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Man City start without a recognised centre-back vs Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace vs Man City

Saturday’s late Premier League clash sees Manchester City facing off with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

City head into the tie eight points adrift of current league leaders, Liverpool.

However, Liverpool do not play till Sunday vs Manchester United. So, Pep Guardiola’s side can, temporarily at least, close that gap to five points with a win over Palace.

But Palace should be a tough test for the Citizens and Guardiola knows the Eagles are more than capable of holding their own against City with Roy Hodgson’s men coming away with a 3-2 victory at the Etihad last campaign.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 12: Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Watford at Selhurst Park on December 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Rodri & Fernandinho at centre-back?

Heading into the clash with Palace, City released their starting line-up an hour before kick-off.

The starting eleven Guardiola chose to deploy was somewhat of a surprise.

Man City have had some centre-back problems this season with Aymeric Laporte reportedly out until next year.

John Stones has also been out of action in recent weeks for City. Stones would return on the bench for City vs Palace.

But despite having Stones in the squad, Guardiola looked to be deploying a rather strange centre-back pairing on Saturday.

Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho have been the main duo Pep has relied on recently at the center of defence.

But with Otamendi completely omitted from the matchday squad vs Palace, it looks as though the Sky Blues will be starting Fernandinho and Rodri at the back.

Kyle Walker was also left out of the 18 on Saturday with Man City confirming the full-back was left in Manchester to recover as he isn’t fully fit.

See also: Crystal Palace vs Manchester City betting tips: Premier League match preview & predictions

Crystal Palace vs Manchester City live streaming: Watch the Premier League online, preview, prediction and odds


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