CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Sunday evening's showdown between Man City and Crystal Palace.
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace | Sunday 17th January 2020, 19:15 | Sky Sports
Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team go into this one looking to claim their eighth win on the spin as they welcome a Crystal Palace side who’ve won just two of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
City’s form has coincided with summer signing Ruben Dias and John Stones establishing themselves as the first-choice partnership at centre back. Stones exceptional performances since his return from the cold has seen City fans dub him ‘the Barnsley Beckenbauer’. He’s propelled himself in front of Aymeric Laporte when it comes to the pecking order and he is thriving alongside the rock that is Ruben Dias.
The Citizens have a game in-hand on the three teams above them and know another win here will put them in a strong position in terms of the title race so will be chomping at the bit to claim another dominating performance.
The Eagles recent form against today’s opponents is enough to give them confidence of causing an upset. However, they’ve won just three of their nine away games in the league this season, an opening day victory at Old Trafford and also victories against newly-promoted sides Fulham and West Brom.
They’re undefeated in their last two trips to the Etihad, but the London side will have to be at their very best if they’re to trouble this suddenly solid City defence.
- Commit on average 9.8 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
- Receive on average 8.4 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 3/6 home games against sides currently in the bottom half.
- In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 3/6 occasions.
- Have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 7 home matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- Have scored at least 2 goals in their last 7 home matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- Have been winning at both half time and full time in six of their last eight EPL matches.
- Have won their last four EPL matches.
- Are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- Manchester City have played without a natural striker in their recent matches, but Gabriel Jesus is available if required.
- Raheem Sterling should replace Riyad Mahrez in the starting XI, with Phil Foden now deserving of a run in the side. Ferran Torres may have to settle for another spot on the bench.
- Ruben Dias and John Stones look set to continue at centre-back.
- Fernandinho could come into the side to replace Rodri.
- Commit on average 11.3 fouls per game when playing away this season.
- Receive on average 11.8 fouls per game when playing away this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 2/4 away games against sides in the top half.
- In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 3/4 occasions.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Crystal Palace's last 3 EPL games.
- Gary Cahill and Scott Dann were both fit enough for the bench at Arsenal on Thursday night, though Roy Hodgson may be reluctant to tinker with the XI that started at the Emirates in midweek.
Referee: Lee Mason
- Averaging just 2.00 cards per game this season after awarding 14 yellows in seven EPL appearances.
- He’s also on average, awarding just 19.43 free-kicks per game.
- In his last 20 appearances, the away side has seen at least a card in 18 of them – (90%).
My first pick is for Pep Guardiola’s side to commit under 10 fouls in the game. In games that City have played against bottom-half opposition at the Etihad this season, this bet has landed in four of them. The two in which it didn’t were against Arsenal and Burnley at the back end of last year.
However, since December, the defensive partnership of Dias and Stones has seen City hold the best defensive record in the league and since then, the four home games against lower half teams has seen this bet land in every single one.
With referee Lee Mason awarding an average of just 19.43 free-kicks per game, I don’t see The Citizens committing more than 9 fouls here.
My second pick is for Manchester City to win to nil. As previously mentioned, Guardiola’s side have played six of the teams who currently sit in the bottom half of the table at home so far this season. They’ve won five of those six (drawing the other) and kept a clean sheet in each of those victories.
City have the best defensive record in the league and will be looking to claim another victory, knowing a win today, and in their game in hand on Wednesday, will put them within touching distance of top spot.
The Eagles meanwhile have scored just one goal in their lost four away games in all competitions. They’ve struggled to find the net and they’re coming up against the best defence in the division. They’re unlikely to see much of the ball and chances will be scarce.
I fancy City to claim another victory with Roy Hodgson’s men failing to get on the scoresheet.