Leroy Sane failed to find a way past Crystal Palace
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Manchester City’s record-breaking winning run is over but they will feel relieved to have left Crystal Palace with a point.
City, chasing a 19th successive Premier League victory, were frustrated by a resolute display from the Eagles as they dropped points for the first time since August.
Palace became the first top-flight team this season to keep a clean sheet against the leaders but it could have been so much better for the hosts, as they missed a late penalty.
City are 14 points clear at the top heading into the New Year, while Palace remain 17th but move a point away from the relegation zone.
City began promisingly at Selhurst Park but struggled for their usual fluency.
Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt tested Ederson with a powerful strike from 25 yards that forced the goalkeeper to tip wide, but the visitors otherwise frequently stretched Roy Hodgson’s team and were a constant threat on the counter.
Scott Dann cynically brought down Kevin De Bruyne on the edge of the area in the 19th minute, despite having so little chance of winning the ball, and hurt himself making the challenge. The stand-in captain had to be taken off on a stretcher, and replaced by Martin Kelly, a full-back playing out of position in central defence.
When De Bruyne then fed Gabriel Jesus, who turned on the edge of area before seeing his low shot comfortably saved by the recalled Wayne Hennessey, it seemed a further sign of their growing momentum but instead proved the opposite.
Jesus was almost immediately afterwards substituted in tears, and though Sergio Aguero then came on their goal-threat was not the same thereafter.
The normally devastating understanding between De Bruyne and Leroy Sane was tested by a misplaced pass, and when the Belgian cut back to Aguero in front of goal on the stroke of half-time, he watched the striker shoot wide.
Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure were introduced as second-half substitutes, but amid the hosts’ conviction and organisation, only with a half-volley from Sane that struck Hennessey in the face did they come close to scoring.
The in-form Wilfried Zaha created a fine chance for Andros Townsend directly in front of goal with a low cross the winger wasted by shooting harmlessly high and wide, and was then brought down by Sterling in the area.
He had already appeared to have been fouled outside of the area when he went down inside it under Sterling’s challenge, but when Jonathan Moss harshly pointed to the penalty spot, City were not punished.
Luka Milivojevic unconvincingly struck his effort down the centre of Ederson’s goal, leaving the Brazilian with a comfortable save and ensuring that even if City’s winning run was coming to an end, they remain undefeated in the league.