Wednesday 21 August 2019

Pep Guardiola wary of Crystal Palace threat

Manchester City’s latest task in their quest for the quadruple takes them to Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola (Adam Davy/PA)
Pep Guardiola (Adam Davy/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is determined to avoid any slip-ups at Crystal Palace this weekend.

After outings in the FA Cup and Champions League in the past week, quadruple-chasing City turn their attention back to their Premier League title challenge at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Some pundits have identified the match as a potential banana skin as they look for the key games where City’s tight battle with Liverpool for top spot will be won and lost.

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Andros Townsend, left, scored a stunning goal when Crystal Palace beat Manchester City in December (Martin Rickett/PA)

Palace beat City when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium in December but Guardiola insists City will be ready for the challenge.

When it was put to him it could be a dangerous game, the Spaniard said at a press conference: “That’s true, we knew it weeks ago.

“Selhurst Park is always difficult, not just for the stadium itself and the quality of the players they have.

“In all departments they are really well organised and they have quality players to do actions one against one, one against two, one against three.

“There are six games to finish the Premier League. We know what we are playing for and we are going to prepare well.”

City’s 3-2 loss to Palace before Christmas came in a run of three defeats in four games that temporarily handed the initiative to Liverpool.

City have since recovered to reclaim control of their own destiny, although they head into the weekend trailing the Reds by two points with a game in hand.

Palace have been inconsistent since but they are clear of the relegation battle and on course for a mid-table finish.

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City are hoping Bernardo Silva will be fit to face Crystal Palace (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola said: “They’ve done so well. I think they are 11 points out from the relegation zone.

“They’ve had incredible results. They are a team with a lot of quality players. Of the teams in those positions they are one of the ones with the better quality.

“Roy Hodgson is an experienced manager with a lot of qualities. He’s had a lot of different experiences in different countries. He knows how to handle these situations.

“We cannot forget last season. He took over in a position (from where) nobody trusted they would stay in the Premier League but he did it. This season he has continued what he has done.”

City will assess left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and midfielder Bernardo Silva ahead of the game. The pair have been out with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively.

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