford side who prior to their trip to Vicarage Road were unbeaten. Marco Silva tasted defeat for the first time and he was served a very large portion as Pep Guardiola’s men strolled to a 6-0 win.
Earlier that day there was to be no dream start for new Palace boss Hodgson as he saw his new charges lose at home to Southampton. Steven Davis’ early goal was the difference and it meant there was another grey cloud circling around Selhurst Park last weekend.
In fairness Christian Benteke could and probably should have scored at least once last Saturday. Fraser Forster in the Southampton net denied him not once but twice from close range, it is was simply a case of when it’s not your day it’s just not your day.
The problem is that Palace have not had a day all season and with Chelsea and Manchester United also around the corner you do have to wonder just when exactly the smallest chink of light at this very long tunnel will start to appear.
Not only that but what if in the worst case but still of course very possible scenario, Palace go on to lose their first eight matches of the season. Does that mean we rip up the script and start again. If Frank De Boer loses four games and gets the boot then why would Roy Hodgson stay any longer. Then again when did Football ever make sense.
As for City they will come into this game in scintillating form, 11 goals in their last two Premier League matches will make just about anyone sit up and take notice. Add that to the fact that they brushed aside Feyenoord in the Champions League with a four goal haul.
Plus they come into this tie with Palace off the back of a win in the Carabao Cup over West Bromwich Albion. They may be into the 4th Round of the competition but after Pep Guardiola‘s comments you get the feeling that he would not be all that fussed if his team weren’t.
He went on record by saying yesterday that the competition ‘was a waste of energy’ – a feeling that seems to be all to prevalent at the moment with Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho making similar comments earlier on in the week.
But today it is truly the Premier League which matters and City will look to continue their ruthless goalscoring form as of late. They are averaging 3.2 goals per game and if they keep that ratio up today then it could be a very long afternoon for Crystal Palace.
Then again City may only have to score the once to secure the points what with Palace’s aversion to scoring goals, but if they do go ahead then you get the feeling that they are not going to stop at just a solitary goal at The Etihad this afternoon.
Stranger things have happened in Football but I think you would have to be pretty ballsy to suggest anything other than a Manchester City win later today. If that is the case then it is not going to be the Joy of Six for Crystal Palace. A home win for me.
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— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 22, 2017