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Crystal Palace-Manchester City Preview

Manchester City seem to have rebounded nicely from their first Premier League loss of the season.

Following a dramatic victory to remain in League Cup play, City will shift their focus back to the Premier League, where they'll entertain Crystal Palace at the Etihad on Saturday.

Man City (14-2-1) find themselves chasing Premier League leaders Liverpool by one point in the table, courtesy of a 2-0 loss at Chelsea on Dec. 8. However, the Citizens were not down for long.

Four days later, they beat 1899 Hoffenheim to move on to the knockout round of the Champions League and bounced back from the Chelsea loss with a 3-1 top-flight home victory over Everton last weekend. On Tuesday, City needed a shoot-out to triumph over Leicester City in the League Cup.

"The players responded (to the defeat at Chelsea) in a marvelous way," manager Pep Guardiola told Manchester City's official website.

It helps having star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne back from missing 1 1/2 months with a knee injury. De Bruyne featured off the bench against Everton and was in the starting XI and scored the first goal of the match at Leicester.

"It always helps to have players come back," a modest De Bruyne said. "We've got a squad of 21 or 22 players and it doesn't matter who plays. ... You know you are going to get injuries, but you hope to keep them as few as possible. If you want to try to win the lot, you need as many of your players fit to do that."

It likely won't matter who Guardiola trots on to the pitch Saturday as the Citizens will have more talent than what Palace can offer. However, the Eagles (4-3-10) visit the blue side of Manchester following a strong 1-0 victory over Leicester from last weekend.

After conceding three goals apiece in back-to-back league losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United, Crystal Palace recorded their third clean sheet over a five-match stretch. Luka Milivojevic scored in the 39th minute and the defence buckled down to help give Palace just their second victory over the last 12 matches.

It also marked the first time in a stretch of 13 matches that Palace won without star Wilfried Zaha, who was suspended for a yellow-card accumulation.

"It's a result that we have to be more than satisfied with," manager Roy Hodgson told Crystal Palace's official website. "Results that you get when your back is against the wall, and the thought of not getting the result pushes you into an area that you don't want to be in."

Perhaps more impressive is that the Eagles prevailed behind backup and former Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita, who replaced the injured Wayne Hennessey. Even if Hennessey is fit for Saturday, it's uncertain who will get the start in net for the Eagles.

Man City have owned Palace in recent seasons over all competitions, going 13-1-1 in the last 15 matches of the series. The Citizens are 6-2-0 against the Eagles at the Etihad in the Premier League era.

Updated December 20, 2018

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