While the outcome of the Premier League trophy may be in Liverpool’s hands, Manchester City are doing all they can to stay within touching distance of the Reds and pray for a slip-up.
Their quest continues at Selhurst Park on Sunday, where they take on a resurgent Crystal Palace side looking for a top-half Premier League finish.
Venue: Selhurst Park
Date: Sunday, April 27
Time: 4:10 p.m. BST/11:10 a.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports 1/beIN Sports 11
Eagles Soaring Under Pulis
Tony Pulis came into the Crystal Palace hot seat with the club in a state of turmoil: They were six points from safety and had to compete with the unwanted record of being relegated in every single Premier League season that they’d taken part in.
1 - Crystal Palace have survived in the Premier League for the first time at their fifth attempt. Finally.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 25, 2014
However, the former Stoke City boss has completely reversed the fortunes of the Eagles. Though this game would previously have been a walkover away victory, it’s wide open now.
As Opta Joe revealed, Palace have won their last five Premier League matches on the spin and come into Sunday’s clash in sensational form:
5 - Crystal Palace have won five consecutive games for only the second time in their top-flight history (December 1992). Soaring.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 19, 2014
You’d think that the Eagles must have had five relatively easy fixtures to put together such a run, but it was far from it.
They have taken apart the likes of Chelsea and Everton during their fruitful spell, keeping four clean sheets out of five.
It’s a potential banana skin for City, then, who simply must keep winning if they’re to get their hands on their second Premier League title in three seasons.
However, right-back Pablo Zabaleta believes that the title race is far from over and Liverpool may well slip up during their run in—reported by Jamie Jackson of The Guardian:
In football you never know what can happen. Liverpool are doing great, winning 11 games in a row in the league, the first time in one season in Premier League history, I believe. They have three games until the end, and we have four. If they drop any points, we have a chance if we win our games. It's going to be very tough, but if they drop points—that is why we talk among ourselves about winning all of our games.
Zabaleta and Co. must ensure that they find a way past Palace on Sunday, though, or it’ll spell the end of Manuel Pellegrini’s side’s title chances.
It’s already one of the most exciting Premier League title races in the league’s history, but you can guarantee that the drama hasn’t ended just yet.
For Palace, though, the glamour of lifting the Premier League trophy was never on their wish list. Just remaining in the top flight for another season was the goal of Pulis and the Eagles. Thanks to the 56-year-old manager, the club can now say: “mission completed.”
Key Stats and Prediction (statistics via WhoScored.com)
Despite Crystal Palace’s strong current form, their record against Manchester City won’t give them the utmost hope heading into Sunday’s match.
The Eagles have lost their last five matches against City in all competitions, with a 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in December the most recent of their losses.
Pellegrini’s City have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight league matches, including three in the midweek victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Four of Palace’s last five victories have been by a one-goal margin, the other a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Cardiff City.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have lost just two of their last 23 Premier League matches.
While Palace will put up a strong fight—such is Pulis’ nature—defeating City may just be a bit too far for the Londoners.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City