Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who could be decisive in Matchweek 27.
Patrick Vieira’s side are on a nine-match winless run in 2023, but despite their struggles Lokonga has produced some tidy performances.
When Doucoure was suspended earlier in the campaign, Palace’s weakened midfield was badly exposed in a 3-0 defeat at Everton.
With that in mind, Vieira may consider changing the shape of his team to accommodate two others to play alongside Lokonga in a reinforced three-man midfield.
Careful in possession
When Palace recover possession from Man City, they must look after the ball carefully.
This will help them relieve pressure on their defence and give them an attacking threat of their own.
Lokonga will be a key man in this regard because he is the most technical, press-resistant player in their starting line-up.
Lokonga withstands Liverpool pressure
In the 1-0 loss at Aston Villa last time out, Lokonga recorded an impressive 94.7 per cent pass accuracy.
And in the goalless draw at home to Liverpool before that, Lokonga’s 82.5 per cent pass success rate was comfortably the best by a Palace midfielder.
Palace's best passers 22/23
|Albert Sambi Lokonga||87.5%|
Vieira will require the 23-year-old to bring calmness to the team whenever they have possession.
He will also be looking for Lokonga to pick the right passes to his forwards, who have troubled Man City on the counter-attack in previous meetings.
Breaking up City’s attacks
Although Vieira is trying to implement a more controlled, possession-based style of play, Palace are unlikely to have much of the ball against Man City.
In last season’s 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture, the Eagles had just 26.2 per cent of possession.
While Lokonga was primarily signed to add quality on the ball, he is averaging 8.5 ball recoveries and 2.5 successful tackles per 90 minutes, which leads the way in Palace’s rankings.
Lokonga's recoveries & interceptions v Liverpool
In their last home match, Lokonga’s ability to recover possession really stood out as he made a match-high 12 regains, as well as one interception and a successful tackle.
There will be plenty of defensive responsibility on Lokonga's shoulders this Saturday and his display will be key to Palace's chances of upsetting Man City.