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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Selhurst Park

Eagles' hopes of a shock snuffed out by the Man City tourniquet

Crystal Palace (1) 2 Mateta 3, Edouard 86

Manchester City (1) 4 De Bruyne 13, 70, Lewis 47, Haaland 66

Palace made a fist of it. They fed off scraps of possession. Took the lead. Hit the bar. Stayed in contention for three-quarters of the game. But in the end, that familiar full-court press from the champions proved just too much.

Jean-Philippe Mateta's fourth goal since Oliver Glasner arrived gave the Eagles something to build on, coming as it did after just three minutes. A great pass forward from Adam Warton caught the City defence flat-footed and Mateta raced on to slide the ball home in off the far post.

But it was too much to expect that alone to get anything out of this one. City are now motoring with the title finishing line starting to come into view. They have seven games left after today and you wouldn't be at all surprised if they won them all.

The Eagles managed to get to the break all-square, with Jordan Ayew almost scoring a second when he robbed Rodri and clipped the top of the crossbar after striding on into shooting range.

Yet the feeling was always that the sublime angled shot from Kevin de Bruyne above Dean Henderson and into the top corner for the equaliser was about to be the prelude to another away win for Pep Guardiola's men.

A goal at the start of the second half from Rico Lewis, followed by two in quick succession a quarter of an hour later from Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne confirmed that nagging feeling.

City had had so much of the ball around the Palace 18-yard box that their level of control was bound to bring them more joy and they eventually picked Palace apart - so much so that the Holsmedale Road drum was finally silenced.

Lewis scored from close range from a Jack Grealish cross but it was the quickfire double which really signalled the end of hostilities. Grealish ushered De Bruyne to the byline and a pull-back gave Haaland an easy tap-in. Then De Bruyne powered home a left-footer after Rodri had cushioned a Grealish cross into his path.

To their credit, the Eagles kept going. Glasner freshened up with subs and one of them, Odsonne Edouard, went close before grabbing a consolation, turning in a Schlupp cross driven to the near post. Michael Olise, given a big cheer on his arrival, bend a low shot just off target towards the end.

Judging Palace in a game against City is unwise - this was an eighth defeat in 10 league and cup ties at Selhurst against City, during which time they only scored twice and not won. Their last victory over City in south London was a whole nine years ago.

But the hard facts are that they remain on 30 points, maybe still needing a win or two to be safe and they travel to Liverpool next weekend.

They have had only two wins in 13 games since the start of 2024 - home wins against Championship-bound Burnley and Sheffield United. There is room for improvement.

Eagles: (3-4-3) Henderson - Ward, Andersen, Lerma - Munoz, Wharton, Hughes (Ahamada 82), Mitchell (Clyne 75) - Eze (Schlupp 64), Mateta (Edouard 74), Ayew (Olise 74)

City: (3-2-4-1) Ortega - Stones, Ruben Dias, Gvardiol (Akanji h/t) - Lewis, Rodri (Kovacic 74)- Bobb, De Bruyne (Silva 90+3), Alvarez (Nunes 74), Grealish - Haaland


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