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Manchester City might have to do a Barcelona against Palace

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The Advertiser spoke with the Manchester City reporter for the Manchester Evening News, Stuart Brennan, ahead of Saturday's clash with Palace at the Etihad Stadium…

It seems City have a striker crisis. Will it be young Jose Angel Pozo leading the line on Saturday?

I doubt it. Pozo is extremely talented but still a bit raw and not quite physically developed enough for the Premier League, as we saw at Leicester City last weekend. Manuel Pellegrini will look at other possibilities, including playing David Silva or James Milner in an advanced role. They could even do a Barca and play without a striker!

How much pressure is there on the midfield now to score over the Christmas period?

There is always pressure on the City midfield to score. Yaya Toure scored 23 last season, and Silva and Samir Nasri also weigh in with a few goals every season. Then there is Frank Lampard as well, one of the great goalscoring midfielders of our time. If they have to get through Christmas without a striker – Stevan Jovetic's time out is unsure at the moment - they still have plenty of firepower.

Palace were very unlucky to lose at the Etihad last year. What are you expecting from them?

I can see it being the same again, a real fight for the three points, especially with City's current injury problems. The only difference is that last season the game came two days after a huge Boxing Day game against Liverpool, which forced Pellegrini into a few changes. This time City will field their strongest team - although it will be restricted by those injury problems. Don't know if Joe Hart will be man of the match again!

Which Palace player(s) have caught your attention this season?

I like the look of Yannick Bolasie, having seen mainly highlights. He's quick and skilful, the kind of player who gives defenders nightmare. Mile Jedinak gives you a bit of solidity in the heart of midfield - every team needs a player like him, and he brings that indomitable Aussie mentality to Palace, which is always a bonus.

And finally, a score prediction? Will City edge it again?

I think we will see a couple more goals this time, but still think City will find a way through. I'll go 2-1 to the Blues.

Manchester City might have to do a Barcelona against Palace


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