After claiming their first victory of the season in midweek with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup, Crystal Palace will be looking to defy the odds and doing the same against Manchester City tomorrow.
The travelling side will be in a slightly better mood on their travels to The Etihad not just because of the win, but also because of the inclusions of Pape Soauré and Mamadou Sakho in the team.
On Sakho’s return Palace manager, Roy Hodgson said:
“I can understand why he’s made himself a bit of a favourite with the Selhurst fans, because his performance the other night was very assured, composed and he showed a lot of quality with and without the ball.”
He also revealed that Sakho will be starting at The Etihad. However, one player who’s still quite far away from starting is Wilfried Zaha, who Hodsgon gave an update on:
“He’s coming on very well, he’s working mostly with the sports science and medical people at the moment they haven’t pushed him out onto the pitch at this moment in time but all the feedback I’m getting is very positive and the initial thought is that he’ll be ready to join in training by the international break”
Somebody who seems to have taken Zaha’s place in the side for the moment though is the Eagles’ match winner from Tuesday night, Bakary Sako, who scored Crystal Palace’s first goal of the season.
The 29 year old may well have forced his way into the side where goals are very much needed at the moment, and with Palace not winning against Manchester City since April 2015 the confidence boost from the Huddersfield game could do him a world of good tomorrow.
This, along with the return of Mamadou Sakho could be a real lift for the South Londoners tomorrow as the Frenchman will be looking to kept that loss against Southampton last season, his only one in a Palace shirt to date, but with City in such good form going forward, scoring 13 in their last three Premier League games, it will be a difficult task.
Even though the task may be difficult, Hodgson was still optimistic going into the fixture, saying:
“This is why we’re in the Premier League we’re here because we actually want to test ourselves in these arenas and against this quality of opposition so we shouldn’t be worried or anxious about the challenges we’ve got ahead we really should embrace them.”
However, he did understand that the upcoming games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea haven’t got Palace down as favourites:
“We know on paper they have a better chance of winning the game than we do but the game isn’t played on paper it’s played on the field so we’ll give it a go.”
“If it turns out they have too much firepower even with us doing what we want to do, we, like the rest of the teams they’ve beaten will have to accept that, but at the moment we think we’re going there with a reasonably confident mood,”
If anything one team that Palace could take inspiration from for this game it’s Bournemouth, who took their meeting with City right down to the wire last month despite being in a similar situation to Palace at the time, but as we know, any team can beat any other team in the Premier League at any given time and that’s what everyone at Crystal Palace will be hoping is the case tomorrow.