Crystal Palace 2-1 Manchester City: Wasteful City sink their own title hopes for good (video)

1 Comment

Though the odds were already long before their Premier League clash between Crystal Palace on Monday, Manchester City’s title hopes appear to be completely dead following their latest slip-up, a 2-1 defeat at Selhurst Park.

Wilfried Zaha nearly put the hosts ahead with just 61 seconds on the clock, as Martin Kelly’s left-footed cross evaded Joe Hart and found Zaha all alone at the far post, but the 22-year-old’s shot was blazed over the bar, letting the Man City defense off the hook.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Manuel Pellegrini’s side was slow to find their way going forward, but once they got going, Palace were under siege for the next 20 minutes. Joe Hart’s quick distribution past the halfway line put Sergio Aguero in on goal in the 12th minute. Aguero rounded goalkeeper Julian Speroni, squared the ball to David Silva, whose shot was tipped over the crossbar by the head of Speroni as he rushed back in front of goal.

Silva and Aguero linked up once again seven minutes, this time the connection in reverse. Silva found Aguero centrally, 20 yards out in traffic. Aguero created the half-yard of space he needed to unleash his shot, fired through traffic and smacked Speroni’s far post with the ball rebounding back into play.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

The game’s first goal came in the 34th minute, when Scott Dann’s first-time shot was saved by the leg of Hart, but deflected into the path of Glenn Murray who was lurking at the back post, perhaps just in front of Martin Demichelis. Murray calmly put his foot through the ball and the hosts were on top, completely against the run of play (more than 2-to-1 possession held by City at that point).

The second half began just as poorly for City as the first half ended, as Jason Puncheon doubled Palace’s lead less than three minutes into the second period. Puncheon lifted his curling free kick from 25 yards out up and over the wall, then dropped the bottom out of it to beat Hart low and inside his left-hand post. (Current possession ratio: nearly 3-to-1 in favor of City)

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

source:
Yaya Toure pulls one back for City

City continued their dominance of possession through the second half, but failed to create anything with it, until the 71st minute. With 19 minutes left to play, Fernandinho saw his left-footed shot deflected by Yannick Bolasie, but the ball remained goalbound before Murray seemed to intentionally knock the ball down with a raised hand. No penalty given.

Fernandinho saw another chance go begging two minutes later, as James McArthur somehow managed to clear his effort and lift the ball over the crossbar from a yard and a half out.

The breakthrough finally came for City in the form of Yaya Toure’s thunderous, left-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area. Toure hit the ball hard and low, around Speroni as it nestled itself just inside the far post. With 78 minutes left to play, City’s entire season was given a lifeline but the miracle of the 2011-12 season’s final day wasn’t to be recreated on this night in south London.

With their latest disappointing defeat, City now find themselves nine points off the pace of leaders and champions-elect, Chelsea, who still have a game in hand. Palace have leapfrogged Everton for 11th place, just three points below Stoke City for a place in the top half of the Premier League.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly, McArthur, Ledley, Puncheon, Bolasie (Souare 84′), Zaha (Gayle 88′), Murray (Sanogo 83′)

Goals: Murray (34′), Puncheon (48′)

Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Navas (Nasri 77′), Fernandinho (Milner 88′), Toure, Silva, Dzeko (Lampard 66′), Aguero

Goal: Toure (78′)

El Tri winger Jurgen Damm headed for MLS this summer

Jurgen Damm
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images
Leave a comment

This season’s Liga MX invasion of MLS continues with Jurgen Damm announcing that he’ll leave UANL Tigres this summer after five years with the club.

TUDN has the destination as Atlanta, though previous reports have linked Damm to the LA Galaxy is the spot.

And MLSSoccer.com scribe Tom Bogert says the Houston Dynamo have his “discovery rights” (which remains the worst concept in the entire league).

Reports emerged over the past 48 hours that the El Tri man was headed for an MLS club.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 12-times capped winger has one goal for Mexico, but has not been capped since Oct. 2018. He has spent his entire career in Liga MX.

Damm spent the early part of his career with Tecos and Pachuca, but has been with UANL Tigres since 2015.

He won four league titles with UANL, as well as the 2018 Campeones Cup.

Ex-Arsenal man Gnabry: “London’s still red” after Bayern beats Chelsea

Serge Gnabry
Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry still has love for the club.

Gnabry tweeted that “London is still red” after he scored twice for Bayern Munich in a 3-0 beating of Chelsea on Tuesday in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

This after scoring four times against Spurs in a previous Champions League group stage match and Tweeting that “North London is Red.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

So what’s with the London form?

“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” Gnabry said after the game. “A lot of them were in the stands tonight, and it seems they give me a lot of good power.”

Gnabry only scored once during his time in England with Arsenal and West Brom but is a bona fide star in the Bundesliga.

With a three-goal advantage over Chelsea heading to Munich for a second leg, however, he’s not got his head in the clouds.

“Three goals ahead gives us a little bit of confidence, but we need to be prepared for the second leg. We can’t take it not seriously enough. … We’ve seen it last year with Liverpool beating Barcelona, so we have to be careful. We have to go into the second leg with all of our focus.”

Gnabry now has 51 goals and 29 assists in four seasons since returning to Germany from Arsenal. Not terrible production for a player the Gunners offloaded to Werder Bremen for under $6 million in 2016.

What color will London be when Chelsea buys him next year? We kid, we kid…

Champions League preview: Real Madrid renews rivalry with Pep; Lyon hosts Juve

UEFA Champions League preview
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The final two ties of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 begin Wednesday when Manchester City and Juventus head to Spain and France.

The focus for many will be on the former, as City continues to weather UEFA drama while its manager prepares for his fiercest foe as a player and manager.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Pep Guardiola has managed against Real Madrid 17 times and boasts a 9-4-4 record between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalan wizard has lost his last three versus Real, two with Bayern and once in his final El Clasico as Barca boss.

Even as Guardiola stresses preparation and plan, he knows there will be bounces and that both teams will have to cope with them.

“We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck,” he said, via The Manchester Evening News. “At this stage, it’s important but we cannot control that. We can control what we can control and we will see. This competition, last season, against Liverpool, there are decisions. You have to overcome. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan plus try to be a little lucky.”

Real Madrid living legend Sergio Ramos has earned the ire of Guardiola on plenty of occasions, one of the few things Liverpool and City fans have in common.

Ramos wouldn’t get drawn into rivalry talk, sying the stage somewhat negates the opponent.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Ramos said via the club’s web site. “I think he’s a fantastic coach, with loads of experience, and his numbers speak for themselves. We’re motivated by the Champions League, regardless of the players or coaches who may have been rivals in the past. We’re up for the Champions League and our next task is to beat City. From a personal point of view, I’m just focused on making the next round.”

[ MORE: Key battles for Real-Man City ]

Wednesday’s other match sees a club long linked with Guardiola, as Juventus will play the role of heavy favorites against Lyon.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side is to bidding to win what’s eluded all Juve bosses since Marcello Lippi beat Ajax in 1996. If they succeed, it will be by going down a different path than it’s traveled in recent years.

Here’s Leonardo Bonucci, via Football-Italia:

“What the coach asks of us now is basically the opposite of what the previous coach did,” Bonucci mused. “It was usually individual against individual, now it’s more about organized team movements. Obviously, you need to train consistently to get that down and playing every three days makes it difficult. But we started this journey well aware of the positives it could bring and the difficulties of getting there.”

Lyon has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, sitting seventh in the Ligue 1 table, but has the tools to surprise if Juve doesn’t bring its best. That starts in France on Wednesday.

Lampard: Chelsea first leg loss ‘quite sobering,’ ‘harsh lesson’

Frank Lampard
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard isn’t sugarcoating his side’s 3-0 first-leg loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you have to be brutally honest about it,” he said in televised remarks after the loss. “It’s quite sobering.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Lampard admitted that Bayern was firing on all cylinders at Stamford Bridge, and proffered tepid support for the idea of an unlikely comeback in Germany next month.

“The level of team they showed that they are, hence why they challenge in the Bundesliga and the Champions League,” he said, via Football.London. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t do better against them. It’s a reality check. Don’t look at anyone else apart from yourself.”

“We should never say the door is closed because our fans would never accept that. I’m more concerned with the bigger picture here. There’s a lot to be done.”

Sure is.

Chelsea leads fifth-place Manchester United by three points in the top four race and has a four-point edge on sixth-place Spurs in the scenario that fifth is enough for Champions League football.

That’s important because the UCL path back to the tournament looks like a massive ask. And Lampard said the players need to use Tuesday’s blowout loss at home “as a positive effect” moving forward.

But he also put it pretty plainly during his post-match comments.

“It was a harsh lesson,” Lampard said. “This is Champions League football.”