Roy Hodgson will look to secure his first Premier League victory at the second attempt when his Crystal Palace side take the trip to the Etihad Stadium to face top of the table Manchester City on Saturday.
It wasn’t a happy return to management for the former England boss last week at Selhurst Park, where Southampton ran out comfortable winners, and he’ll be desperate to avoid defeat again at City.
On the other hand Pep Guardiola won’t want his side’s recent form to end, with the Blues on a current run that has seen them score 20 goals in their past five games, conceding just twice in the process.
See below for The Boot Room’s full preview of a daunting first away day for Roy Hodgson.
There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the two side’s fortunes after five matches of the new season, with Manchester City and Crystal Palace acting as bookends of the Premier League table.
Guardiola’s side have gone from strength to strength since being held by Everton, seeing off Bournemouth before thrashing both Liverpool and Watford, scoring eleven goals without reply.
Down at the other end of the table Palace are still without a win – and without a goal – from their five games, and even Roy Hodgson’s arrival couldn’t spur his side to a point last week against Southampton.
But a victory over Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup during the week could prove to be the tonic needed to kick-start their season – even if the tough tests of City, Manchester United and Chelsea lie in wait.
The likes of Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and David Silva are all expected to return for the hosts after being rested during the week.
Leroy Sane could be considered for a starting role after his two-goal exploits in the 2-1 win over West Brom, but both Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan are unlikely to feature with respective knocks.
The German – who made his first Manchester City start in ten months after his long-term cruciate ligament problem – was forced off on Wednesday but it’s thought his knee is only a minor concern.
For the visitors, deadline day arrival Mamadou Sakho is likely to make his first Premier League start under Hodgson whilst Bakary Sako could start after his match-winning display against Huddersfield.
It’s still likely to be a game too early for Wilfried Zaha to return to the side, although loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be passed fit in time to feature after being one of Palace’s few bright sparks this year.
Match Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace
When these two sides met at the Etihad in May last season Manchester City filled their boots in a 5-0 demolition, and after Crystal Palace’s start to the season it’s hard to bet against a similar result.
Recording a victory over Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup in the week would have lifted spirits slightly ahead of Saturday’s clash, as would the return of Mamadou Sakho, but City are simply rampant.
Their attacking options will no doubt prove to be too much for a struggling Palace side, who have found it hard to find the back of the net themselves, and expect nothing more than a routine win for Guardiola’s men.