Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s side back on track after nervy win

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FREE TO WATCH: Manchester City return to winning ways at Crystal Palace

FREE TO WATCH: Manchester City return to winning ways at Crystal Palace

Manchester City got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace, although they were made to sweat for the three points.

Pep Guardiola’s side scored twice in 93 seconds after a stellar performance from Wayne Hennessey had kept them at bay for much of the opening period. Gabriel Jesus (39) nodded home his 50th Man City goal in all competitions before David Silva (41) tucked home through the goalkeeper’s legs.

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But Crystal Palace gave them some frights after the break, with Christian Benteke smacking the crossbar and Ederson forced into a superb save from a Wilfried Zaha shot with two minutes of normal time to play.

Man City, who had lost 2-0 at home to Wolves in their previous game, were able to hold on for the victory though to move five points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United on Renault Super Sunday, while Crystal Palace remain in sixth.

How Man City were made to work at Selhurst Park

Gabriel Jesus headed home Crystal Palace's opener
Gabriel Jesus headed home Crystal Palace’s opener

Man City began strongly in south London and had a few half chances early on, but their best opening came in the 16th minute. Bernardo Silva slipped the ball to Kevin De Bruyne inside the area, with the returning Belgian flashing it across the face of goal. He was aiming for Jesus, but the striker just missed it as Joel Ward cleared ahead of a waiting Raheem Sterling.

Hennessey had kept Crystal Palace in it for much of the first half, with his best moment coming in the 22nd minute. Ilkay Gundogan tried his luck from the top of the area, but the goalkeeper got down to save with his feet. But Man City maintained their pressure, with Hennessey punching away a Joao Cancelo cross that was aiming for Jesus.

Player ratings

Crystal Palace: Hennessey (7), Ward (7), Cahill (6), Tomkins (7), Van Aanholt (6), Milivojevic (6), Zaha (7), Kouyate (7), McArthur (7), Schlupp (6), Ayew (6).

Subs used: Townsend (6), Benteke (7), Dann (n/a).

Man City: Ederson (7), Cancelo (7), Fernandinho (7), Mendy (7), Rodri (6), B Silva (7), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (7), D Silva (8), Jesus (7), Sterling (7).

Subs used: Stones (n/a), Foden (n/a).

Man of the match: David Silva.

But as Crystal Palace started to find their feet, Man City found the net. It was another wonderful pass from Bernardo Silva on the right, with Jesus moving away from his marker into space inside the box. Ward tried to get there but was miles away as the Brazilian nodded home past a rooted Hennessey.

Two minutes later, and a full-flowing City scored their second. They nicked the ball back from Crystal Palace in their own half before breaking through De Bruyne. Benjamin Mendy tapped the ball into the path of Sterling after a great pass from Bernardo Silva, allowing the England forward to chip a pass over the top for an on-running David Silva. He took it first time with a low volley, sending the ball through the legs of Hennessey.

Team news

  • Crystal Palace made three changes. Vicente Guaita made way for Wayne Hennessey in goal, with Luka Milivojevic and James Tomkins also replacing James McCarthy and Martin Kelly.
  • Man City made four changes from their defeat to Wolves. Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero dropped out with Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus coming in.

The start of the second half was a quieter affair, although the visitors had a penalty call reviewed in the 62nd minute. De Bruyne attempted to dart into the box, but was bundled over by Zaha. Referee Anthony Taylor initially signalled for no penalty, but it was reviewed by VAR. After around 30 seconds of deliberation, the decision stood with there not being a clear and obvious reason to give the spot-kick.

Hennessey was once again Crystal Palace’s saviour as the game approached the 70-minute mark. Jesus played a lovely give-and-go with Cancelo, but his shot forced a diving stop from the goalkeeper. Not long after, Bernardo Silva tried to score on the angle, but Hennessey was there again to push it away.

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And it was by no means an easy ride to full-time for Man City as Crystal Palace had their best chance of the game in the 76th minute. Mere seconds after coming on as a substitute, Benteke thunderously headed a corner goalwards, but Ederson flew across his goal to push it onto the crossbar.

City hit the post at the other end five minutes later – De Bruyne putting Gundogan’s ball onto the crossbar – but Crystal Palace went close again not long after. Zaha wriggled his way through the box before shooting, but Ederson made another sensational, diving save to keep him out. Benteke tried to keep the ball in play at the post, but could only sky his effort well out of play.

What the managers said

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “I thought they worked unbelievably hard. We came up against a Manchester City in top form. Their pressurising was excellent, they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever and of course they play with real aplomb in the final third. I thought we were a bit unlucky in the sense that the two goals came so quickly one after the other.

“If we had gone in at 1-0, then given our second-half performance, who knows? But we can’t make any complaints about the result. We were beaten by a top team, but I’m still very proud of our team for the way they kept in the game, the way they kept fighting.

4:09

Roy Hodgson says he was very proud of the way his players fought and refused to give up despite playing ‘an extremely good side’ in Manchester City

Roy Hodgson says he was very proud of the way his players fought and refused to give up despite playing ‘an extremely good side’ in Manchester City

“And even when things weren’t going their way they never dropped their heads or gave up and in fact we even asked a couple of questions towards the end of the game – could have come away with a goal on our sheet as well.”

Man City manager Pep Guardiola: “It was very good, as always. We played well in a stadium where they [Crystal Palace] always create a lot of chances.

“There were two with Benteke at the end, especially from set-pieces, and unfortunately we could not convert the chances we had. You always suffer in the Premier League at 2-0, it’s never over.

3:16

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City responded well to their defeat last time out and created lots of chances in their 2-0 win against Crystal Palace

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City responded well to their defeat last time out and created lots of chances in their 2-0 win against Crystal Palace

“It was an important three points after the international break, it’s always difficult at Selhurst Park, they were one point below us I think and are having an incredible season, so I’m delighted. Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performances. Hopefully we can be more clinical in the future, but it was a good result.”

‘City were a different class’

BreakingNews Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp: “I think that City, in fairness, were just a different class today, sometimes you just have to accept it. Did they get it right, Palace? They probably weren’t aggressive enough for my liking, they didn’t make it uncomfortable enough for them, they didn’t really give the crowd enough to go on, I believe. They sat back too much, certainly first half. That would have been a big moment and things could have changed. But hey, that’s football.

Joel Ward and Raheem Sterling in action at Selhurst Park
Joel Ward and Raheem Sterling in action at Selhurst Park

“It must be very difficult for Gabriel Jesus because he’s not the sort of player that should accept being No 2 – he’s that good.

“But he’s not the sort of guy that’s going to cause a problem. When you see his smile when he scores a goal, that’s what football is all about. I thought he came across really well and he plays the game the right way.”

Man of the match – David Silva

The Spaniard took the skipper’s armband at Selhurst Park and put in a captain’s performance. Most importantly of all, he scored a wonderful goal and looked lively in the Manchester City attack.

He had 64 touches and completed 48 of his 54 passes, with David Silva enjoying games against Crystal Palace – he has now been directly involved in eight goals in his last seven league starts against the Eagles (five goals, three assists).

Credit must also go to Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne for their play throughout, but it was David Silva’s night. Man City will truly miss him when he leaves at the end of the season.

Opta stats

  • Manchester City have now won 12 of their 14 away Premier League games in 2019 (L2), at least three more than any other club this calendar year.
  • Crystal Palace have lost 10 home league games since the start of last season; of ever-present Premier League sides in this time, only Burnley and Newcastle (both 11) have suffered more such defeats on home soil.
  • In all competitions, Manchester City have won 16 of their last 19 meetings with Crystal Palace (D1 L2), scoring 47 goals in this stretch (2.5 per game).

What’s next?

Next up for Crystal Palace is a trip across London to face Arsenal on Sunday (kick-off 4.30pm). Man City are back in Champions League action on Tuesday as they face Atalanta at the Etihad Staidum, before welcoming Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm).



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