Manchester City  2-3 Crystal Palace: Eagles hit hammer blow to Citizens title credentials
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Manchester City  2-3 Crystal Palace: Eagles hit hammer blow to Citizens title credentials

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memphistekkers
Josh Slinger

Crystal Palace stunned the whole of the Premier League, coming to the Etihad Stadium and defeating champions Manchester City  with an inspiring 3-2 victory - inflicting the Citizens first home domestic defeat of the season.

Pep Guardiola's men now trail league leaders Liverpool by four points, and the title race well and truly looks on as we approach the half-way mark of the season. 

Story of the match

As expected, City were dominant in possession from the off.

Inside just one minute, Fabian Delph forced a terrific save from Vicente Guaita, as the fullback found himself in acres of space on the edge of the area - a sign of things to come?

Leroy Sane was then played through down the left by Bernardo Silva on the 10-minute mark, although was unable to beat the 'keeper at the near post. 

Roy Hodgson's game plan was clear from very early on in this one - look to defend deep and catch the Citizens on the break with the pace of Wilfried Zaha.

For the first 25 minutes, this was working to effect, as the home side failed to create many openings, despite their vast amount of possession. 

Then, a momentary lapse in concentration was punished as Ilkay Gundogan got in-between Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt to steer Delph's cross past the 'keeper 

Hodgson will've been furious to concede such a soft, simple goal as Gundogan simply strolled into the area before being picked out. 

Out of nowhere, Palace then equalise immediately. The Eagles worked the ball well in from the right before Jeffrey Schlupp picked it up on the left and brilliantly struck across Ederson. 

A minute later, with everyone expecting City to get back on the attack, it got even better for the South Londoners.

The ball dropped out to Andros Townsend, before the so far isolated winger volleyed the ball into the top corner from 30 yards. A Goal of the season contender - Ederson and the Etihad left stunned. 

With Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne still returning to full fitness, they were again benched by Guardiola. Although it wasn't long until Guardiola played his first card, though, as Aguero replaced Nicolas Otamendi just five minutes into the second half. 

Possession early in the second 45 was again unexpectedly dominated by City, before Palace incredibly, and again out of nowhere, struck another blow to City's title hopes.

Kyle Walker brought down Max Meyer inside the area, forcing Andre Marriner to point to the spot, allowing  Luka Milivojevic to convert past Ederson and put the travelling Eagles in dreamland!

Shortly after this de Bruyne was also introduced, as City struggled to break down a highly organised Palace backline.

Despite this City side being star-studded from top to bottom, they continued to fail to create any real openings. Leroy Sane smashed the upright with his free-kick from range with 15 minutes to play, although in truth, the Londoner's backline looked calm and composed. 

De Bruyne got City back into the game with five minutes to go, is attempted cross went straight over everyone and into the back of the net, handing the champions a lifeline. 

Chances came and went for both Sane and Gabriel Jesus in the dying stages, although Palace hung on for all three points, producing possibly the shock result of the season.

Takeaways from the match

Palace will be fine

Last weekend saw a huge boost for Palace, as they defeated Leicester City without Zaha - proving they don't need their starman in order to win games.

The Eagles showed clear confidence from this result, although displayed enough quality throughout this game, both defensively as well as going forward, to prove that they should be able to avoid being sucked into the relegation scrap in the second half of the season.

Shakey City

Everybody knows that Guardiola's City at their best are capable of beating almost anyone, whilst playing some incredible football in the meantime, although, the Citizens in recent week have vastly struggled whilst not having it all their own way.

Down the years winning ugly has proved pivotal for any side chasing a title, Liverpool have showcased they're capable of doing this, although concerns should be raised over City's evident lack of ability to grind out a result.

In the past few weeks City have played poorly twice in the league against Chelsea and now against Palace, and have ended up losing both games - surely a real concern for Guardiola and his men. 

The title race is on

The last few years in the Premier League have seen sides running away with the title with multiple matches to play, although, this seems to be far from the case this time around.

Many were of the opinion at the start of the season that City would run away with the title again, following last years record-breaking campaign. However, Liverpool will now sit four points clear at Christmas and are well in with a chance of beating City to the post and taking the Premier League crown to the Merseyside for the first time in history. 

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