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Manchester City vs Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium Referee : Andre Marriner
22nd December 2018 3:00 PM (GMT)
  • 2 Manchester City

    • ‘27' Ilkay Gündogan
    • ‘85' Kevin De Bruyne
  • 3 Crystal Palace

    • ‘33' Jeffrey Schlupp
    • ‘35' Andros Townsend
    • ‘51' Luka Milivojevic (Pen)


Commentary By Caroline Oatway


Signing off for Christmas

That's all from me.

A shame to end the home campaign for a terrific year on a defeat but as Pep asserts, no reason to panic just yet. Stay turned to for more post-match reaction.

Finally, I'd like to end by wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

See you again on Boxing Day as we travel to Leicester once again.

Seasons greetings, Blues!


Pep Guardiola:

"We started quite decent and created chances. We scored a fantastic goal and after they passed the halfway line they scored.

"The third goal... we cannot concede the penalty we conceded. We have to try and avoid it. Football is like this. Three shots on goal and three goals.

"The first two times Crystal Palace crossed our halfway line they scored. We played good. Their second goal was an incredible goal.

"There are a lot of games to play. We have to recover mentally and recover our physicality.

"It's complicated but we fight until the last second. We are in December and we will try and recover and try and win games again."


Roy Hodgson:

"You don't produce that sort of performance by waving a magic wand or having a five-minute team talk, there's a lot of work that goes into that structure and we were excellent.

"We are playing against a team with enormous skill levels and their focus, their ability to sustain attacks, is an example to us all."


Fabian Delph:

"Obviously the result is a setback. We have lost but we are only looking at ourselves game to game.

"We had a few chances which we have put away in the past, but fair play to Crystal Palace - they were stubborn and organised.

"It's hard to analyse and we will go back to the drawing board and look at it. We started slowly and the ball wasn't zipping about."


Full-time scores

Arsenal 3-1 Burnley (12:30pm)

Bournemouth 2-0 Brighton

Chelsea 0-1 Leicester

Huddersfield 1-3 Southampton

Newcastle 0-0 Fulham

West Ham 0-2 Watford



Credit to Palace - played what many would dub 'the perfect game', soaking up the pressure and hitting us on the counter, taking their chances when it mattered.

Too early to be deemed detrimental to our title chances - but of course, it hands a huge advantage to Liverpool. That game in January is now a must-win, surely.


That sums it up

De Bruyne with a floated ball to Sane. He's clear with a chance to cross or shoot, but misjudges the flight and falls over.




The fans are doing all they can, urging the team on at every opportunity.

Gundo almost pulls one back with a lovely strike. Just wide.



City having all of the ball at the moment and we're getting into the right areas... just need to get it in the box!

You get the feeling a goal now could potentially turn the game again - but it needs to come quick.


Response needed

If we're going to get back into this one, we need to score quickly - see how they react.

Just passing it around at the moment with no end product. Getting nowhere.


Enormous task ahead

Lost for words!

A dreadful start to the second half.

All came about as Townsend hit the post with a header. The ball fell to Meyer who went to take a touch but was hacked down by Walker.


Step it up, City

Poor start to this second half so far, it has to be said.

Lacking ideas in the final third and losing possession in good areas.

Aguero is about to come on...


Changes to come...

Aguero has been sent out to warm-up at the break.

City head out onto the pitch early to a rousing cheer. We know the potential significance of this season half.



Alright, Sherlock Holmes!


Work to do

This is the first time City have trailed at half-time in the Premier League.

Up to the opener, we were utterly dominant; then Palace sparked into life, while we took our foot off the gas.

Credit to Palace for the comeback but you get the feeling dropped points today could prove crucial.



That's that. City trail 2-1 at the break, courtesy of that quickfire turnaround.

Gundogan opened the scoring before Palace struck twice in two minutes.


First yellow card of the afternoon

Zaha goes into the book for a number of fouls in quick succession - and his reaction to the free-kick.

He's fired up today, clearly.



This is some turn up for the books.

Two goals in two minutes and Palace lead - two superb goals, it has to be said (particularly the second) - but until we'd opened the scoring, they hadn't had a chance!


2-1 Palace.

Townsend with surely one of the goals of the season - a sensational volley from 25 yards out.

Incredible. I mean, I hated it... but it was incredible.


Goal for Palace.

Completely against the run of play, the visitors have an equaliser.

An excellent finish from Schlupp, it has to be said - a driven strike across Ederson.

We're level again.



A beautiful delivery from skipper Delph and a perfect header from the German, who puts it across the 'keeper into the bottom corner!

Get in there!



City have controlled possession from the off but apart from that early Delph effort, Guaita hasn't been tested.

Need to break down this defence. We've five in an attacking role so there are plenty of options...


Odd decision!

The crowd aren't happy with referee Andre Marriner - and rightly so.

A delivery hit McArthur and bounced out for a corner - but he gave a goal-kick. Frustrating.


What a ball!

Wonderful through-ball from Bernardo to set Sane clear - but the German opts to fire to the near post and finds the side-netting.



End-to-end there, as Zaha goes to ground at one end, having dispossessed Stones (the referee ignores the calls for a free-kick) before City break as Gabriel Jesus does well to muscle his way forward and win a corner.

The set-piece comes to nothing.



That would have been some start!

City dominating from the off in the early exchanges - just keeping possession at the moment.

The Champions of course sporting our traditional blue and white; Palace in their red and blue.



What a drive by Delph!

Almost marked his captaincy with an insanely early goal, as Sterling clips the ball to the edge of the area and the thunders an effort towards the top corner, which Guaita tips over! Great attempt.


In memoriam

Before we begin, we remember all those connected to the Club who passed away this year - fans, players, coaches, staff. The City family.


Target practice

Shooting practice now.

That was lovely from Leroy Sane, who just slotted a lovely effort into the bottom corner, having tricked Aro Muric into thinking he was going to unleash a rocket.


Earlier on...

In today's lunchtime kick-off, Arsenal defeated Burnley 3-, courtesy of a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an injury-time Alex Iwobi strike. Ashley Barnes had halved the deficit for the Clarets. 


Baby, it's cold outside

The two teams are out now, warming up in the rain.

Passing, movement and rondos are on the agenda at the moment.

No sign of Fernandinho so would assume he's either been given a well-earned rest, or he's not fully fit.


Stat attack

City have conceded only three goals in our last eight Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, keeping eight clean sheets.

The Blues have won all nine and lost none of our league home matches this season. There have been just five occasions when a team has started with 10 successive wins in a Premier League campaign: Newcastle United in 1995/96, Chelsea in 2005/06 and 2014/15, and City in 2011/12 and 2013/14.

Crystal Palace were one of only two teams to keep a clean sheet against City in the 2017/18 PL season, earning a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park. The other team to shut out the champions-elect were Huddersfield.

City are on the longest unbeaten run of Premier League matches kicking off at 3pm UK time on a Saturday (W32 D4 L0), winning our last 15 by an aggregate score of 57-7.


Club journalist David Clayton:

"With three central defenders named, it seems there are only two possibilities – City will play 3-4-3, or John Stones will take the holding midfielder role in a 4-3-3."


Team news and tactics

​City make eight changes from the side that beat Leicester City in midweek.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero continue their comeback from injury by starting on the bench this afternoon, while Fabian Delph skippers the team for the first time.

Gabriel Jesus returns in attack.



Twenty minutes... team news.

Who makes your City line-up this afternoon?

We know that David Silva and Vincent Kompany are unavailable for selection - but what about the rest of 'em?

Let me know your starting ELF-ens...




Following Liverpool's win at Wolves last night, the Reds will sit as 'Christmas number one' - top of the Premier League.

City sit four points behind as things stand (of course, with today's game in hand) but with the dubbed 'title decider' between the two sides looming in early January, a win today is crucial...


Anyway, to the football...

We host Palace this afternoon for the first time in almost a year.

The last time the two sides met, the Blues failed to score for the first time in the season, as the game ended in a goalless draw. There was plenty of drama though with Ederson saving an injury time penalty.

Pep Guardiola expressed his admiration for the quality of Roy Hodgson’s side.

β€œAll the players have quality and (they have) an incredible experienced manager," he told press.

β€œIt’s so good and complicated to attack them. The reason why was that.

β€œWhen you win 18 games in a run you have to lose, that’s normal. We played decent and they missed a penalty.

β€œThey know exactly what they have to do so maybe people expect better results but they create chances. It’s complicated.”


That didn't last long.

It's now raining. Put that suncream away!

(I've lived in this city for my entire life and the weather never ceases to amaze me).

Other games that day

  • Newcastle United0
  • West Ham United0
  • Bournemouth2
    Brighton and Hove Albion0
  • Huddersfield Town1
  • Chelsea0
    Leicester City1
  • Cardiff City1
    Manchester United5
  • Arsenal3

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 +32 48
3 Tottenham Hotspur 17 +15 39
4 Chelsea 18 +20 37
5 Arsenal 18 +16 37
6 Manchester United 18 +4 29
7 Watford 18 0 27
8 Bournemouth 18 -1 26
9 Leicester City 18 +1 25
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 -2 25
11 Everton 17 +2 24
12 West Ham United 18 -2 24
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 18 -6 21
14 Crystal Palace 18 -8 18
15 Newcastle United 18 -8 17
16 Southampton 18 -14 15
17 Cardiff City 18 -20 14
18 Burnley 18 -20 12
19 Huddersfield Town 18 -20 10
20 Fulham 18 -26 10
Link To Full Table