Five things we learned from Crystal Palace 2-4 Manchester City

Manchester City’s Premier League title challenge raged on as they came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 4-2.

Jean-Phillipe Mateta’s goal three minutes into the match was cancelled out by strikes either side of halftime from Kevin De Bruyne, Rico Lewis and Erling Haaland as Pep Guardiola’s men moved level with Liverpool at the top of the table. Substitute Odsonne Edouard scored late on for Palace but the result was already decided.

Here are five things we learned from the match…

Palace improvements under Glasner clear to see

Oliver Glasner’s image of Crystal Palace is starting to come to fruition, with his side putting on a strong performance against an inevitable Manchester City. The Eagles were strong in the press, dispossessing the visitors in the build up to their goal, which also showed off their ability on the counter. Despite falling behind early doors in the second half after a mixture of unlucky deflections and poor defending, it was definitely a performance the Palace fans can be proud of.

De Bruyne shows his class

In times of need, your top players always step up to the mantle when called upon. Kevin De Bruyne did just that when he scored a spectacular goal to bring City level in the 15th minute. The Belgian, who was rested in the week, was the main driving force behind Guardiola’s side’s comeback. He was a constant output for the visitors, as he picked up a further goal and assist in the second half to seal the victory. Guardiola is managing his minutes well, so keeping De Bruyne fit will be crucial for City’s title hopes.

Defensive mistakes from City a worrying sign

It is fair to say that City have not been as defensively solid as in previous seasons. Whilst there is no doubt in the ability, the visitors were very lax when they had the ball in the defensive third, most notably highlighted when Ruben Dias played the ball back to goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, unaware of Jean-Phillipe Mateta’s presence directly next to his keeper. The usually dependable Rodri looked sloppy at times whilst it took the second half emergence of Manuel Akanji to shore up City’s defence. If opponents follow Palace’s attacking methods from the first half, then they will cause Guardiola’s side some pain.

City youngsters step up when needed

It is a big call when you decide to entrust two young players during the run-in of one of the most enthralling title races in recent memory. That is exactly what Pep Guardiola did when he called upon Oscar Bobb and Rico Lewis from the start. Bobb showed off his bag of tricks throughout the match, stretching the Palace defence when City got on the counter, with the Norwegian defender a constant threat. Lewis joined Bobb on the right-hand side, and managed to grab a goal for himself when he fired in from close range to give City the lead. Guardiola is utilising his big squad well with more games yet to be played.

City now firmly the hunters

For years City have been the ones being hunted in the Premier League, but this season it feels different. Whilst Guardiola’s men appear to have regressed, their rivals for the title, Arsenal and Liverpool have definitely improved. However the Citizens should never be counted out, they were in a similar position last year when trailing Arsenal, when they clawed it back to win the title with games to spare. But with their two main competitors matching them stride for stride, it is looking increasingly difficult for City to retain their title.

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