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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019


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So we’re ready for the start of a big double header.

Man City travel to Crystal Palace as they seek to reclaim top spot, at least for a few hours before Liverpool play Chelsea.

It doesn’t look like an easy game for City on paper. They lost 3-2 to Palace at the Etihad earlier this season, while they could only draw with them at Selhurst Park last season.

Palace’s fortunes against the other top-six teams this season have been less impressive, however, losing seven and drawing two of these encounters.

City, who have won their last eight Premier League games on the trot, but suffered a disappointing midweek Champions League first-leg loss to Tottenham, could significantly add to the pressure on Liverpool to beat Chelsea at Anfield if they win.

However, a defeat would put the title race back in the Reds’ hands and serve as an enormous confidence boost ahead of their match at 4.30pm today.

Confirmation of today’s teams…

Give us your prediction.

Poll Results:

Man City win (96)
Draw (49)
Crystal Palace win (26)

We’re under way…


Unsurprisingly, Man City have started this game on the front foot.

Palace are sitting back and playing with a five-man midfield.


Sane plays a nice one-two with Silva down the left but Wan-Bissaka is alert to make a well-timed challenge on the German international.

You get the sense Palace will need plenty of that kind of assured defending in order to avoid defeat today.


According to Sky, 34% of the match so far has been played in Palace’s final third in comparison with 8% in City’s.

That said, the hosts have defended solidly, with their opponents yet to carve out a clear-cut chance.


Big chance for City!

David Silva evades the challenge of the City defender and finds space in the left-hand side of the box.

The Spanish international’s cross finds Sterling, who drags a first-time shot wide with the goal at his mercy.


City do what their good at — counter-attacking with ruthless efficiency.

De Bruyne goes some way towards justifying his place back in the team today by playing a perfectly weighted through pass for the onrushing Raheem Sterling.

Initially, the England star appears to have taken it too far, though he still manages to blast home an unstoppable shot into the top corner from a tight angle.

It’s a goal worthy of champions.


City are continuing to control this game and look fairly comfortable at the moment.

In previous games, they have almost become too lax though, so they need to avoid a similar situation in this instance.


Palace break through Townsend and Mendy cynically drags him back.

That appears to be a deliberate tactic from City and one aided by a referee who is so far reluctant to give yellow cards.

Down the other end, Sane beats Wan-Bissaka before forcing a decent save from Guaita with a shot from a tight angle.



De Bruyne charges through on the counter attack.

The Belgian international drills a low cross into the box, but it misses the runs of both Aguero and Sane.

City continue to look the much more threatening team.


How did that stay out?

Gundogan lofts a ball into the area that causes chaos in the box, with several City players primed to shoot.

It eventually ricochets out to De Bruyne, whose shot deflects just wide.


Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Premier League - Selhurst Park Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (centre) celebrates scoring. Source: Steven Paston


So half-time and Man City deservedly lead.

It’s been quite reminiscent of a number of their other recent matches, as they have taken a relatively early lead and played in cruise control since.

De Bruyne has been a standout, staking a claim for a place in the starting XI for their upcoming Champions League second leg with Tottenham — a sublime through pass was a particularly eye-catching moment amid an excellent first half for the Belgian player.

Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have both looked similarly lively, with the former taking his goal brilliantly.

Palace, meanwhile, have been workmanlike at the back and completely toothless in attack.


The second half has begun…


So close!

De Bruyne fires a dangerous ball across the box and fortunately for Palace, it deflects off Kelly and goes safely into the arms of Guaita.

It’s hard to see any outcome other than a City victory if the match continues its current pattern.


Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Premier League - Selhurst Park Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (left), Sergio Aguero (second left), David Silva (centre) and Ilkay Gundogan (right) appeal to match referee Martin Atkinson. Source: Steven Paston


City are so dominant at the moment that this game is verging on boring.

You get the sense that they could play with more intensity if required, but there is a stark conservatism about some of their passing and their general approach to this game.

According to Sky, they have completed 500 passes in comparison to Palace’s 154.


David Silva whips a cross into the box and Raheem Sterling is on hand to convert a simple finish from close range.

That appears to be game over now, with Sterling — most people’s choice as City’s standout performer this season — the likely match-winner.


De Bruyne’s improving form is another good news story for City today…


Palace threaten to get back in this game.

Milivojević crosses for Benteke, but the Belgian forward can’t get a proper contact on his volley and his attempt is comfortably saved by Ederson. 


It’s difficult to imagine this game today going much better for City.

They’re winning convincingly without having to stretch themselves unduly ahead of some crucial upcoming games.

Pep Guardiola is now feeling confident enough to rest certain stars, with Gabriel Jesus introduced in place of Aguero.


It’s now Palace’s turn to make a change, with Meyer replacing Townsend.

With the outcome no longer appearing in doubt, there is a complete lack of atmosphere now at Selhurst Park.


A glimmer of hope for Palace.

Out of nothing, Gundogan fouls McArthur on the edge of the area after some movement from Zaha, now in a central role, caused panic in the City defence.

Milivojević subsequently curls the free kick into the corner of the net to make the final few minutes interesting.


Palace make another change.

Sako replaces James McArthur.



Guardiola makes a change that shows he is not totally confident about seeing out this game.

A defender replaces an attacker, as John Stones comes on for Sane.


Man City seal their victory with a goal that has shades of offside.

They break and De Bruyne is key again, playing a perfectly weighted through pass that just eludes the last man Milivojević and finds Jesus.

The Brazilian makes no mistake with his finish, firing in a powerful low shot that beats Guaita at his near post.

So that’s that.

It was a deserved victory for City, who managed to prevail against a team that they failed to beat in their last two league meetings.

Pep Guardiola’s side dominated for almost all the contest, and put themselves in a commanding lead, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling the standouts.

Crystal Palace’s late goal may have created nerves in the City ranks, but a draw would have been scarcely merited, with the hosts second best for much of the game.

It was fitting that it was De Bruyne who provided the assist for the killer goal, and it’s now hard to see the Belgian international not starting in the Champions League against Tottenham owing to his influential performance today.

Right, that’s all from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to come and you can follow our Liverpool-Chelsea liveblog with Aaron Gallagher here.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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