Manchester City have given Liverpool a further hope of Premier League title after drawing with Crystal Palace. The Citizens had beaten the Eagles 3-0, but saw their lead cut in half by two goals from Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic in the second half on Saturday evening.
Manchester City gave Liverpool further hope after a puzzling draw with Crystal Palace. Manchester City managed to pull off a 3-3 draw in the Premier League on Saturday, but Liverpool still have work to do. Read more in detail here: man city vs liverpool.
Manchester City and Kevin De Bruyne were held to a disappointing stalemate by Crystal Palace. courtesy of Getty Images
When Pep Guardiola walked onto the Selhurst Park pitch at full-time after a goalless draw with Crystal Palace, he had one person in mind.
He strolled passed his Manchester City teammates, who had failed to score after dominating the previous 90 minutes, resulting in a 0-0 stalemate in south London, putting Liverpool solidly in the Premier League championship chase.
After a game that was happily devoid of refereeing controversy, he strolled past referee Martin Atkinson.
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Instead, Guardiola went directly to Vicente Guaita, the Palace goalie. The City leader refused to comment on what was said beyond “congratulating him on a wonderful performance and his saves,” but it was a long, animated meeting.
City sent 18 shots at Palace’s goal. With the 14 goals they scored in the reverse game in October, they have the most goals without scoring in the Premier League this season.
Guardiola stated that he had other players in mind before complimenting Guaita, notably making a substitute to liven up a front line that was going blank.
Guardiola stated, “I was thinking about that, Gabriel [Jesus], Gundo [Ilkay Gundogan], but the others were performing well.” “The game was moving quite well, so I decided to stick with these men.”
Guardiola didn’t make a single replacement in a game that City needed to win in order to keep a four-point advantage over Liverpool. It’s not the first time: Guardiola has made no substitutes on four occasions since English football restarted following an enforced suspension due to COVID-19 in June 2020. In the same time span, no other manager has done it more than twice.
This was, however, the first time he had opted not to interfere in a game in which his team had lost. Even as the three points started to fade from view, Raheem Sterling, Jesus, and Gundogan seldom warmed up with any purpose. If he was really considering altering things, it never appeared to be very near to becoming a reality. The outcome always impacts perceptions of such decision-making, but it seemed strange in the immediate aftermath.
Guardiola was correct in asserting that his side was playing well, monopolizing the ball in classic Guardiola way — but without the entire dominance that allows Palace to threaten on many times when counter-attacking.
Palace’s work ethic was exemplified by Conor Gallagher. The 22-year-old travelled 12.5 kilometers in pursuit of City as they searched for an opening, the most distance covered by any Palace player in a Premier League game this season.
Gallagher has been on top of that statistic in 15 of his 25 league appearances since joining Chelsea on a season-long loan.
Palace’s goal, on the other hand, never resembled the Alamo. Guaita only had to save four efforts on goal, and just one of them was memorable: a second-half reflex save from Riyad Mahrez after Kevin De Bruyne struck the post on 57 minutes.
Despite Guardiola’s full-time response, this was hardly a brilliant performance deserving of particular mention. Patrick Vieira, his opposite number, emphasized the idea by concentrating on how his goalie “controlled the game” by effectively timewasting to relieve the strain on his backline, enabling them to fill their lungs again after a night of chasing down the ball nearly nonstop.
City lost points due of their own wastefulness. Bernardo Silva was the worst offender, wasting the visitors’ two greatest chances: a 14-minute miscontrol with the goal at his mercy and a second-half effort over from Jack Grealish’s 71st-minute cross.
Aymeric Laporte will squirm uncomfortably as he watches the two chances that came his way. Joao Cancelo struck the post soon before the half-hour mark, and Aymeric Laporte will fidget uncomfortably as he watches the two opportunities that came his way.
For a City team that created much but failed to score for the first time in 19 games since losing to Palace at Etihad Stadium over five months ago, the repercussions can’t be far-reaching.
They’ve provided Liverpool with a significant motivation for their trip to Arsenal on Wednesday, knowing that a win there in their game in hand would put them one point behind City with nine games remaining. The importance of Liverpool’s April 10 visit to Man City has increased, and Guardiola will relish the idea that the championship is still in their hands as much as it is for Jurgen Klopp’s team.
On evenings like these, it’s tempting to speculate what would have occurred if City had signed Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo last summer. After all, there’s a reason they’ve been connected with a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland at the conclusion of the season, despite their overall consistency.
And if they lose the Premier League championship to Liverpool again this season, the inquiry will not center on their defense, which is still the finest in the league and the cornerstone of last season’s title victory.
“I’m not sure whether a striker, like you said, would help us win the game because I’m not sure,” Guardiola remarked.
Of course, he is correct. But, because to Guardiola’s inaction here, we’ll never know whether City would have won if he had used all of his alternatives.
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