Crystal Palace will host the Premier League Champions at Selhurst Park this evening, and Patrick Vieira will be hoping that his team can take all three points for the second time this season with the advantage of being at home.
The Eagles have won twice and drawn once in their last three games, and have registered more wins at home than away this season, so the side are in prime form to snatch another win in their pursuit for a top-half finish, and can leapfrog Southampton into tenth with a victory.
Vieira’s team selection will need to be able to cope with the pressure that Manchester City have imposed on all of their opponents, and making sure he picks players who can offer flawless defensive qualities against Pep Guardiola’s fierce attack should be a priority.
One player who should make the starting XI tonight at Selhurst Park is Will Hughes, to replace Cheikhou Kouyate in the midfield alongside Jeffrey Schlupp.
The £5.4m-rated gem was dubbed “technical” by HLTCO podcaster Dan Cook, who sung the praises of the player and highlighted his impact and effectiveness following his first start for Palace in December against Everton:
“Being able to retain possession and have a ball-playing, good, technical footballer in Will Hughes.
“I think if you look at Will Hughes’ close control, you look at his ability to advance the play, his reading of situations, it was quite clear from the off yesterday that we really did benefit from having his technical nous in the middle of the park.”
Praise hasn’t stopped there for the former Watford man, however, with Vieira labelling him “unbelievable” earlier this term.
According to SofaScore, Hughes has a pass accuracy of 86% this season, is successful in the majority of his ground and aerial duels (52%) and makes 1.9 tackles on average per game, proving that he can offer the key defensive attributes that Crystal Palace will need against a strong Manchester City side.
The Eagles boss has a number of options from his in form squad to select from and will surely look at the team that comfortably defeated Pep’s side at the Etihad Stadium last October to inject a similar winning formula into the clash tonight.
Taking all three points would be some achievement and put Vieira’s side in the top half of the table.