"It's Not Bad Luck"... Pep Guardiola Says Man City's Draw Against Crystal Palace Was Well Deserved.

Manchester City were pegged back from 2-0 up in dramatic fashion to draw at home again to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

With the Premier League defending champions missing the injured Erling Haaland, they dominated the Eagles in possession at the Etihad stadium.

They took control courtesy of a first half after Jack Grealish combined with Phil Foden to give the host a deserved lead in the 24th minute, by sliding the ball into the corner of the net from his England teammate's pinpoint pass.

It was Grealish's third goal in as many league games, as the goal was allowed after a lengthy VAR check for offside.

Within moments into the second half, City did have their second as Grealish's pass ricocheted off Rodri and the ball fell to Rico Lewis for a close-range finish in the 54th minute, the 19-year-old's first Premier League goal being confirmed after a VAR review.

With Crystal Palace being out of form and ravaged by injuries, debutant Dean Henderson subsequently made a fine save to keep out a Bernardo Silva shot, City looked to be cruising, but the visitors pulled a goal back in the 76th minute when a long ball found Jeffrey Schlupp and he sent the ball to Jean-Plilippe Mateta, who slid it in.

The goal made for a tense final minutes of the encounter, and deep into stoppage time City fans' fears were realised as Foden fouled Mateta in the box, referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, and Michael Olise calmly dispatched the ball past Ederson in the 95th minute to ensure the points were shared between both teams.

City had 75 per cent possession and 19 shots to Palace's five. Roy Hodgson's side only had two attempts hit the target, and both of them resulted in goals.

The 2-2 draw with Palace leaves City fourth in the table and they have only won one of their last six Premier League outings. 

City are still searching for a first league win at the Etihad since they dispatched Bournemouth 6-1 on November 4.

Sacrificing leads late on has become a problem for the treble winners in recent times, it is the fifth time in six league games they have dropped points having done same against Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and lost to Aston Villa prior to last Sunday's 2-1 win at Luton Town.

An dramatic visit to Chelsea could have ended 4-3 until Cole Palmer converted a 95th-minute penalty in mid-November. 

All was fine and dandy against Liverpool until Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a blinder in the 80th minute to make it 1-1. 

And then there was the clash against Spurs early in December, when Dejan Kulusevski's 90th-minute strike made it 3-3 result, rescuing a point for Ange Postecoglou's men.

Pep Guardiola believes his Man City players must take ownership for two dropped points against Crystal Palace - and not blame it on 'bad luck'.

"It was not bad luck" - Guardiola said.

"You see the chances we created and conceded it's quite similar to all this season apart from the game, but we are not able to close the games. That is the feeling.

"At the end, be patient and don't concede transitions and don't concede like we have done in seven or eight years in these type of games.

"But of course in the first action they run and score a goal and in the last minute we give them [a penalty]. In the 18-yard box you have to be careful and we weren't. We don't deserve to win."

It was City's last match before heading to Saudi Arabia for the FIFA Club World Cup, and a semi-final with Japan's Urawa Reds on Tuesday evening. 

Rather than move to second place, the result leaves the Citizens fourth in the table, three points behind leaders Liverpool, who host rivals Man United at Anfield on Sunday.

While a point gained is a significant boost for Roy Hodgson's 15th-placed Palace after the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool last week had made it six losses in eight games.

Explaining how he masterminded such a result against Guardiola’s side, Hodgson said at his post-match press conference: 

“I was really pleased with the team, from the first minute to the last, for the way that the players stuck to a gameplan and tried to make it work, and cause at least Man City a few more problems in terms of creating chances than they are sometimes used to.

“It was not just a question of resilience – it was a question of spirit and determination as well. If we’d have wanted excuses for a defeat today, we had loads and loads of them.

“When you have seven players injured and five of them are regulars in the attacking positions, we’ve got even more reason to say “well done today boys” 

“As it happens, we got to 2-1 which gave us some hope I suppose and we then thought, we will take a few chances now and we will have a go at it and luckily it paid off for us.

“The masterplan was decided by the fact we had to get our best and most senior players on the pitch, because we have so many missing. It meant finding a way of getting both [Joel] Ward and [Nathaniel] Clyne on the field. We did that by moving Ward in one and played with five at the back.”

Palace return to action when they host Brighton in the league on Thursday December 21, while City next Premier League match is a trip to Everton on December 27.


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