’s winning run finally came to an end against on Sunday afternoon as ’s side held the league leaders to a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.
Here are five things we learned from the New Year’s Eve game…
Should City have signed Van Dijk?
City are in the market for a new central defender in January and was one of those on Guardiola’s list – despite the Spaniard’s insistence that, once Liverpool confirmed the world-record fee for a defender, he was not in fact ever interested. But should he have been?
There was an early heart-in-mouth moment at Selhurst Park as put pressure on and the defender’s indecisiveness saw Ederson’s clearance blocked and could have been a lot worse than it was. With the continual injury problems to , City need back-up in that position, be it or .
Is Zaha is the best non-‘Big Six’ player?
Possibly. Other candidates include the likes of and Jamie Vardy but has the pace, dribbling ability and x-factor to be a strong candidate for the title of ‘best of the rest’ – and the way he won the penalty late on proves that constant threat.
It is hard to criticise him on this showing however, as he often provided Palace with an outlet from relentless City attack and was able to carry the ball from inside his own half to the byline to relieve pressure. He also got the better of – one of the best right-backs in the league – at times with his mazy dribbles. Is it only a matter of time before another top six side swoops for him?
Gundogan like a new signing
Since joining Manchester City, ’s career – like his final season at – has not gone to plan. Injury after injury has stopped him from becoming a regular in Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect. He did manage a short spell last season where he was fit and looked back to his best as he added both goals and assists and against Palace there were glimpses of what he can bring to the side.
In Fernandinho they have a holding midfielder who has simply become irreplaceable but Gundogan has shown he can fill the void left by alongside the Brazilian. The challenge for the German now, though, is being able to stay fit and Guardiola’s management of him will be key in that.
Palace make Newcastle’s tactics look embarrassing
Much was made about Newcastle United’s negativity when City arrived at St James’ Park on Wednesday as instructed his side to sit back, defend and have as many men behind the ball at all times. They avoided a hiding – coming away with a 1-0 defeat – but City were guilty of missing a number of big chances.
Palace, however, in a similar league position to Newcastle, really came out to have a go at City and test this so-call creaky defence. And their positivity was rewarded with chances to score and made it a much more entertaining spectacle. Roy Hodgson should be applauded for adopting this tactic rather than setting up his side up for a best-case scenario 0-0 draw.
New Year’s Day marks ’ one-year anniversary of being a Manchester City player, but it was one that ended in tears in south London. The Brazilian’s form has wavered in recent weeks and he has found himself starting most games on the bench with Guardiola’s first-choice forward. But he was given his chance against Palace as City rotated.
It lasted only 20 minutes though, as Jesus finally succumbed to a knee injury picked up 10 minutes earlier. It was an innocuous one too, which makes it all the more worrying for Guardiola and City. You have to feel for Jesus, but perhaps some time out from the first-team will allow him to mentally recover from a gruelling – and very impressive – debut year in the .