While the back four remains the same, Ilkay Gundogan takes on the midfield anchor role in place of Rodrigo, while Sergio Aguero’s wide men today are Bernardo and Raheem Sterling, with Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus dropping to the bench.
Crystal Palace XI:
While there have undoubtedly been some tinkering and formation tweaks in recent weeks, today’s line-up suggests a straight 4-3-3.
Just keep winning…
Easier said than done, but City just need to keep picking up three points.
Victory over a Palace side who have proved troublesome for the champions in recent years, would put City on 50 points and cut Liverpool’s lead back to 11 – for at least 24 hours.
With every passing week that gap doesn’t reduce, the closer Liverpool will edge towards the finish line.
But City have to keep going and believe anything can happen – which it can – so seeing off Roy Hodgson’s men this afternoon is essential.
City must keep Zaha quiet
We saw last season how devastating Wilfried Zaha can be when he is firing on all cylinders.
Keeping the Palace winger quiet will go a long way to ensuring City pick up all three points.
Of course, with players such as Andros Townsend – who scored the goal of his life at the Etihad last season – mean there are threats elsewhere, and expect Palace to arrive in confident mood, believing they can again cause something of an upset.
Stats and milestones
Sergio Aguero is one goal shy of 250 for City after his amazing exploits last weekend.
City have won nine out of the last 10 games in all competitions.
City have won seven of the past nine Premier League meetings between the two teams with an aggregate score of 22-2 in City's favour.
Kevin De Bruyne has had a hand in eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace for Manchester City, with two strikes and six assists.
Pep Guardiola will be the fifth Man City manager to take charge of a Premier League match on his birthday. None of the previous four have won - Brian Horton (1995), Joe Royle (2001), Mark Hughes (2009) and Roberto Mancini (2011 & 2012).
City could win four consecutive league games for the first time this season.
The champions are aiming for a fourth straight home league victory.
Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals since the start of last season in all competitions (21 goals, 23 assists).
Kevin De Bruyne's 15 assists in all competitions this season is five more than any other Premier League player.