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



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Manchester City let a two goal lead slip versus Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side headed into the afternoon fixture at the Etihad Stadium with just one win in their last five domestic games.

After a fraught opening exchange, City broke the deadlock through Jack Grealish following Phil Foden’s neat pass. Following a brief VAR check, the England international’s opener was allowed and he had his third goal in as many games for the first time ever in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson ensured City did not add to their lead before half-time, making several big saves including a one-on-one scenario with Josko Gvardiol.

The Cityzens then thought they had a second as Julian Alvarez’s free-kick travelled all the way through the crowd of players to beat Henderson. Yet following a VAR check, the Argentine’s goal was ruled out after Rodri was deemed to be interfering with the away goalkeeper’s sight.

Not letting this decision bring them down, City went forward once more and got their second via academy product Rico Lewis.

Grealish clipped the ball into the box before it was bundled through to Lewis via Rodri, allowing the youngster to thump it into the bottom left corner.

Once again there was a VAR check but much to the player and the crowd’s delight, this one was given with City’s stadium announcer exclaiming: “We have a goal!”

Palace later got themselves back into the game as Jeffrey Schlupp crossed for Jean-Philippe Mateta to slot home from close range.

This goal made things uncomfortable for the Sky Blue players and fans alike which led to the away side being awarded a last-gasp penalty after Mateta went down in the box.

Following a VAR check the spot-kick was confirmed and subsequently dispatched by Michael Olise, handing City another disappointing result.

Here are five things we learned from City’s clash with Palace.

Etihad fortress no more

It is no secret that Manchester City have been out of sorts in the past month both in terms of results and, in some cases, overall performances.

Consecutive draws versus Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, followed by a damaging defeat away to Aston Villa acted as an early hammer blow for the campaign.

But following battling wins over Luton Town in the Premier League and Crvena zvezda in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola’s team looked to have turned this around.

They could not build on this on Saturday following a late comeback by Roy Hodgson’s team, which is far from perfect heading into a tricky winter period.

Still no clean sheet

Manchester City’s rocky form remains and one major problem remains which is constantly contributing.

City have conceded at least one goal in their last eight matches in all competitions which will continue to worry and disturb perfectionist Pep Guardiola.

Crystal Palace’s late goals on Saturday completely changed the result in the end after City had looked so confident and dominant earlier.

If Guardiola’s men are to replicate the monumental successes of last season then tightening up their defence should be the first port of call heading into Christmas.

Super Jack on fire

Manchester City have been hit with several injuries throughout this season, especially in recent weeks.

With the absence of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku, someone has had to step up in attack and provide the goals.

Jack Grealish has done just that with crucial goals against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Luton Town and again today versus Crystal Palace.

These goals have not only helped the team in the past few matches but also somewhat cemented the winger’s place in the side following a rocky start to the campaign.

Academy star keeps shining

Manchester City’s academy is one of the best in the world with young players regularly being churned out and playing in first teams across Europe.

Names such as Jeremie Frimpong, Jadon Sancho and Cole Palmer are just a few but it is quite rare that City hang onto many of their rough diamonds.

The most notable of these is of course Phil Foden who has taken to Pep Guardiola’s side like a duck to water since his debut.

Yet Rico Lewis has also followed in his footsteps and made the breakthrough into the Catalan coach’s star-studded squad.

Lewis once again impressed on Saturday, even scoring his first ever Premier League goal to crucially double his side’s lead on the day, reaffirming his fantastic talent.

Palace curse strikes again

For a team blessed with as much quality and tactical awareness as Manchester City, it is rare that any fixture brings some fear to the fans. Yet Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium has been an extremely tricky fixture in recent years, costing the Cityzens points on multiple occasions.

Last season City were two goals down at half-time despite eventually winning and the year before the Blues crumbled to a 2-0 defeat with another loss coming in 2018 too.

This was the case once more on Saturday as City again conceded two goals but did not have the firepower of Erling Haaland to rescue them like last season.