Crystal Palace ended their winning ways today, succumbing to a 2-0 loss to title chasers Manchester City.
It was always going to be a difficult game for Tony Pulis’ men and Edin Dzeko struck just four minutes in, nodding home a deep cross from a Yaya Toure.
City continued with expected dominance, keeping much of the possession and playing their passing football.
The Eagles showed promise however and after a shaky start the mid-table side soaked up much of the early pressure, getting forward towards the Holmsdale Road with pace while keeping the light blues at bay.
But as the half progressed Manuel Pellegrini’s men forced the issue and Toure added a goal to his assist, curling a left-footed effort into the top of the net in the 43rd minute.
Palace began the second half with intensity, seeing a corner punched away by City and England keeper Joe Hart and the ball taken from Jason Puncheon’s toes just outside the six yard box.
The north-west club were not without their chances, but as Pellegrini took Toure with Fernandinho on 64 minutes Palace’s defence were holding fast against the threat of a heavier loss.
The likes of Yannick Bolasie and Marouane Chamakh had glimpses of opportunity, while on 67 minutes Joel Ward fired just wide, sending chants of ‘we are staying up’ echoing around Selhurst Park.
Tony Pulis introduced attackers Glen Murray and Dwight Gayle, taking off Cameron Jerome and Chamakh, before bringing on Tom Ince for Bolasie as an exciting final 20 minutes got under way.
After Dzeko had a shot saved by Julian Speroni’s outstretched legs at one end, the Eagles then had a penalty shout turned down following a short free kick.
Pellegrini made his second substitution of the game in the 77th minute, with Stevan Jovetic coming on for Sergio Aguero.
On 86 minutes Alvaro Negredo replaced Dzeko. By then City were winding down the clock and in control, and the result looked a certainty.
In the end it was relatively routine for the big spenders – who could go top on goal difference if they win their game in hand – and Palace did not have enough about them to match them.
Although the Eagles have secured another season in the Premier League, they are set to host another tough game next Monday as first-place Liverpool visit Selhurst Park.
Follow us on Twitter @NewsShopperSprt
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Dann, Ward, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie (Ince 73), Chamakh (Gayle 69), Jerome (Murray 69). Subs not used: Hennessey, Parr, Dikgacoi, Gabbidon.