Manchester City for all intents and purposes should have been sitting top of the Premier League going into the international break but a late Middlesbrough equaliser at The Etihad saw them once again drop points at home and they now subsequently sit third in the table.
Pep Guardiola’s men have only won once in their last five league outings and the former Barcelona boss will probably still be asking himself how his City side failed to beat Middlesbrough after dominating the game for such a long period of time.
The simple answer to that will be the fact they failed to kill the game off when 1-0 up and the profligacy came back to haunt them when Marten De Roon slammed home a header in injury time to give Aitor Karanka’s side a share of the points to take back to Teeside.
After the highs of beating Barcelona in the Champions League it was a case of after the lord mayors show when facing ‘Boro. Did they perhaps take them for granted after such an impressive result against the Catalan giants? perhaps but one thing that is for sure is that they will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to South London this afternoon to face Crystal Palace.
This a Palace side which is low on form and it’s a run of four consecutive defeats which sees them slump to 16th in the table. After a solid September which saw them in the top ten October and beyond has been something to forget for Alan Pardew’s men.
Last season saw Palace go on a horrendous run of fixtures without a win although the nosedive down the table came after the turn of the year. The worry for Palace fans is that the bad run of results has started earlier than expected.
The only saving grace is that the bottom half of the table is so congested right now, just three points separate Burnley in 9th and West Ham in 17th therefore a win can launch you straight back up the table but when playing host to Manchester City a win is easier said than done.
The concern last season for Palace was a lack of goals but this time around it seems to be a very leaky defence. Their last two outings have been very entertaining for the neutral but incredibly frustrating if you are Alan Pardew, an exciting 4-2 defeat at home to Liverpool was then added to by a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor.
Those two defeats have seen Palace concede 7 and summer signing Steve Mandanda has not looked all that inspiring in between the sticks as of late, it could very well be that Pardew decides to restore Wayne Hennessey to the starting eleven this afternoon.
In fairness whoever is in goal is going to have their work cut out with the embarrassment of riches that Manchester City have at their disposal and frankly it is that difference in quality which for me sees them run out comfortable winners this afternoon. An away win for me.