Crystal Palace stunned Manchester City on Saturday, with strikes from Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher earning the Eagles a 2-0 win at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s 200th Premier League game in charge of Manchester City was spoiled by a magnificent display of youthfulness and flair from Crystal Palace.

Patrick Vieira’s side were very bright and on the front foot in the initial phase. They got off to a perfect start, with Wilfried Zaha finding the back of the net inside six minutes. Conor Gallagher stole the ball off a snoozing Aymeric Laporte before feeding through to Zaha, who just managed to squeeze the ball across Ederson Moraes into the net.

Aymeric Laporte’s terrible afternoon soon turned into a disaster in first-half stoppage time. Zaha twisted, turned and rolled his man, getting ready to charge down on goal, only for the Spaniard to wrestle and drag his shirt before knocking him down in an outrageous manner. After a short and definitive VAR check, Laporte was seen pulling and wrestling as the last man and was dismissed, curtailing a fractious close to the first half.

Manchester City reacted strongly after the interval, with a blue swarm of shirts vying for possession. The hosts had a slew of openings, but Palace were quick to press and smother the threat. Another key strategy was to supply Zaha with a mid-range pass and test City’s high line.

Around the hour mark, two goals were scored, but both were chalked off for offside. Zaha believed he had doubled the advantage before Gabriel Jesus’s flying equaliser was also disallowed. Gallagher’s late goal sealed Palace’s 2-0 win. Beginning and ending a slick counter-attack, the 21-year-old calmly and powerfully thrashed Michael Olise’s lay-off, sending Palace fans into dreamland.

The result helped Crystal Palace in rising up to 13th in the Premier League table, while Manchester City remained 3rd with 20 points, falling five points behind Chelsea, who beat Newcastle United 3-0 on Saturday. After an engaging encounter at the Etihad, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over both sets of players.

Manchester City

Ederson Moraes: 5/10

The Brazilian goalkeeper should have done better with Zaha’s opening goal and was quick to commit in a 1v1 against the Ivorian international to concede for the second time, but that was thankfully ruled out for offside.

Kyle Walker: 6/10

Kyle Walker was not at fault for any of the goals, but he fell short in his defensive output. The Englishman failed to make a single block or clearance, and did not help a struggling defence to deal with Zaha’s pace. He romped forward on occasions, sending some fantastic balls into the penalty area.

Ruben Dias: 7.5/10

The Manchester City skipper was perhaps his side’s best defender on the day. He was characteristically assertive, stubborn, and resilient at the back, finishing with a match-high eight tackles. Showed calmness and composure in dealing without a partner for around 10 minutes.

Aymeric Laporte: 2/10

The Spanish international was terribly sloppy on the ball and was caught out in possession in the build-up to Palace’s opening goal. Later on, Laporte received his marching orders for denying Zaha a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Joao Cancelo: 6.5/10

Although sluggish in possession, Cancelo handled things effectively at the back and completed four ball recoveries. He made three interceptions but was overall average on the day.

Rodri: 6/10

A fantastic passer, Rodri kept everything ticking with insurmountable distribution and a steady presence in front of the backline, but he was helpless to stop both Palace goals. However, the Spaniard could have been a little tight to his man leading up to the first goal.

Bernardo Silva: 5/10

As usual, Bernardo Silva was energetic and silky in possession but has to be held responsible for lack of inventiveness or goal threat. A poor performance from the Portuguese.

Kevin De Bruyne: 5/10

The Belgian had a frustrating game, as he could not create a single chance or key pass. He also lost the ball carelessly on a whopping 21 occasions and struggled to aim for his passes as nobody was inside the box when the ball landed on his feet.

Gabriel Jesus: 6.5/10

There was some dynamic movement from wide, and a few exhilarating, straight, driving runs at his opponents. The Brazilian had a considerably greater influence after he started to get on the end of things and was unfortunate to have a goal chalked off for offside. He should only be used out wide when City get a recognized striker.

Phil Foden: 6/10

Foden had several nice moments of interplay and also delivered with some good balls; no wonder that nobody was there to tuck the chances away. He failed to register a single shot in the game. Seemed to have assisted Jesus with a wonderful cross, but that was chalked off after the Englishman was deemed offside in the build-up.

Jack Grealish: 7/10

Grealish showed glimpses of his brilliance with swift moves around the box, and he drew plenty of fouls. With De Bruyne struggling to provide a spark, Grealish stepped up to embrace the creative burden and completed five key passes. He never was a direct threat at goal, though, as he failed to get off a single shot on target.


John Stones: 6/10

Stones showed his playmaking ability shortly after his entry, although he was overpowered late on by Palace’s energetic attackers. Stones will now get an extended run in the side and will hope to reclaim his spot for good.

Riyad Mahrez: 5/10

Mahrez put a header wide off the target. He barely had any involvement after coming on as a substitute for Joao Cancelo.

Raheem Sterling: 5/10

Sterling delivered a magnificent cross for Mahrez in injury time, but the Algerian headed wide.

Crystal Palace

Vicente Guaita: 7/10

Guaita was a vocal and confident presence between the sticks, making a couple of excellent saves, holding onto a strong Dias effort admirably. He took his time on every save and goal-kick to relieve the pressure on his side.

Joel Ward: 7/10

Ward was focused throughout, keeping a strong grip on his opponent and, in particular, keeping Grealish subdued in the final third. He also made a couple of crucial blocks to deny Grealish and Cancelo.

Joachim Andersen: 7/10

Andersen had a great positional sense which allowed him to shut the threat on multiple occasions. He was defensively very sound and completed two tackles, four ball recoveries and five clearances.

Marc Guehi: 8/10

A rock at the heart of the Crystal Palace backline, Guehi was solid and determined in defence while also continuously finding those calculated progressive passes. He also had the chance to double the advantage but headed above the crossbar.

Tyrick Mitchell: 8/10

The Palace academy product put up another impressive display. He just puts his head down and gets the job done. He was always willing to charge forwards to provide an outlet but never ceded his defensive duties, often precisely positioning himself to hinder City’s advances.

Cheikhou Kouyate: 8/10

Kouyate was restored into the playing XI ahead of Luka Milivojevic and did not disappoint. He screened the back four well, which gave James McArthur the license to venture wide, affecting the play knowing he was protected in the centre. A chaotic and robust presence, he played the role of destroyer admirably and successfully broke Manchester City’s rhythm, making five ball recoveries.

Conor Gallagher: 9/10

Gallagher put in a superb MOTM display. Showed great intense pressing to notch the ball and set up Zaha’s opener. The Chelsea loanee looked bright throughout the game with his darting runs, and his interplay caught the eyes as well. He was intelligent, tenacious and canny at drawing fouls. He created and finished Palace’s late counter-attacking move to secure all three points for the Eagles.

James McArthur: 7/10

The veteran had another decent outing; his work rate and energy to close down the spaces played a significant role in the victory. Alongside Kouyate, McArthur provided a solid base for the Palace frontline to embark on their attacks; it also handed Conor Gallagher the license to surge forward and use his creative assets.

Jordan Ayew: 6/10

Ayew was brought into the side for his defensive qualities. He worked hard and constantly tracked back to strangle the hosts’ left flank. But he was booked halfway through the opening half for a reckless challenge on Grealish. He also had a great goal-scoring chance just before getting subbed off but put his strike high and wide from inside the penalty area.

Wilfried Zaha: 8/10

Zaha was lively throughout the game and caused the Manchester City defence all sorts of problems with his trickery, subtle movements and deceptions. In addition, he managed to frustrate Laporte so much that he got sent off after being put under pressure with his turn.

Zaha scored his 50th Premier League goal to give his side the lead and constantly looked to make things happen with his relentless dribbling. An excellent display from the Eagles’ talisman.

Odsonne Edouard: 6/10

The Frenchman had a relatively quiet performance as he was provided with little service, with Zaha being the focal point of attack. Still, he was strong and composed in possession and offered a reliable outlet for his team while seamlessly integrating with Zaha.


Christian Benteke: 6/10

Benteke did not get many chances to shine, but his physical presence up top allowed Palace to go long when the ball was recycled late in the game.

Jeffrey Schlupp: 6/10

Schlupp came on for Odsonne Edouard and did not see much of the ball to affect the game.

Michael Olise: 7/10

A positive substitution from Vieira that enabled Crystal Palace to stay afresh in attack. Olise got a good assist for setting up for Gallagher’s late goal.

Comments 1

  1. John Mtz says:

    So so proud

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