Vincent Kompany could return to face Crystal Palace

Vincent Kompany could return to the Manchester City starting line-up at Crystal Palace this weekend.

City’s injury-plagued captain is back in contention after overcoming a knee injury sustained against the same opposition at Selhurst Park in November.

The 30-year-old was an unused substitute for last week’s Premier League draw against Tottenham and could now feature as City return to Palace in the FA Cup fourth round.

Manager Pep Guardiola said: “We will see tomorrow but he is fit, he is ready. The last game he was on the bench. That means he is fit. If not, he would not have been there.”

Kompany has not played a full game since April and his most recent injury was his 35th since joining City in 2008.

His return could coincide with a first start for Gabriel Jesus, the £27million Brazil striker who made his debut as a late substitute against Spurs.

Guardiola, speaking at a press conference to preview the game, said: “He is fit, he is not injured. He is already three weeks with us so he is in shape. We are going to see tomorrow.”

Guardiola offered greater certainty on who would play in goal with Willy Caballero set to take the place of Claudio Bravo, as he did in the third-round win at West Ham.

“Yes, tomorrow Willy is going to play,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola expects a difficult afternoon at Palace despite the London side’s poor recent form. The Eagles have won just once in their last 10 games in all competitions but Guardiola points out City found them tough to break down in their last encounter.

He said: “It was a real tough game. It was one of the worst games we played this season but we won and when that happens everything is perfect.

“But we didn’t play good and I imagine a tough game in the FA Cup. Every game is complicated in that sense.

“It will be tough because of the stadium, the situation of Crystal Palace and because it is away. Of course we want to go through in that competition and it is a final for us.”

Guardiola said he has now moved on from last week’s controversial and frustrating 2-2 draw against Spurs.

The City boss initially suggested he would seek out referees’ chief Mike Riley after his side were denied what seemed a blatant penalty just moments before Tottenham’s late equaliser.

Guardiola said: “I don’t talk any more about that. I spoke many times one month ago (about referees) but now I learn perfectly, so no comments about that. I don’t like to use my energy on that.”


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