Manuel Pellegrini has ruled playmaker David Silva out of Manchester City’s trip to second-place Crystal Palace this Saturday as the Premier League pacesetters eye a club record.
The Spaniard, who has been instrumental in City’s great start to the Premier League, will have to watch from the side as the top two at this early stage of the season collide at Selhurst Park, the visitors seeking a sixth successive clean sheet to set a record.
Silva has returned from the international break with a knock to the ankle, and the City manager is reluctant to risk him ahead of the Champions League game against Juventus this week.
“Silva is out as I think it would be a risk for him to take another knock on his ankle. I hope he will be OK for Juventus,” said Pellegrini.
City are not short of options in their attacking positions however, and Saturday should also see the debut of club record signing Kevin De Bruyne and Pellegrini has spoken highly of the versatility of the Belgian star.
“For De Bruyne’s position, it’s easier. I think he can play in all three positions, on the wings or as a 10 with no problems,” Pellegrini said.
Another of City’s summer signings awaiting his debut is Nicolás Otamendi, although the Chilean manager is more cautious about handing the Argentine international his first start this weekend.
“Otamendi is ready to play but he didn’t work too much with us as he was away. It’s not easy for a defender to play so soon.”
It is hardly surprising that Pellegrini, recently named manager of the month for August, is reluctant to alter his defence, given his side have not conceded a goal in their last five league games.
Alan Pardew’s side are sure to prove a great test for City however, and Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony says his side are under no illusions as to the challenge they face on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “Crystal Palace will be very difficult and we lost their towards the end of last season. But our team is in a very good moment and we feel we can go anywhere and win.”
Palace’s 2-1 home win over City in April ended a seven-game losing streak against them in all competitions, and now leaves the Eagles looking to secure successive league wins over City for the first time since the mid-1990s.
Image courtesy of Alex Morton/Action Images, with thanks.