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Five Things Learned: Crystal Palace 2-4 Manchester City (Premier League)



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Kevin De Bruyne’s brace kickstarted another comeback, as Manchester City fight on in their quest to become the first team to win the Premier League four years in a row.

Jack Grealish found himself involved in all four goals, while Erling Haaland and Rico Lewis both returned to the scoresheet.

The win against Crystal Palace means that Manchester City stay in third place, within striking distance of both Arsenal and Liverpool, with just seven matches left in the season.

Jean-Philippe Mateta put Crystal Palace ahead just three minutes into the match. The Eagles hopped on an error by John Stones and were behind Manchester City’s defence and through on goal in seconds. 

However, City had an immediate response, as after 10 minutes Kevin De Bruyne equalised in with a world class effort from the edge of the box. It was set-up by Jack Grealish, who attacked the by-line before having his pass take a slight deflection into the Belgian’s path.

The quick response helped the Sky Blues regain control of the match, despite Crystal Palace’s effective pressing in the first-half. 

Lewis’ second ever Premier League goal put Manchester City in the lead less two minutes into the second-half, when the 19-year-old pounced on an attempted Grealish cross that Palace could not properly clear. 

Despite taking the lead so early into the half, Manchester City continued to attack and grabbed two insurance goals in under five minutes.

The first came in the 66th when De Bruyne connected with Haaland for a tap-in. Just four minutes later, De Bruyne rifled a shot near-post past Dean Henderson from the edge of the box.

In under 30 minutes Manchester City had gone from level at half-time at Selhurst Park, to 4-1 up and in full control. Rodri and Julian Alvarez were replaced by Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, as the Sky Blues were finally allowed to coast. 

In the 86th minute Crystal Palace grabbed a goal back to make it respectable when Odsonne Edouard got on the end of a Jeffrey Schlupp cross against the run of play. 

Here are the five things we learned from Manchester City’s comeback win over Crystal Palace!

Jack Grealish continues to improve and prove his worth

Grealish looked more aggressive than ever in the midweek against his former club, and that same tenacity was carried into the match against Crystal Palace. While the underlying numbers themselves do not inherently jump off the page. 

The 28-year-old was directly involved in all four goals for Manchester City and toyed with the Eagles defence at times. Not sure if it’s new instructions from Pep Guardiola or competition with Doku, but it looks like Grealish is starting to hit a new level

Kevin De Bruyne is back in form

After looking sluggish at times since his initial successful return from injury, it appears as the real Kevin De Bruyne has returned. His equaliser early in the first-half was one of the goals of the season, and should end up in highlight reels for years to come.

De Bruyne back in top form will be a necessity if Manchester City are to compete for the three competitions they’re still a part of.

A backup for Rodri is needed, immediately

By the 30th minute mark of the match, Rodri looked absolutely knackered on the pitch. Alarmingly, the Spaniard stayed on until the 70th once a result was out of reach for Crystal Palace. 

The Kalvin Phillips experiment failed, and it is looking like his loan move will as well. Kovacic can provide cover, at times, but is far from a true replacement. Joshua Kimmich might be overkill, but his ability to play centrally and at right back would provide the tactical flexibility Guardiola craves.

This run-in will not be fun

For the first time under Guardiola, Manchester City do not have control of their own destiny for a title run-in. It’s flashback to the 2012 title race, having to rely on the misfortune of other clubs to get a chance to win the league.

It’s just stress from here on out, win every game left and hope for the best.

Phil Foden being rested shows the ultimate sign of respect

It was a little bit of a surprise to look at the team sheet when it was announced and see that both Bernard Silva and Phil Foden had been kept out of the starting line-up. However, with the Real Madrid fixture just days away, Guardiola wanted to make sure two of his most valuable and flexible players were at full fitness.

Now it’s time for the two of them to do what they have proven time and time again: perform in big moments.