Manchester City were stunned at the Etihad Stadium by a Crystal Palace side they had put four past in the Eagles’ previous two visits to Manchester.
Everything seemed on course for a routine win when Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring, but two quick-fire goals by Jeffrey Schlupp and a goal of the season contender from Andros Townsend turned things around.
When Kyle Walker conceded a penalty that Luka Milivojević converted, it seemed to be game over, but substitute Kevin De Bruyne’s own wonder goal (even if he didn’t mean it!) brought some hope. Unfortunately, City couldn’t find a third and lost at home in the league for the first time since April.
Here’s how we rated the players on a disappointing day at the Etihad.
Ederson – 5
It’s hard to rate him really, as his involvement was mainly limited to picking the ball out of the net. He completed 100% of his passes, but only made 16 of them. Could his positioning have been better for Schlupp’s goal or was it just that good? Townsend’s goal certainly can’t be blamed on Ederson, it was just one of those once-in-a-career level strikes.
Kyle Walker – 2
Oh dear. We hate to rate a player this low, but it was a truly terrible performance by the City right-back. Walker hasn’t been at his best for a while, but has been generally competent. Today, he just did everything wrong, helping Palace to their win with a series of mistakes. The worst was him stupidly conceding the penalty, which just about took the match out of City’s reach. We predicted Danilo to start this game and wish he had, as Walker needs a rest or some serious competition to fire him up.
Nicolas Otamendi – 6
Hauled off after 49 minutes as City looked to attack. He was generally fine in the first half, but we can’t help but feel that when the Laporte/Stones partnership is separated, it leads to a drop in quality and coherence at the back.
Aymeric Laporte – 6
Not at his best, but again there wasn’t a whole lot either centre-back could do about the goals – it was more a case of Palace taking their chances than a pure defensive horror show (aside from Walker).
Fabian Delph – 6
Created Gundogan’s goals with a perfect cross and deserves credit for that on a day when City struggled to create many clear-cut chances against a resilient Palace defence. Today’s captain is still not the answer at left-back though.
John Stones – 5
John Stones is not a defensive midfielder. Or to put it another way: City can get away with John Stones as a defensive midfielder in cup games, but not in a normal situation. Caught out several times today, Stones just isn’t comfortable in this role despite his enviable passing range. He’s one of the best centre-backs around, but Pep playing him in midfield highlighted the need for another player for the No. 6 role.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Scored City’s opening goal with a well-placed header from Delph’s cross, but didn’t do anything of note otherwise.
Bernardo Silva – 5
Bernardo is in a pretty bad moment, not showing his highest level and making less impact than he has previously. Despite some neat passing, he had no impact today.
Leroy Sané – 6.5
Always looked the most likely to create something with his direct runs down the left, it was a solid performance by Leroy. Almost scored with a free kick but unluckily hit the post.
Raheem Sterling – 5
His best moment came just before he was withdrawn, a delightful run through the Palace defence. Otherwise, he struggled against a stubborn, well organised Eagles backline.
Gabriel Jesus – 5
After a return to form with goals against Everton, he was a non-entity today. De Bruyne handed him a great chance to level it late on, a free header, but Jesus put it over the bar. Not the easiest chance ever, but a top striker should test the goalkeeper there.
Sergio Aguero – 5
About as effective as Jesus – not at all. Yet to find his rhythm after injury.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6.5
A difference maker for City, scoring an incredible goal that was meant as a cross but somehow found the goal. He then created Jesus’ chance that could have salvaged a point for City. An impactful appearance off the bench by KDB, who is going to be crucial in the months ahead.
Riyad Mahrez – 5