Manchester City boosted their hopes of retaining the Premier League title with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
City went into the game five points behind Arsenal but narrowed the gap courtesy of Erling Braut Haaland’s second-half penalty.
Palace manager Patrick Vieira was under pressure heading into the match, with his team yet to record a league victory during 2023.
Man City created the first chance when Nathan Ake got into a good crossing position, but Haaland stabbed the Dutchman’s cross over the bar.
Phil Foden was getting into the game and should have fired a shot on target but crossed instead. Palace defended the cross well.
Luka Milivojevic received a yellow card for a poor tackle on Rodri. From the resulting free-kick, the City midfielder put his header on target, but Vicente Guaita saved.
The two sides were level at the break, and they struggled to create much in the second half. Foden curled a free-kick toward the goal, but Guaita saved again.
Julian Alvarez replaced Foden and soon slalomed into the box, but he leant back and fired over from a decent position.
City had not fashioned many clear-cut chances, but Palace gave them one when Michael Olise inexplicably fouled Ilkay Gundogan inside the box.
Haaland stepped up to take the penalty and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to open the scoring.
The striker should have doubled the lead when City worked a brilliant chance, but he headed over from close range.
Man City closed out the game and reduced the gap on Arsenal to two points. The Gunners face Fulham tomorrow.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City: Player Ratings
Vicente Guaita (7/10) – He did not have much to do but did make two good stops to keep his side in it.
Nathan Clyne (6/10) – He did okay against Jack Grealish, but City’s deadly rotations pulled him out of position.
Joachim Andersen (7.5/10) – The Dane was superb today and did not give anything away.
Marc Guehi (7.5/10) – The centre-back looked very comfortable defending one of the best strikers in the world. He was imperious.
Tyrick Mitchell (7/10) – City did not get any joy around him. He put in a solid display to keep the left side protected.
Luka Milivojevic (5.5/10) – He was close to receiving his marching orders today and did not influence the game much.
Albert Sambi Lokonga (7/10) – The Arsenal loanee looked comfortable on the ball and moved it well. He helped break up a few dangerous attacks.
Jeffrey Schlupp (5.5/10) – The multi-faceted Palace man shuttled around. He did not have much to show for it.
Michael Olise (4.5/10) – Struggled defensively for most of the game. It culminated in him giving away a needless penalty when his side was holding the champions.
Wilfried Zaha (6/10) – He tried to be a talisman for his side, but as expected in games like this, his frustration got the best of him most times.
Jordan Ayew (5/10) – Huffed and puffed and didn’t do much.
Joel Ward (N/A)
Eberechi Eze (7/10)
Odsonne Edouard (N/A)
Naouirou Ahamada (6/10)
Ederson Moraes (7/10) – No shot on target to save. He had a field day.
John Stones (7/10) – Defended Zaha well and prevented him from doing anything dangerous.
Manuel Akanji (7/10) – He was solid against a Palace side that did not offer anything threatening.
Ruben Dias (7.5/10) – The Portuguese defender marshalled everything in front of him with authority. He gave nothing away.
Nathan Ake (7.5/10) – The former Chelsea man defended Olise well and still contributed going forward from left-back.
Rodri (7/10) – Moved the ball nice and well and won the ball when he needed to.
Bernardo Silva (6/10) – He pressed hard and took the ball in some nice areas but didn’t do much beyond.
Ilkay Gundogan (7.5/10) – The captain was massively influential in proceedings and won the penalty that gave his side the win.
Phil Foden (6/10) – He took his time to get going and struggled to make something happen.
Jack Grealish (6.5/10) – The former Aston Villa talisman struggled to find his way beyond his man 1v1, but his movement opened some space for others.
Erling Braut Haaland (8/10) – MOTM – Palace contained him well, but he still managed to decide the game with a well-taken penalty.
Kevin De Bruyne (7.5/10)
Julian Alvarez (7/10)
Kyle Walker (N/A)
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