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Report: Palace secure 25-year first with determined City draw

Crystal Palace
Manchester City

Crystal Palace went unbeaten twice in the same league season against Manchester City for the first time since 1996/97 on Monday night, holding Pep Guardiola’s table-topping champions to a 0-0 draw.


  • Patrick Vieira names the same lineup that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • The first 15 minutes are lively in attack for Palace, with the south Londoners creating three clear chances to City’s one
  • City respond to Palace’s early efforts with a lengthy spell of pressure around the half-hour mark, creating three good opportunities inside a minute
  • The first-half ends level with several high-quality chances apiece, and Palace having weathered a trademark City storm
  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City
  • Palace return for the second-half looking bright, almost taking the lead through Cheikhou Kouyaté
  • Vicente Guaita makes a remarkable reflex save to deny Riyad Mahrez from range
  • City dominate possession throughout the final half an hour, with Palace sitting compact and restricting their openings
  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City

Crystal Palace stunned Manchester City with their 2-0 win at the Etihad last October, playing defensively assured, well-organised football. They began the reverse fixture against the champions in a similar fashion, sitting in compact, neat banks and pushing their guests wide. This time however they attacked with a far higher frequency, perhaps indicative of their growing confidence this season.

City’s class was, as ever, apparent, with Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez producing a handful of eye-catching though speculative runs from the channels. But chances were limited in the first 10 minutes, with Palace creating the only one of note when Wilfried Zaha struck the side netting on the end of an over-hit Conor Gallagher pass.

The next clearest opening again fell Palace’s way, arising in similar fashion with Jean-Philippe Mateta this time orchestrating the attack. The Frenchman played-in Michael Olise on the right and, under increasing pressure, the No.7 clipped the ball wide with the outside of his boot.

At the other end of the pitch City landed their first shot on target – Kevin De Bruyne shooting from range – and Bernardo Silva could only run the ball out of play as he reacted to the rebound.

But 15 minutes in and the attacking intensity remained with Palace as Mateta went from conductor to goal threat, using a series of stepovers to carve out space for a shot wide on the left which John Stones turned behind for a corner.

Stones then flexed his attacking muscles too with an effort that seemingly sailed out unimpeded but regardless earned a corner. Sustaining the rhythm of the opening exchanges, Palace broke swiftly once Grealish’s dead ball fell under their control; Mateta forcing a shot wide after Olise fed him at close range. The teenage winger’s surge from one box to the other was a particular contribution of note.

After the two teams were well-matched for the first 20 minutes in which the two teams were well-matched in terms of chances – with Palace if anything enjoying the more dangerous start – City began to respond.

The visitors enjoyed three alarming efforts in succession when Vicente Guaita expertly tipped over a close De Bruyne volley, Phil Foden had a long-range effort deflected behind and João Cancelo hit the post, with Aymeric Laporte striking the returning ball high.

City sustained their pressure in the remarkable fashion they’ve become known for, tightening the screw with a continuous push forward. But Palace held strong, and a break while Cheikhou Kouyaté received treatment allowed them to shift momentum somewhat back in their favour.

This showed with their first chance for 10 or so minutes: Joachim Andersen launching a rare cross which just evaded its targets.

By the whistle Palace could reflect on an eventful, high-tempo half against City in which they not only held strong defensively, but kept Ederson and his back four on high alert for large periods of time.

The second-half began in a similar vein to the end of the first: relatively well-matched going forward, and relatively eventful. City resumed their testing approach but again Palace created the first major chance.

This time the hosts attempted to cross the ball from various sources, and eventually Andersen ballooned a pass into the air, which Marc Guéhi knocked back up towards Kouyaté. The No.8 stretched high but was just out of reach to connect properly, heading the ball wide from a few yards.

The game continued to flow between the ends, with City creating a slightly more elegant chance soon after Palace’s. De Bruyne sought to finish a slick passing move with a low shot that struck the post, and Guaita was forced into a phenomenally fast recovery to return to his feet and tip over a stinging Mahrez shot.

After 65 minutes Patrick Vieira swapped Mateta and Olise for Odsonne Edouard and Jordan Ayew, seemingly shoring up his side for a battle in the last half an hour.

City seemed unflustered by their parity in the game, continuing to play their patient but intense way in the hope a lead would follow. This brought the game to something of a lull, with Palace playing the more conventional style seen against their guests.

But as the home net remained still and City’s chances remained tame, confidence grew in the stands and across the pitch, although Palace’s task was to maintain their cool as the atmosphere built.

A fizzing Zaha effort on the spin that flew into Ederson’s hands did little to calm the energised crowd, and time ticked away with the score still level; another determined and tactically astute result against City just minutes away.

Excitement turned to tension as stoppage time approached, with Guaita called upon repeatedly to keep out the visitors. Just moments remained on the clock as Selhurst burst into full-voiced, deafening sound to carry its team home, and carry its team home it did: Crystal Palace holding the champions to earn a historic point.

Palace: Guaita, Mitchell, Guéhi, Andersen, Clyne, Schlupp, Kouyaté, Gallagher, Zaha, Olise (Ayew 65), Mateta (Edouard 65).

Subs not used: Butland, Matthews, Ward, Tomkins, Riedewald, Eze, Benteke.

City: Ederson, Cancelo, Laporte, Stones, Walker, Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne, Grealish, Foden, Mahrez.

Subs not used: Steffen, Carson, Aké, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gündogan, Mbete, Sterling, Jesus.