The reminiscing all week of the tremendous win away at City last season left many of us fans hopeful if not a little fearful going into this fixture but the Eagles returned to South London with something to show for their efforts.
18th January 2020
Manchester City 2-2 Crystal Palace
Etihad Stadium, Ashton New Road, Manchester M11 3FF
REFEREE – Graham Scott
ASSISTANTS – Neil Davies, Derek Eaton, Jeremy Simpson (fourth official)
VAR – John Brooks, Adam Nunn (assistant)
Yellow cards – James McArthur (12), Jordan Ayew (25), Benjamin Mendy (57)
Cenk Tosun (39), Sergio Aguero (82, 87), Fernandinho (OG 90)
With chances few and far between at the Etihad, what looked a bold team selection was in fact the only opportunity to field eleven players with experience, Palace took what came their way to become unbeaten in Manchester this season. As a fan, the Eagles ran us through the mill in this one after taking the lead and then finding themselves in a losing position with minutes left to play, to end up taking a point. This team do not know when they are beaten and are exceptionally difficult to beat, but there were a number of impressive individual performances once again. With 30 points to their name before the opening month of the year is out, there is an opportunity to push on over the coming months and secure a highest finish in the Premier League to date.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
The first major referral was for a potential penalty when John Stones made a clumsy challenge on Wilfried Zaha in the penalty area. They have been given before, no contact was made on the ball but Zaha was clearly bundled over. The decision was no penalty when you could argue that it should have been a spot kick.
The second was after the referee awarded City a penalty as Jairo Riedewald attempted to clear a ball which ended up striking his hand. The decision was to overturn the award of a penalty by the referee, and rightly so as the hand was not in an unnatural position.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“I would guess that after City’s stunning performance at Villa last Sunday, many of our supporters were fearing the worst at the Etihad. However, the excellent result today, means we have gained 8 points from our last 4 visits to Manchester. A half decent return indeed!
Roy set us up perfectly with our players delivering a performance that earned us a well deserved point. VAR was again a talking point around a possible penalty with the challenge by Stones on Zaha in the first half and the handball by Riedewald in the second. On reflection both were correct decisions.
It was pleasing after a long wait to see us score with a set piece corner through a clinical headed finish by Tosun – a player that certainly has the attributes (Murray mark 2?) to fit in well with the way we set up. Particularly impressive though was despite our team resolutely holding on to a 1-0 lead until deep into the game and then conceding two late goals, was the character shown to equalise in the final minutes. It is a group of players that never accept defeat.
Any positive results against the top clubs require a collective team effort. Today every player gave at least a 7/10 performance with the midfield axis of McCarthy, McArthur and Kouyate providing an excellent defensive screen in front of our back four and ever reliable keeper Guaita. I’m sure there will be much debate regarding our overall man of the match but it’s Tosun in my book. Finally we have a target man to lead the line and one who can also pose a real goal scoring threat in the box. Onwards to our next game against the Saints on Tuesday and hopefully gain one of the three wins required to guarantee safety. Up the Palace!”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Reliable keeping once again by making the saves he is expected to and then some. Could do little with either of the goals.
34 MARTIN KELLY (6) – There was a worry that he would struggle up against Sterling but he did a fine job in what was a stubborn defensive display.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (8) – The stand in captain put his body on the line throughout this game. If you see the images of him after the final whistle, he looked like he had been through more than 90 minutes of football!
24 GARY CAHILL (7 – ASSIST!) – Questionable positioning for one of the goals but formed a formidable partnership at the centre of defence.
44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (7) – Another top performance from the makshift full back. Got away with one with the penalty award and rightly so. Replaced by 2 JOEL WARD (6) on 88 minutes who provided some much needed fresh legs, good to see him back from injury.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – While McArthur and McCarthy have taken much of the plaudits, the Senegalese international played his part alongside them in the midfield by providing the backline with plenty of protection.
22 JAMES MCCARTHY (7) – Excellent delivery from a corner to set up the opening goal, but he provided much more than that. It was his challenge that set us off up the pitch for the equaliser.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7 – BOOKED!) – The early booking did not deter him for the rest of the game as the Scot was an integral part of this huge team performance.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – ASSIST!) – Always a threat right until the end and popped up with a driving run to force the deserved equaliser.
9 JORDAN AYEW (7 – BOOKED!) – Shifted out wide and provided a more defensive performance that was required of him but was a threat with what possession he managed to get.
20 CENK TOSUN (8 – GOAL!) – Making his full debut for the club, scored his first goal and could have had more in a excellent all round display. Replaced by 21 CONNOR WICKHAM (6) on 81 minutes who played a big part in the equaliser by pressuring Fernandinho.
13 Wayne Hennessey, 2 Joel Ward, 6 Scott Dann, 21 Connor Wickham, 35 Sam Woods, 28 Gio McGregor, 40 Brandon Pierrick
31 Ederson, 27 Cancelo, 5 Stones, 25 Fernandinho, 22 Mendy, 17 De Bruyne, 8 Gündogan, 21 Silva, 7 Sterling, 10 Agüero, 20 Bernardo Silva
Substitutes – 1 Bravo, 2 Walker, 9 Gabriel Jesus (replaced David SIlva on 62 minutes), 16 Rodri (replaced Raheem Sterling on 89 minutes), 26 Mahrez (replaced by Riyad Mahrez on 73 minutes), 30 Otamendi, 47 Foden
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON – “We have only had Cenk for a week so we are still learning about him, but his performance was not only very professional but also technically very good. He’s going to be delighted with his debut and I hope he continues along those lines for the next 15 games, because there is a lot of football to be played.”
PEP GUARDIOLA – “We did everything to win the game and unfortunately in the end we lost two points because we could not stop the counter-attack. I told them to keep going, put more balls into the box and try to control Zaha on the counter-attack. It’s difficult to analyse when they shoot one corner have no more chances and we did many times and unfortunately could not win. We take it one game at a time.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Cenk Tosun (8.2) while the most shots were from Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero (6). The most tackles were by Gary Cahill (5) while the most dribbles were from Wilfried Zaha and Cenk Tosun (5).
- Team rating: 6.88 – 6.84
- Total shots: 25 – 5
- Shots on target: 6 – 3
- Possession: 72.3% – 27.7%
- Pass success: 90% – 64%
- Dribbles: 14 – 14
- Aerials won: 21 – 23
- Tackles: 14 – 19
- Corners: 14 – 2
- Dispossessed: 13 – 7
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace are 9th in the Premier League with 30 points from 23 games, a point ahead of Arsenal in 10th and a point behind Spurs in 8th.
NEXT THREE FIXTURES
21/01/2020 Southampton (h – 7.30pm)
01/02/2020 Sheffield United (h – 3pm)
08/02/2020 Everton (a – 12.30pm)