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Manchester city look to claim final scalp of 2017

Ian Mbanda

Manchester city stands high chances to end 2017 on a positive note if they emerge victorious in their encounter with 17th placed Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve. City, who currently hold a 13 point lead over second placed Chelsea have a chance to increase their lead at the top to 16 points with a win over the Eagles.

Going into the fixture, City have won 18 consecutive league games and have not dropped a single point since drawing at home with Everton on August 26th. Away from home, they have been a formidable force, winning all of their fixtures, including victories over rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.

If city win on Sunday, they will equal the record for the most consecutive wins in Europe’s top five leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France) which currently stands at 19, set by Bayern Munich in the 2013-14 season under the leadership of current Manchester city manager Pep Guardiola.
Despite his side’s good form, naturally, Guardiola expects city to slip up at one point. “It is inevitable that sooner or later we will lose a game, but the important thing is how the players will bounce back from the defeat” he said. Guardiola further added that, “When we eventually lose, it is important that the players pick themselves up as quickly as possible and go on to win the next game.” There is no better way for City manager to be more realistic and honest than the statement above.

On the other hand, Crystal Palace go into the game on the back of a 3-2 home defeat by Arsenal on Thursday. Prior to that game, they were unbeaten in 7 consecutive games and have now lost only twice since former England boss Roy Hodgson replaced Dutchman Frank de Boer as Palace manager back in September.
In their previous meeting earlier this season, City thrashed Palace 5-0 in a match that saw the ‘Citizens’ lose the £52 million French defender Benjamin Mendy to injury for the rest of the season. His replacement, Fabian Delph has thrived in the left back position so far and his solid performances have been one of the reasons as to why City’s defence has been hard to breach this campaign.

If City are to come away from London with all three points, they will be hoping that winger Raheem Sterling will be in goal scoring form once again. Sterling, who has been in outstanding form this season, is city’s leading scorer, and bagged his 15th goal of the campaign against Newcastle United in midweek. City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, provided the assist for Sterling’s winner against Newcastle taking him to the top of the assist charts with 9 so far. The partnership of these two has been another reason for city’s dominance this season.
It is with no doubt that City head into the game at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace as strong favourites, but basing on Palace’s recent form, they are a side not to be underestimated and may provide a very stern test for Pep Guardiola’s troops having already beaten Chelsea at the same venue earlier in the season.

About Author Ian Mbanda is an 18 year old high school graduate and keen football enthusiast.

The Express News

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