Crystal Palace 0-0 Man City Champions leave door ajar for Liverpool after dropping points at Selhurst Park – GMC ONLINE

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Match report and free highlights as wasteful Manchester City drop two points in their quest to retain the Premier League title at Crystal Palace, handing Liverpool the chance to close the gap to one point when they visit Arsenal on Wednesday
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the goalless draw between Crystal Palace and Manchester City

Manchester City handed the Premier League title initiative to Liverpool after they were held to a 0-0 draw by a dogged Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football.

At a rocking Selhurst Park, Palace were seeking a league double over City for the first time since 1987/88 in the second tier, and they put up a stiff resistance as Pep Guardiola’s side were left frustrated by the stalemate.

City ran into an inspired Vicente Guaita, who brilliantly denied Riyad Mahrez with an instinctive save after Kevin De Bruyne struck the inside of the post just before the hour-mark.

It was the second time the visitors had struck the woodwork after Joao Cancelo’s speculative shot in the first half cannoned off the upright before Aymeric Laporte blazed his rebound over the crossbar.

City kept pushing for a breakthrough in the second period but could not find a way past Guaita, meaning title rivals Liverpool can move one point behind them if they win their game in hand against Arsenal, live on Sky Sports on Wednesday evening.

Player ratings
Crystal Palace: Guaita (8), Clyne (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (8), Kouyate (7), Schlupp (6), Olise (7), Gallagher (8), Zaha (6), Mateta (7).

Subs: Ayew (6), Edouard (6).

Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (5), Stones (6), Laporte (6), Joao Cancelo (7), De Bruyne (7), Rodri (6), Bernardo Silva (6), Mahrez (7), Foden (5), Grealish (6).

Subs: None used.

Man of the match: Conor Gallagher.

How City were kept out again by Palace
Despite 18 shots and 46 touches in the opposition box as part of 74 per cent possession, City were met by a red and blue wall. Palace became just the second side to stop Guardiola’s side scoring home and away in a Premier League season after Manchester United in 2020/21.

The City boss insisted ahead of kick-off he was not motivated by the prospect of winning a treble but instead placed his focus on winning individual games – and there remains little margin for error in this absorbing battle for supremacy.

Team news
Manchester City reverted back to the starting line-up that cantered to victory over rivals Manchester United as they looked to re-establish their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League with victory at Crystal Palace.

Pep Guardiola had made six alterations for the Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon but the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Riyad Mahrez and Joao Cancelo returned.

Palace, meanwhile, stuck with the side that won 2-0 at Wolves last time out.

Guardiola anticipated a tricky encounter, especially given how Palace are one of only two teams to beat City this season following their 2-0 away win in October.

Patrick Vieira called on his team to play with personality in his programme notes, stressing the need to be clinical if his players were to emulate that shock success – and his side made a bright start with Jean-Philippe Mateta inviting Michael Olise to shoot following a swift break but the youngster’s effort was narrowly off target.

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Michael Olise went close with Palace posing a threat on the counter
There was a big chance for Bernardo Silva in the first half
Riyad Mahrez goes close in one of four first-half chances

Kyle Walker had dawdled on the ball to present the opportunity, and it seemed to spark City into life as moments later Guaita spilled De Bruyne’s shot straight to Bernardo Silva but a heavy touch as he looked to round the Palace goalkeeper meant the chance was squandered.

City came even closer to unlocking Palace’s stubborn back line when Cancelo’s clever cross was volleyed goalwards by De Bruyne but kept out instinctively by Guaita on 26 minutes.

Guardiola’s men sensed a goal was coming as from the second of two ensuing corners, Cancelo cracked a fine effort from the edge of the box that came back off the post into the path of Laporte but the Spain defender was unable to readjust his feet quick enough as he skied his effort into the gleeful Homesdale Road stand.

Aymeric Laporte missed a glorious chance to put City in front
Brilliant Vicente Guaita denied Kevin De Bruyne as City’s frustrations grew
A John Stones effort flew inches wide as City continued to probe

Palace took their luck and took the fight to City as Wilfried Zaha came within inches of lighting up Selhurst Park, cutting in off the left flank onto his right foot before unleashing a sweetly-struck effort which whistled fractionally past the angle of post and bar.

The hosts were very nearly punished just before the interval when Marc Guehi’s poor headed clearance was gobbled up by the lively Mahrez, but the Algerian bent his fourth shot of the opening period just wide.

Gary Neville said at half-time: “City haven’t been ruthless enough in the final part of the game. City are so consistent, they create bucket-loads of chances that are identical. It’s been chance after chance after chance. You have to think they will take one of them soon.”

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Guaita rescued Palace after De Bruyne hits the post to deny Mahrez
Ederson kept out a Zaha effort as Palace refused to sit back

Guardiola sought a reaction but it was Palace who looked sharper upon the restart as Mateta was unable to direct Joachim Andersen’s header back across goal from a set piece on target.

On 57 minutes, City thought they had broken the deadlock when De Bruyne’s shot rebounded off the inside of the post into the path of Mahrez but his firm strike was brilliantly tipped over by Guaita.

City refused to deviate from their passing game as a cute pass from De Bruyne found Grealish down the right channel but his low cross was agonisingly just too far in front of the outstretched Silva.

There was a big chance for Laporte late on that he passed up

Palace refused to be beaten. De Bruyne continued to pull the strings as his lofted pass found Phil Foden but Guehi was back to produce a sublime tackle, in spite of a late offside call.

When Laporte rose unmarked to make a mess of De Bruyne’s next inviting delivery, City’s hopes of a late winner faded. There was even time for the indefatigable Conor Gallagher to pounce on a slack header back to Ederson from John Stones and while his shot from an acute angle was off target, Vieira beamed with pride – as he did at the final whistle.

With second-placed Liverpool having a game in hand and visiting the Etihad Stadium next month, the title race remains tight, but Jurgen Klopp will sense the pendulum is swinging in his side’s direction.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville look make their predictions about where the title will be won or lost.

Guardiola: We did everything to win the game

Pep Guardiola was pleased with the performance level of his players despite not being able to score as Manchester City were held to a goalless draw against Crystal Palace.

City were once 14 points clear of Liverpool albeit having played two games more, but Guardiola knew this would always go right down to the wire.

“There’s still nine games and a lot of points,” he said. “In general, we did a really good game. We have five or six days before we play in the FA Cup against Southampton but there is little to say to them. We did everything we could to win today. It was an incredible effort from Crystal Palace who played very well.

“Now we have four points [clear at the top] and one game more. In the international break we are still going to be leaders and we play to win. It was difficult to control the physicality they had and we had a lot of chances to win but we couldn’t score.

“I thought about making changes, but they were playing well. The guys had the ability to score goals but, in the end, with the emotion and their people, we couldn’t.

“We created more, conceded few, the stats are there. The way we played was amazing in a difficult stadium where the grass was not perfect. We had a good game. We have to win a lot of games. I have no regrets how we played.

“We don’t need to draw here to know it [how tough it is to win the Premier League].”

Neville: One of those nights for City

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Sky Sports’ Gary Neville:

“There is an element to City where they don’t go through the gears, often because they don’t need to, and they play at the same pace in the belief the chances would come. They didn’t panic, but it didn’t happen for them tonight.

“They missed big chances, those final moments, passes. If you’re going to take points off City everything has got to go right, including City not being sharp in front of goal, and that is what happened.

“Unbelievable. So much of the ball, so many chances. It was just one of those nights.”

Vieira continues fine record against City

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Patrick Vieira praised his players for their effort as Crystal Palace frustrated Manchester City in the goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira remains unbeaten in the Premier League against Manchester City as both a manager (P2 W1 D1) and a player (P7 W6 D1).

Vieira said: “It feels good. Looking at the two games we’ve played against them, we defended well as a team. When you play against City, you have to be lucky at times and we forced that luck to be on our side.

“The difference between the game here and there [at the Etihad] was that we didn’t take the chances we created tonight. The final pass was difficult because of the runs we had to make.

“We managed to frustrate them but we needed a really good team performance from back to front. We’ve made it more exciting for the neutral but there’s still a lot of games left.”

Man of the match: Conor Gallagher

Gallagher told Sky Sports: “We will take a point against them and it was really deserved. I can’t feel my legs, every one of the boys worked so hard, we gave everything and I’m proud of the team. I’m struggling to talk and my legs have gone.

“You could see our game plan, to be organised and try to catch them on the counter-attack. It was a very good performance from us. Before the game we had the belief we would win. We have played well and got good results, but we’re happy with the point.

“They are one of the best teams in the world and to do that against them twice is amazing and shows what we can do as a team.”

“I can’t stop him and I won’t stop him,” Vieira said of Gallagher. “This is his strength and this is why we love him.

“Some of the players are going to need a few more days off but today showed that we are improving. The challenge was accepting we weren’t going to have that much possession but if we can understand that then we can be more consistent.”

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Joao Cancelo shows his frustration at Crystal Palace

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds at Selhurst Park:

It is game on in the title race after this tenacious performance from Crystal Palace. The hosts deserved their point and were rewarded for not sitting back. City were below par but they were made to be so by a display full of courage from Vieira’s side.

Palace have earned the right to play with freedom and without pressure, and it showed throughout this encounter. It was tense, but you wouldn’t have known from Vieira’s benign demeanour, a picture of tranquillity.

City have scored against 26 of the 27 teams they have faced this season but not Palace. Grealish squared up to Kouyate at the final whistle as Walker dropped to his haunches, picked up by Mahrez on his way back to the tunnel.

Jack Grealish fights for the ball with Nathaniel Clyne

Guardiola rushed to congratulate Guaita on his man-of-the-match display but he must now rouse his own players. He gave an impassioned defence of his team who had been unable to come up with the necessary quality for once.

De Bruyne had a few words for referee Martin Atkinson but this was a contest low on controversy. Just a very well-drilled Crystal Palace, with Vieira taking the acclaim as the home supporters serenaded the affable Frenchman on his way.

Palace are heading in the right direction but the full extent of the damage this draw has done to City’s quest to retain their crown will only be known after Liverpool’s trip to the capital later this week.

City fail to make chances count – Opta stats

Manchester City mustered 18 shots in total without scoring against Crystal Palace, their biggest tally without a goal in the competition since their 18 efforts against Tottenham in August 2021.
Crystal Palace are unbeaten in four Premier League games (W2 D2) and have lost just one of their last seven in the competition (W2 D4), after losing six of the previous 10.
Manchester City are now unbeaten in 14 away games in the Premier League (W11 D3), their longest such run in the competition since another run of 14 ending in December 2018.
Crystal Palace are just the second team to stop Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side from scoring both home and away in a Premier League season, after Manchester United in 2020-21.
The goalless draw ended a run of 18 consecutive Premier League games in which Manchester City had scored, since a 0-2 defeat to Crystal Palace in October 2021.

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