|Crystal Palace||0-0||Manchester City|
|Dann 16′, van Aanholt 48′, Cabaye 75′ Kelly 90+2′, Puncheon 90+2||Yellow Cards||Sane 45+6′, Aguero 79′, Toure 90′, Fernandinho 90+1|
|Milivojevic (missed penalty) 90+2||Goal Scorers|
The Expat Eagle’s Verdict
Before coming into this game I think most people had Manchester City to be dishing out another good hiding. I’d said in the week running up to Christmas that if City were still unbeaten on their visit to Selhurst Park that I would put a fiver on us to beat them. Why? Because that would be so Palace!
When the team news was announced my heart sank a little as we had to make 4 changes to the starting line up with the game coming so soon after our last game versus Arsenal.
The first half was a lively affair and we were equal to City. We may not have had a shot on target, compared to City’s 1 but we had 5 goal attempts to City’s 6! We were in the game!
On the 20 minute mark, Scott Dann went off injured with a serious looking injury. As Dann was stretchered off the pitch towards the Whitehorse Lane end, he was given a yellow card for his troubles.
The injury came about because Benteke was pratting around with the ball on the halfway line. He was dispossessed when he decided to try and nutmeg Kevin de Bryne. The result was that Dann fouled de Bryne just outside the Palace penalty area to prevent a shot on goal.
As the half went on it was a genuine 50-50 contest and City’s players were getting more and more frustrated with Sane getting booked at the end of the half for kicking the ball away after ruling to have fouled Fosu-Mensah.
In the second half, Manchester City were more on the front foot and it seemed that Palace were more content to sit back and allow City to attack. Each time Palace cleared the ball it seemed to find a City player and the ball came back at them.
After the 75-minute mark Palace started to get back into the game with Zaha putting a cross into the box, Riedewald dummying the ball and Townsend skying his shot.
Once again, Manchester City started to look frustrated and began to lose their composure, almost like a child who is used to getting their own way hearing the word ‘no’ for the first time and not liking it.
That being said, Zaha had a couple of tussles with Walker and got frustrated at not getting the decisions when he was on the losing side of a few shoulder barges. Personally, I think shoulder barges should not be fouls, as long as they are not exaggerated barges.
With 3 minutes to go Walker shoulder barged Benteke off the pitch and into the advertising hoarding. That was firmly a foul, Benteke was in the air at the time contact was made. It all boils down to what we’ve been saying for a long, long time. Big teams get the decisions and are allowed to bully the smaller teams. Had we had a referee with bigger balls we might have got our share of the 50-50 decisions. Hell, even some of the 60-40!
But then the Gods took over and decided enough was enough! Zaha received contact from Sterling in the penalty area and went down, to be honest, softly but after everything that had gone one it was about time we got a decision.
We all knew who was going to take the penalty and I knew in my heart that we were going to miss it, no matter who took it. Up stepped Luka Milivojevic who blasted the ball down the middle only for Ederson to save with his legs. There was no real height on the ball and it was a poor penalty. It was very similar to his last penalty.
As the ball broke away Puncheon committed a terrible foul on Kevin de Bryne and was lucky not to be sent off. Instead, both players were taken off on a stretcher and the resulting free-kick was fired straight at the Palace wall.
It was kind of fitting that the last action of the game was a corner for Palace which found Benteke alone and unmarked at the back post just outside the 6-yard box. The resulting header was so wide it almost hit the corner flag.
So, in the end, Palace won, 0-0 (an old Jasper Carrot joke) and had you offered me that before the game I’d have taken it. It’s yet another occasion of what could have been but we must take heart from our form and the momentum we have behind us.
For all their critics, I have to say every player played their part, even if some were unspectacular. Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, van Aanholt and Riedewald all looked solid and took their chance in the team well.
If I had to single a player out for criticism it would be Benteke. Yes, he ran more today than in other games but he doesn’t look like he could hit a cow’s arse with a shovel right now.
As a footnote, in the BT Sport studio Michael Owen said Zaha dived for the penalty. He would know, wouldn’t he? Scouse wanker! Though, to be fair, former referee Graham Poll also said he thought it was a dive. I detest diving so if it was indeed a dive then maybe we got what we deserved?
In any case, we collected 5 bookings so we will receive a fine and be asked to explain ourselves to the Premier League. Happy days are here again…
Verdict: A great point for us. Manchester City were tired and rested players, but so did we!
|Crystal Palace (433)||6.80||Manchester City (433)
|Kelly (Dann 20′)
Puncheon (Cabaye 75′)
Lee Chung-Yong (Puncheon 90+6)
|Aguero (Jesus 23′)
Sterling ( Gundogan 57′)
Toure (Silva 81′)
Match rating courtesy of WhoScored.
|Ball Possession %
Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.