Aymeric Laporte is sent off as Manchester City lose to Crystal Palace. Credit: Getty.
Manchester City suffered a second defeat in four days as they lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The champions went one down in the sixth minute with Wilfried Zaha pouncing on a defensive mix-up between City centre-backs Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte. He flicked the ball to the excellent Conor Gallagher who laid it back into his path, before Zaha lashed it past Ederson.
The Palace pair combined again in the latter stages as Zaha teed-up the midfielder to smash his strike off the inside of the post and kill any late hopes of a City comeback.
The hosts, who weren’t at their fluid best all afternoon, were significantly weakened in the second period following the dismissal of Laporte just before the break. Gabriel Jesus also had a goal ruled offside just after the hour mark with Phil Foden fractionally offside in the build-up.
The result means City have lost twice in the league this season and now trail leaders Chelsea by five points after 10 games.
- Wilfried Zaha: He may not have had the most productive spell at Old Trafford, but it’s always a special moment for a former Manchester United player to score at the Etihad. That was also Zaha’s 50th Premier League goal and his first against City.
- Patrick Vieira: The Palace boss is showing he’s got what it takes to cut it as a manager in the Premier League and a win against Pep Guardiola will only enhance his reputation. Vieira got his tactics just right at the Etihad and Palace were well organised at the back, energetic in midfield and picked their moments to hit City on the break.
- Chelsea: With Liverpool also dropping points, it leaves Thomas Tuchel’s men in a great position at the top of the table. They’re now three points clear of second-place Liverpool after 10 games.
- Aymeric Laporte: Partly at fault for Zaha’s goal, the defender then was dismissed just before the break for hauling the Palace forward to the ground around 30 yards from goal. It means he’ll also miss the Manchester derby next week at Old Trafford.
- Vicente Guaita: He was certainly the pantomime villain anyway, and he was jeered all afternoon by the home fans for what they saw as time wasting from the Palace No.13. A 86th-minute booking for the goalkeeper was perhaps the loudest cheer of the day in M11.
- Kevin De Bruyne: Still not firing on all cylinders, the midfielder was taken off on the hour mark on Saturday. There didn’t seem to be an injury, although we’ll wait for further confirmation on that from Guardiola. De Bruyne didn’t perform poorly but was far off his very best.
Manchester City: Ederson 6; Walker 6, Dias 6, Laporte 4, Cancelo 5 (Mahrez 78) ; Silva 5, Rodri 7, De Bruyne 6 (Stones 60; 6); Jesus 5, Foden 5, Grealish 5 (Sterling 78).
Crystal Palace: Guaita 6; Ward 7, Andersen 7, Guehi 7, Mitchell 8; Gallagher 8, Kouyate 8 (Olise 85), McArthur 7; Ayew 6 (Benteke 65;6), Zaha 8, Edouard 7 (Schlupp 73).
Man of the Match
There were a few candidates for the visitors, who were defensively superb against City. Cheikhou Kouyate was everywhere in centre-midfield and snuffed out repeated attacks in their infancy. The Senegalise also hadn’t started a game since mid-September and just shaded the man-of-the-match award in our eyes.
City are back at the Etihad in four days time when they play Club Brugge in the Champions League. The Blues are second in the group after three games and are two points ahead of the Belgians. Guardiola’s men then end the week with the much-anticipated Manchester derby at Old Trafford.