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28 December 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 47107
E. Džeko 66'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this afternoon. Have a great evening.
FULL TIME - Man City 1-0 Crystal Palace: Maybe not the scoreline we were expecting but certainly the result that was predicted. The Citizens secure their 10th home win of the season and move back to the top of the league, though they can be displaced by Arsenal tomorrow. The Eagles were resilient and deserve credit for keeping the game so tight, but the extra quality of Pellegrini's side eventually told.
90' + 4'
Speroni hits it long but Palace can do nothing with it as the referee blows his whistle for full time.
90' + 3'
Nasri dances his way into the box but loses possession and in his haste to win it back he concedes a free kick.
90' + 2'
Clichy releases Negredo down the right and as he tries to drag the ball back and move inside of Delaney he slips and handles it. Free kick to the visitors.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional three minutes.
CLOSE!! A counterattack is launched as Hart throws the ball up to Nasri. He switches the play to Navas on the right and his cross is somehow met by Dzeko from an extremely acute angle. The ball heads back towards goal but lands on the roof of the net.
Yellow Card David Silva
Silva picks up a yellow card for a challenge on Williams. That rules him out of their visit to Swansea on New Year's Day.
Palace are putting an extra bit of effort in to close down their opponents quickly in these closing stages. Will they get another chance to try and find an equaliser?
Nasri attempts a give-and-go with Dzeko but the Bosnian's return pass is poor. A number of groans go up around the stadium, even though the striker may well be the scorer of the winning goal!
City are still playing in a very patient fashion and do not appear to be in a rush to try and add to their tally.
As things stand City will spend the night on top of the table, going two points clear of Arsenal, who play Newcastle United tomorrow afternoon.
Yellow Card Damien Delaney
Palace make their final change as Gayle, the hero at Villa Park on Thursday, replaces Bannan.
Delaney catches Navas with a high boot and can have no complaints as he is shown the first yellow card of the game.
City have enjoyed 80% of possession this half. They will feel it is a huge injustice if they somehow fail to take all three points this afternoon.
Kolarov plays a one-two with Nasri and whips in a brilliant early cross for Dzeko. The Bosnian attempts to send a header past Speroni from just inside the area but the keeper holds it comfortably.
You have to give Palace their dues today, they have defended stoicly. And even though Dzeko has put that goal past them, they have remained well-drilled and disciplined. It is a credit to the impact that Tony Pulis has had since taking the helm at Selhurst Park.
Williams comes on to replace Bolasie for the hosts. The wide man has done plenty of running for the Eagles today.
Kolarov comes on for Milner and so Clichy moves over to right-back, the third different player in that position for City this afternoon.
Negredo puts in a great challenge on Jedinak but gets a flailing boot to the face for his troubles. The referee stops play but the Spaniard looks to be fine.
Parr has been tireless on that left flank but once more his delivery lets him down. This time, it goes straight into the arms of Hart who is unchallenged.
The last time Palace beat City was in the 2001-02 season and both sides were in the second tier of English football. It is going to take something very special for them to pick up three points today, though.
WARD!! What a chance! The makeshift midfielder met the resultant corner, unmarked, at the back post, but he was unable to guide his effort on target.
WHAT A SAVE!! Ward has a pop from distance and it looks to be bouncing towards the bottom corner but the keeper gets down to his left and gets a crucial hand to the ball.
Assist Jesús Navas González
Goal Edin Dzeko
GOOOOOAAAL!! DZEKO FINALLY GETS THE GOAL! Nasri's delivery only finds the head of Delaney but Navas picks up the loose ball at the back post. He looks up and spots Dzeko on the penalty spot and the striker guides a shot past Speroni and into the corner.
GOOD SAVE!! A short corner is worked to Jedinak and the Palace captain looses an effort at goal from distance. It might have taken a slight deflection but Hart has to leap up and push it over the roof of his net.
Vital clearance! Bannan's poor touch ended up falling nicely for Chamakh and the midfielder continued his run beyond the striker. A lofted pass looked to have put him through on goal but Clichy made a crucial interception.
SO CLOSE!! Puncheon provides the danger again as he is allowed to waltz towards the City goal and put the ball onto his favoured left foot. He attempts to bend his shot into the far corner and only narrowly misses out on finding it. Cracking effort.
Excellent chasing from Navas as he tracks Puncheon all the way back into his own half as the Palace man looked to initiate a counterattack.
Navas dribbles all the way over from right to left and slips a pass into Negredo. The striker is unable to get his shot away but manages to put the ball into the danger area, however, no one can tuck home from the ensuing scramble.
A Palace corner is wasted as Bolasie's delivery fails to beat the first man. The Eagles will need to make the most of those kinds of opportunities.
STAT: Negredo has scored in each of his previous nine appearances in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium. Pellegrini will want him to make that 10 this afternoon.
Attacking changes from Pellegrini as Negredo and Nasri come on for Boyata and Fernandinho. Milner or Garcia will now move into the right-back position.
Fernandinho tries to pick out Dzeko with a driven pass into the box but he is unable to do so. That may be his last action of the half.
City win another corner as Mariappa gets in the way of Milner's cross. It looks as though Pellegrini has seen enough as Negredo and Nasri will be on in a matter of moments.
CLOSE! The resultant corner is pinged in by Bannan and Chamakh manages to connect with it eight yards out from goal. He is moving away from the target and therefore fails to keep his header down and it flies over the top.
Great play from Puncheon! The winger span Clichy and then skipped past Garcia as he came in from the right. He thumped a low shot towards goal but Hart got down to it and parried the attempt aside.
Kompany brings the ball up from the back and finds himself in space to shoot inside the box. Yet once again there is no route through the swathe of Palace shirts in the area.
It is every man behind the ball for Palace now, with Chamakh dropping back into his side's own final third to try and limit the space and time offered to the hosts.
The second half begins just as the first did! Silva finding space to play a penetrating, vertical pass which Dzeko controls on the edge of the box. He slips the ball out to Milner on the right but his drilled cross is knocked behind by Gabbidon.
Man City get the ball rolling for the second half.
Welcome back! The second half will be underway shortly. Can City finally break the deadlock or will Palace be the first side to leave the Etihad with a point this season?
HALF TIME - Man City 0-0 Crystal Palace: The Citizens have been in complete control this afternoon but as of yet have been unable to find a way through Tony Pulis' resilient side. City's 100% home record could well be under threat, but they have plenty of attacking talent available on the bench. Join me for the second half in 10 minutes.
45' + 5'
The half-time whistle goes.
45' + 4'
Another effort from Fernandinho following a swift break from the hosts but Gabiddon gets his body in the way of it once more. Palace are proving very resolute this afternoon.
45' + 2'
GREAT SAVE!! Milner and Navas have switched flanks here so it is the former who sends an in-swinger in from the near side. It finds the head of Fernandinho but Speroni gets a hand to his looping header to send it behind.
45' + 1'
We are into the first of five added minutes.
That could have been a howler! Bannan's corner is not dealt with by Hart but he gets just enough on it to take it away from the incoming head of Bolasie.
SO CLOSE!! Silva attempts to find Dzeko in the box but Gabbidon gets a touch to it. The loose ball falls to Fernandinho and he lifts it over Mariappa before volleying at Speroni's goal. His technique is good but he sends his shot over the top.
Another nice move from City down the left but once more the cross into the box is cut out. Dzeko's movement has not been as bright in the latter stages of this half.
Exquisite from Silva! A brilliant pass from Boyata played the Spaniard in behind and he did excellent to keep it in play and beat Bannan. He could have squared the ball across goal but instead went for goal and blazed an effort high and wide.
Navas whips in a corner but it is headed straight back to him by the opposing defence. He drills in another low delivery and this time Bolasie deals with it.
Boyata catches Mariappa as he attempts an ambitious overhead kick inside the penalty area. Jedinak is furious with it and receives a talking to from the referee regarding that reaction.
Silva again finds space in order to pick out a tidy pass and he nearly plays Navas in by the byeline but Parr makes a crucial interception.
Chamakh finally gets himself ready and now comes on to replace Jerome.
Play resumes after that short break. Hart is left squinting on his line but will no doubt get some more treatment during the break.
That is a nasty cut which Hart has under his eye, but he was extremely brave there. Jerome had already picked up a knock this afternoon and will not be able to continue.
Both Hart and Jerome are receiving medical treatment on the pitch at the moment so we have a break in play.
OUCH! Hart comes out to collect a low cross from Parr and he beats Jerome to the ball. The Palace striker had every reason to go for it, but his foot clearly caught the keeper in the head.
Important clearance from Nastasic as he hooks away a cross into the box which Jerome was looking to get on the end of.
City break well and Silva is played in down the left. He fires a shot on goal but yet again there is a deflection which stops it from hitting the target.
Comfortable save for Hart as Bolasie's back-post volley bounces into his hand, though Jerome was chasing up to get a touch on it. Some anxious signs starting to filter down from the crowd now.
Good defending from Gabbidon. He came across to beat Dzeko to the ball and then playing it off the Bosnian striker to win his side a goal kick.
JUST WIDE!! Milner manages to dig out a shot from the far corner of the box but a slight nick off of a Palace shirt sends it behind for a corner. City have had over 70 per cent possession so far today.
That could have gone horribly wrong for Palace! Kompany's drive shot from 25 yards took a deflection on its way to goal but it did not require Speroni to adjust his position too much and he held the ball.
The Citizens are playing some great football here. Moments after Dzeko latches onto Boyata's pass but sees his shot blocked by Bannan after beating Delaney, City move the ball out to the left. Clichy sends a deep cross in for Dzeko and his header is deflected behind off of Delaney.
OVER THE TOP!! City switch the play well and Clichy cuts a pass back to Milner on the top of the box. He attempts to curl a left-footed effort into the top corner but he is unable to keep his shot down.
Slight claims for a penalty as Jedinak flattens Milner when challenging for an aerial ball. The referee sees nothing in it and awards the hosts a corner instead.
Bannan takes it short, passing out to Parr on the left. The defender takes on Navas and gets into space by the byeline to put his ball into the box, but instead he sends it straight out of play.
Bolasie breaks at pace, this time through the centre, and Nastasic brings him to ground with a clumsy challenge. What will the visitors make of this?
STAT: Tony Pulis has guided the Eagles to three wins during his first six games in charge, a run which has seen them rise out of the relegation zone. They look well-organised this afternoon, limiting City largely to shots from distance.
BOLASIE!! Wide of the target! Palace are refusing to rush when in possession but still show a willingness to get forward. After brilliant diagonal pass out to Bolasie, Parr's overlapping run enables the winger to cut inside. He fires a shot towards Hart's goal but does not manage to work the keeper.
Jerome went down after stretching to get on Jedinak's pass. Palace kick the ball out of play but the striker gets back to his feet. Maybe something for Pulis to keep his eye on from now.
It is all City at the moment. Navas comes inside to try and get in on the act too, but he runs into a Jedinak-shaped wall and is dispossessed.
Bolasie has only had a couple of chances to stretch his legs so far this afternoon but he does well there, cutting inside of Boyata and hooking a cross to the far post. He puts a bit too much on it, though, and the ball bounces out of play for a goal kick.
CLOSE!! Fernandinho runs into space along the top of the box and tees up Silva, just over 20 yards from goal. He drilled a left-footed effort towards the bottom corner but he was unable to find the target.
Palace are barely able to get the ball out of their half at the moment. They manage it temporarily but Jerome is unable to hold up the play and await support.
The corner is deflected behind and City get another chance to deliver the ball from the same side. It just won't sit down for a blue shirt inside the area, though, and Navas' effort from outside the box fails to find a route through the host of bodies still in there.
Silva is already dictating this game as he is being allowed plenty of time on the ball in the Palace half. He shifts the play to his right for Fernandinho but the Brazilian's effort from distance is deflected behind for a corner.
WIDE!! A very patient build-up from City as Silva ducks inside and spots Dzeko's run beyond the defence. He slides an inch-perfect pass into the Bosnian but he drags his shot the wrong side of the far post. An early warning for the Eagles there.
Another nice ball from Fernandinho there, this time clipping a diagonal pass over towards Dzeko at the back post. The striker lacks the pace to get on the end of it and instead the visitors are awarded a goal kick.
Fernandinho clips a nice ball over the top of the defence which Clichy runs onto down on the left. He attempts to hit a cutback into the centre of the box but Mariappa cuts it out and clears the danger.
We are off at the Etihad Stadium!
A moment of applause for the game as those connected with both sides who are no longer with us are remembered.
The teams are out on the pitch and the second half will be underway in just a few moments.
City are the league's highest-scoring side with 53 goals from their opening 18 matches. The onus will be on Edin Dzeko to keep the hosts on form in front of goal this afternoon. Palace will no doubt do their best to stifle their opponents for much of the day.
Dedryck Boyata makes his first Premier League start for Manchester City since facing Arsenal in October 2010 as he replaces Pablo Zabaleta at right-back. Lescott, Kolarov, Toure, Nasri and Negredo are also rested for the Citizens. The Eagles, meanwhile, have top scorer Chamakh available following a suspension but he has to make do with a spot on the bench.
Crystal Palace substitutes: Price, Moxey, Williams, Campana, Gayle, Phillips, Chamakh.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Parr; Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bannan, Bolasie; Jerome.
Manchester City substitutes: Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, Toure, Rodwell, Nasri, Negredo.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Boyata, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Fernandinho; Navas, Silva, Milner; Dzeko.
The Citizens have won all nine of their previous home games this season, scoring 37 and conceding just six in the process. Palace, meanwhile, have only netted five times on their travels. They did, however, pick up all three points at Villa Park on Thursday and Tony Pulis therefore makes no changes to that team. Manuel Pellegrini does rotate his squad, though, following the 2-1 win over Liverpool.
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's LIVE commentary on the Premier League encounter between free-scoring Manchester City and the resurgent Crystal Palace. My name is Tom Webber and the Etihad Stadium is our venue today for what will hopefully be a continuation of that thoroughly enjoyable Boxing Day football feast.
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