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Manchester City vs Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium Referee : Lee Mason
17th January 2021 7:15 PM (GMT)
  • 4 Manchester City

    • ‘26' John Stones
    • ‘56' Ilkay Gündogan
    • ‘68' John Stones
    • ‘88' Raheem Sterling
  • 0 Crystal Palace


Commentary By David Clayton


OK folks, gonna wrap this up now. Thanks for sticking with us tonight and remember, lots of reaction to come here on plus highlights later. Keep safe and se you against Villa...


Pep reaction

"It's an important victory - we were excellent. As managers, we are lucky to have these sort of players, they make it easy for us.

"The back four - we don't mistakes. We try to be solid and it doesn't matter who plays so the last few games it was Ruben and John.

"The commitment from everyone was fantastic.  

"IF there is one player I am more pleased that everything is going well for him it is John Stones. I am happy for him.

"We fought hard when we were eight points behind and we will fight hard to stay high in the table."


Micah Richards on Sky Sports

"I think John Stones is playing some of the best football of his life and if he keeps this going, who knows where he can go?"


More Stones...

"I’m just trying to keep improving game by game and keeping these clean sheets is massive. It’s a platform for the players to express themselves at the top of the pitch. 

"We take pride in it and hopefully we can keep it going especially because we know how vital they are in big games ."


Stones reaction

"I feel very good. It was a tough game. The last two years we’ve not beaten them at home, so it was something we’ve worked on. Another clean sheet and another win, to keep the momentum going. 

"Two goals for myself and obviously I’m delighted! I put a lot of pressure on myself to score goals. I need to contribute and bring that to my game. I’ve been trying hard and the hard work on the training pitch are paying off. I’m glad to contribute."


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...


"Aside from his defensive prowess, some of Ruben Dias’s long range distribution tonight has been simply exquisite.

"What a signing he has turned out to be.

"And to think that the Portuguese centre-half is still only 23.

"His potential is frightening."


Michael Brown on BBC Radio 5 Live

"Incredible that he gets another goal. I thought Ruben Dias would be a threat from set pieces, he rose really well and got first contact and it was a good save from the keeper but John Stones, natural striker that he is now, just caresses the ball into the net. He's on for a hat-trick!"


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...

"We’re more used to seeing John Stones prevent goals but his habit of claiming key strikes is becoming a welcome habit!

"10 days on from that vital goal at United in the Carabao Cup, the centre half has now claimed his second of the night here to surely seal the game.

"It’s yet another vital part of his armoury and further proof his rejuvenated all-round form this term."


City 3-0 Palace

Ruben Dias sees his header saved by the keeper and Stones follows up with a low left-foot shot. Superb from Stones and I swear I was going to put 'what are the odds of him getting another?' earlier on and left it. Drat!!


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...

"That second goal was no less than we deserved.

"City have stepped up the intensity so far this half – and what a way to double our advantage.

"Like Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan has been in inspired form of late and the German has weighed in with another quite magnificent goal."



Gabriel Jesus closes down the Palace keeper who tries to be clever, almost loses the ball but gets away with a corner that comes to nothing



It's a screamer from Ilkay Gundogan who wins the ball on the edge of the box before curling a shot into the top right-hand corner. Superb from our German midfielder.


Nedum's half-time view...

"We all believed Kevin was going to get to 100, but I’m so happy he did it like that. The skillset he has is truly incredible. We’re truly blessed here. This could now become comfortable. "


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...

"Much to admire in that first 45 minutes, but Palace are a handful if you give them any space or time on the ball.

"As the manager alluded in his pre-match press conference, we can’t afford to lose focus.

"A second goal early in the second half would hopefully go a long way towards putting the game to bed.

"And with De Bruyne in particular in such sublime form, hopefully that all-important second strike can come sooner rather than later!"


Micah Richards on Sky Sports

"I do love John Stones! It takes a brave man to do what he's done and he deserves it. I'm so happy for him because he had a lot of criticism."


Michael Brown on Radio 5 Live

"It's a pleasure to watch Kevin De Bruyne first hand, he had no right to deliver a pass like that. It's a controlled, steady performance from City who've had all the possession and should've maybe had a bit more opportunity at the top of the pitch.

"Credit to Palace they've tried to be organised without key players - but City have taken that control in this first half."


"Truly brilliant..."

"Seconds earlier, I thought he could potentially shoot. Then he gets it and sees the run, spot on, absolutely brilliant. This is what he does - he delivers this type of stuff!

"He’s a player that’s effective in possession and out of possession, working back and making the challenges. He finds himself further up the field to also deliver, the boy is just truly brilliant. " Shaun Goater


Half-time: City 1-0 Palace

Solid half by City - Stones' goal the difference so far and Ederson untroubled. As things stand we're going second but another big 45 to come....


Sterling looks sharp when he gets the ball but the sheer weight of numbers defending for Palace have so far meant his efforts have not met with reward



Lovely movement by City - Bernardo picks Gundogan's clever run and his dinked cross is headed on by the German to Gabriel Jesus who can't get enough power in his header


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...

"You tend to run our of superlatives in trying to describe Kevin De Bruyne.

"Once again, the Belgian has been superb in the first half hour and his stunning assist for John Stones’ opener summed up his all-round excellence.

"It just begged to be finished and Stones duly delivered heading home his first Premier League goal for City.

"What a way to chalk up 100 City assists.

"What a player."


Kyle Walker's wayward pass lets Andros Townsend break free - he swings in a cross that Walker mops up but his pass almost puts Dias in trouble - but we survive


Better from City as Gundogan, Sterling and De Bruyne fire in successive shot but Palace throw bodies in the way each time - gonna be one of those games, by the looks...


Neil Leigh at the Etihad...

 "A pretty cagey start so far here.

"City dominating territory and possession and probing the visitors’ back line at will.

"But, as you would expect with a Roy Hodgson side, Palace are very well organised and drilled."


Good thing about this game is that we already know Palace are capable opposition and have a good record in the past few seasons at the Etihad - so we already know that their position of 13 in the table is largely irrelevant 


Palace boss Roy Hodgson, pre-match:

"Every time Wilf (Zaha) doesn't play it's a miss, we would have loved to have had him but these things happen.

"What do we have to do? Survive the onslaught, show a lot of discipline, players will work extremely hard to do the running that's necessary to keep up with the running they do and the way they pass the ball and find space."


More from Pep ahead of the game...

"It is important to have Gabriel Jesus back again but we cannot forget I don't know the reaction when people come back from Covid, for example Gundogan struggled. "


Premier League fatigue...

Pep ahead of the game: "In this period, I didn't see big results or many goals - 1-0, 0-1, 0-0... people are tired mentally and physically and all the games this weekend have been really tight."


More from The Goat...

"I think normally in games like that [Brighton], we’re expected to just go and win. In the last few years, that game could be a slip up but we ground out the result. It shows you just how well the team is. One of the things I like to see is the defenders high fiving each other, just for blocks and tackles. It shows the unity of the defence."


One player I'm looking forward to seeing tonight is Eberechi Eze  - he's been outstanding since his move from QPR and he has a very bright future. Palace will look to him this evening with Zaha ruled out


Nedum's thoughts...

"Having seen Palace, I don’t think they’ll keep the ball, but they do have enough talent up front to hurt City. I believe City can do it, we’re in excellent form and we have enough quality of players to go and win this game."


And here's some from The Goat on tonight's We're Not Really Here...

"I’m excited, I’m looking forward to today! For me, it’s a complete team we have, we’re solid at the back, and I love the form of Stones and he’s made a strong partnership with Dias. Don’t get me wrong, Laporte is incredible, and when he’s back we’ll have brilliant options. The players up front are hungry to score goals."


Some thoughts from former City favourite Joleon Lescott on Radio 5 Live:

"At the start of the season John Stones was probably fifth choice centre back so he’s been fortunate there’s been a few injuries and inconsistent performances from all the players. But what he deserves credit for is making sure he was ready when he was given the opportunity.

"At the start of the season Ruben Dias came in and everyone thought it would be Dias and Aymeric Laporte then Nathan Ake came in and there were games where Fernandinho was ahead of him and Eric Garcia was ahead of him. For him to be in control of anything he needed to realise I need to match up with Dias, just do what he’s doing and not doing anything more and it’s working for both of them."


Here's a few thoughts of my colleague Neil Leigh, at the Etihad this evening....

 "After the freezing cold temperatures of the first part of January, it’s a tad warmer (figuratively speaking) here at the Etihad tonight and a perfect night for football.

"Crisp, dry and with barely any wind, the conditions could not be more inviting.

"All the portents in place then for hopefully another three points as Pep Guardiola’s side seek to maintain our perfect start to 2021."


Four changes...

So,  in come Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, with Joao Cancelo, Rodrigo, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden on the bench...


It will all happen again, and what a day that will be... but for now, stick with us here on and we'll make it as close to being there as we can


While many would head over to City Square to enjoy the music and pre-match build-up ahead of team news which we'll have  for you a 18:15pm UK time...


I've been trying to think of ways of creating a virtual matchday for this evening's games as we approach a year of behind-closed-doors games...


So, what's in store this evening? It's already been a good day with City thrashing Aston Villa 7-0 in the FA Women's Super League so fingers crossed we get more joy against Palace


More from Dias (on his partnership with John Stones) 💬

“It is my relationship with John and also the rest of the team.

“We don’t defend just the two of us. Obviously we are happy because if you don’t concede we are so much closer to be able to win. We have just got to keep working on it.

“The team showed a different face that might be very important for what is coming.”


Ruben Dias 💬

Ruben Dias believes City passed an important test of character in our hard-fought midweek win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Phil Foden’s first half strike settled a tight contest as Pep Guardiola’s side extended our unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions to move up to third in the Premier League.

Having missed several good opportunities to double our lead, City were forced to dig deep in the closing stages and whilst Dias admits the game was closer than he would have liked, he was pleased with the resilience shown to come through a tough test unscathed.

“It was harder than we wanted but we were already expecting it because we knew the power of Brighton,” he said.

“They are really good, play really well, they have quality players and a good idea to play. They made it tough for us but we still got what we wanted.

“When you are winning 1-0 the game starts to go to the final end. Things tend to be like this.

“If we had scored just one of the many chances we had in the first half or the second half, the game would become different.

“We didn’t score, we needed to hang tight and we did it.”


We're Not Really Here 💙

Shaun Goater and Nedum Onuoha will appear on our We're Not Really Here matchday show.

The pair - who have over 300 City appearances between them - will be joined by presenter, Natalie Pike to provide expert analysis and opinion on our Premier League clash against Roy Hodgson's side at the Etihad Stadium.

We’re Not Really Here provides a City focused perspective to your pre-match build-up and begins one hour before kick-off at 18:15 (UK).

The show will then return at half-time to give a run down on the first 45 minutes.

Then, five minutes after the final whistle, we’ll be live for half an hour of post-match reaction, when our guests will dissect the game and respond to the fans’ Man of the Match poll, questions, and comments.

We will also hear a player’s reaction and, time permitting, watch Guardiola’s post-match press conference.

Fans across the world can get involved and share your thoughts by using the hashtag #WNRH on Twitter.

We’re Not Really Here is available to watch on all of our official digital platforms, whilst during the game there will be live commentary and footage of fans around the world, which you can enjoy exclusively on and our official app.


Early team news 📋

Pep Guardiola revealed the latest team news ahead of tonight's game in his press conference on Friday.

The City boss admitted that with Saturday's training session still to come, things could change but he felt certain Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte will again be absent as they continue to recover from injury..

Sergio Aguero looks likely to be unavailable again after a period of self-isolation but Eric Garcia is expected to be ready for selection.


City Sunday! ⚽

It's a double matchday!

A feast of football awaits, as both of our first teams are in league action today!

First off, Gareth Taylor's women's team host Aston Villa in the FA Women's Super League at 12:30 (UK) - live on the BBC Red Button.

Then, later tonight, Pep Guardiola's side welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium in a 19:45 (UK) kick-off.

As always, we'll have full coverage from the Etihad Stadium right here in the Matchday Centre and we'd love to hear from you, so get in touch in Twitter, using the hashtag #WNRH

Come on, City!

Other games that day

  • Liverpool0
    Manchester United0
  • Sheffield United1
    Tottenham Hotspur3
  • Aston Villa0

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Manchester United 18 +10 37
3 Leicester City 18 +12 35
4 Liverpool 18 +16 34
5 Tottenham Hotspur 18 +16 33
6 Everton 17 +7 32
7 Chelsea 18 +12 29
8 Southampton 18 +5 29
9 West Ham United 18 +4 29
10 Aston Villa 15 +13 26
11 Arsenal 18 +1 24
12 Leeds United 18 -4 23
13 Crystal Palace 19 -11 23
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 -8 22
15 Newcastle United 17 -9 19
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 19 -7 17
17 Burnley 17 -13 16
18 Fulham 17 -11 12
19 West Bromwich Albion 18 -27 11
20 Sheffield United 19 -22 5
Link To Full Table