Pep’s City Lose Winning Streak At Palace
English Premier League Report: Crystal Palace v Manchester City 31 December 2017
English Premier League
Result: Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City
Date: 31 December 2017
Venue: Selhurst Park
Manchester City’s 18-match winning streak in the Premier League came to an end as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
In the ninth minute, City survived a hearts-in-mouths moment when a mix-up between Ederson and Eliaquim Mangala allowed Christian Benteke to pounce on the ball. Mangala, who had fallen to the turf during the muddle, raced back to his feet to block the Belgian’s shot.
This was just one of several promising passages of play for Palace early on, but they lost captain Scott Dann to an injury sustained in his challenge on Kevin de Bruyne after 15 minutes. Dann was replaced by Martin Kelly.
City suffered a blow of their own as a tearful Gabriel Jesus limped off in the 23rd minute to make way for Sergio Agüero.
The Argentine wasted little time in making an impact. Five minutes after his introduction, the striker’s deflected shot from just outside the box struck Wayne Hennessey’s right post.
However, Roy Hodgson’s side continued to take the game to the visitors, who would not have been too disappointed with the 0-0 half-time scoreline given the run of play.
Pep Guardiola’s charges continued to struggle after the break, but they occasionally looked threatening. In the 57th minute, İlkay Gündoğan played a one-two off de Bruyne and curled a long-range shot narrowly wide of the post.
62 minutes in, Wayne Hennessey made a fantastic save to deny Leroy Sané at the far post after a cross from Raheem Sterling deflected into the German’s path.
Sané would have been the hero had his shot went in, but moments later, he could so easily have turned into the villain. Palace players tried to persuade Jon Moss to hand him a second yellow card for a foul on Wilfried Zaha, but the referee was unmoved.
The nervy moments didn’t stop there for the Premier League leaders. In the 77th minute, Andros Townsend was presented with a glorious chance inside the box after receiving the ball in space from Zaha on the right, but he somehow blasted his shot over the target.
In the 90th minute, Zaha won a penalty as he went down after tussling with Sterling. Replays suggested it was a soft one, but justice was arguably served as Ederson saved Luka Milivojević’s shot down the middle to preserve a point for City.
Jason Puncheon could arguably have had a late red card for a horror tackle on de Bruyne, which led to both players being stretchered off.
It was a dismal day for City, but they will nevertheless go into the new year 14 points clear of second-placed Chelsea, while Palace have moved a point clear of the relegation zone.