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October 21 2019 4.10pm

Eagles mauled by rampant City

April 15 2019

Benteke borrows a City back to climb upon in a rare Palace attack

Benteke borrows a City back to climb upon in a rare Palace attack

Palace won away at the Etihad last December so could they actually do the double on Manchester City? Not a chance. The visitors were playing football at a level the Eagles could only dream about. Jamesey reports on a 3-1 home defeat.

No professional footballer would ever admit to not trying hard enough and the monumental task of trying to play a top side like Guardiola’s City must be intimidating.

But it did seem as though, possibly subconsciously, the Eagles were thinking – we’ve kept the club up in the Stacksomoulah and that’s “job done” so let’s take it easy now and think of sunny days on the beaches of Florida, Dubai (or wherever rich and privileged footballers go at the season’s end).

As for the game itself, when the ref blew for kick-off and Man City went smoothly into action, I was strongly reminded of Ridley Scott’s great movie “Gladiator”.

As the unsuspecting barbarians line up to face the Roman legions, Russell Crowe’s general tells his waiting soldiers that when he gives the signal – “unleash hell”.

I strongly exaggerate, of course, but the Palace team must have felt somewhat like those unfortunate rebels as firebombs, arrows, spears, mounted cavalry and even the Roman kitchen sink tore into them.

Even on those rare occasions when the red-and-blues actually had the ball they gave it away cheaply or were quickly dispossessed.

One hesitates to apportion blame on individuals when the entire team were lethargic and off-colour or at least made to look it. Had James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho been available, they might have been more effective than their stand-ins, Martin Kelly and Scott Dann?

Even Aaron Wan-Bissaka, usually impeccable, found the speed and trickery of City’s Leroy Sane too much for him at times. And how many more chances must Christian Benteke be given? He contributed nothing of consequence in the whole game and didn’t even get near enough to a goalmouth to miss it like he usually does.

City’s Raheem Sterling goes from strength to strength and after missing a sitter early on, went on to bang in two.

The story was much the same in the second half although the Eagles were given a flicker of hope late when Luka Milivojevic scored with a lovely free kick-from just outside the area.

Palace came briefly into the game. City seemed rattled by the danger of not sealing what had seemed like a foregone conclusion – three points nearer the Loadsadosh title.

However Gabriel Jesus made it three just before the final whistle for a 3-1 win for City. It could have been a lot more.

There are, of course, excuses. City are among the favourites to win the Champions League and the EPL title and even Roy Hodgson sadly admitted that the visitors were a far superior team.

Were the home supporters entitled to expect a little more effort and determination? This supporter thinks we were although some will, of course, disagree.

CPFC has had good reason to celebrate a seventh successive year in the top tier this coming August. If dire performances like this one, the timid effort against Spurs and the totally undeserved win against Newcastle, continue into next season, one thing’s for certain, there will be no celebrations for an eighth.

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