If, after Manchester City's two previous games that ended in 3-3 draws, you wanted a nice, easy fixture for the Premier League champions to bounce back from, well, Crystal Palace is the exact opposite of that.
City look to extend their unbeaten start to the season as they host Patrick Vieira's Palace on Saturday 27th August at 15:00 BST at the Etihad Stadium. The game will not be televised live in the United Kingdom.
Team News / Predicted XI
Many people couldn't understand the logic of having a mid-season friendly, especially with the World Cup interrupting the season in a few months, and many questions were raised about the charity match against Guardiola's former team, FC Barcelona on Wednesday night.
One of those reasons was because of any potential injuries, and, unfortunately, Kalvin Phillips, who has seen little action so far this season, picked up an injury in his right arm/shoulder, which was serious enough to bring an end to the Englishman's night at the Camp Nou.
However, Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News reported on Thursday afternoon that the club were encouraged that the injury was not as bad as it first appeared, with more detailed assessments to follow ahead of the Palace fixture.
It remains to be seen if Phillips will be available for the matchday squad.
Jack Grealish and Nathan Ake, despite the latter leaving the field earlier than expected last time out, both made the trip to Spain with the rest of the team, although neither of them even made the bench. Aymeric Laporte is also still in the recovery phase of his injury comeback.
Pep Guardiola said he was unable to provide any team news in his pre-match press conference as it preceded the day's training session.
Despite City having conceded three goals on three occasions this season already, it's hard to imagine Guardiola changing the back four, given the lack of options, and with Riyad Mahrez playing the full 100 minutes on Wednesday night, it begs the question of who will start at right-wing?
As always with Pep roulette, trying to predict his starting XI is next to impossible, but our thoughts are that the Catalan will only name one change to the first team, with that being John Stones making his second start of the season.
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan; B. Silva, Haaland, Foden
Bernardo Silva was Man of the Match against Newcastle with his decisive goal and his early assist, so it's hard to see him dropping back to the bench, but with Gundogan scoring in back-to-back games and De Bruyne, well, being De Bruyne, you can't imagine he will get in the midfield either, leaving him to carry on bringing back his 2018 style on the wing.
And if there was any doubt left within the City fanbase, Guardiola confirmed Friday afternoon that "Bernardo Silva will stay" and there were "no calls and no bids" for the Portuguese international.
Palace have had a very mixed start to the season, with an opening day defeat to former City assistant Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, where players such as Eberechi Eze missed some big chances. They then found their feet as they picked up a deserved point on the road at Anfield, with Wilfried Zaha scoring their first goal of the season.
Vieira's side picked up their first win of the season at Selhurst Park against Aston Villa, with Zaha netting another two goals and substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta also getting in on the act.
With Kyle Walker having a tough game last time out in the league against Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin, partly due to the system deployed by his manager, it will be interesting to see if the English fullback who was handed the armband in the midweek friendly, will be tasked with operating in midfield once again, or if he will be told to prioritise Palace's tricky attackers.
However, one player Walker will not have to worry about is the in-form Zaha after it emerged via Team News and Ticks that the 29-year-old is injured and will miss Saturday's fixture. The news has since been confirmed by Matt Woosnam of The Athletic.
Palace, alongside Southampton and Liverpool, were one of only three teams that City failed to register a win against last season, with the Eagles dispatching the defending champions 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in October and the return fixture in March resulting in a goalless draw. When this was brought up to Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, his only comment was "We [Man City] won the Premier League".
In the Blues' last 54 Premier League games that kicked off at 15:00 on a Saturday, they have won an impressive 46 of them while drawing six and only losing two of them, with both of those losses being handed to them by Saturday's opponents.
Despite all the negativity and worry around this fixture, in an attempt to inject some hope into the fans, in the last 24 meetings in all competitions between these two sides, dating all the way back to 2002, City have only lost on three occasions, with the same amount of draws and 18 victories.
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Harry Lennard & Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official: Darren Bond
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Steve Meredith
Written by: @DanGP17_
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