Crystal Palace 0-1 Manchester City (war communiqué)
Titan sports’s all-media correspondent in Britain, Liu Chuan.
For Manchester City coach Guardiola, Crystal Palace has always been a hard bone to chew. After he coached the team, he lost points (3 draws and 1 loss) on this South London team four times, which was far less than their record against the top team Arsenal in the same period. Especially in Selhurst Park Stadium, Guardiola once saw the team draw 0-0 by the home team twice here. In fact, if the Crystal Palace didn’t take the initiative to send a penalty gift, Manchester City would probably lose 2 points in this game by a draw.
After the game, Guardiola said with some trepidation: "In my personal experience, it has always been very difficult to play at the home of Crystal Palace." In fact, it was indeed a fierce battle. Crystal Palace went for a draw from the beginning. Before Harland penalized Manchester City in the second half, Vieira’s team was not only blank in shooting data, but also only touched the ball with one foot in the restricted area of Manchester City, and the whole team’s mind was all on defense.
However, it is hard for the outside world to criticize the home team for not making progress. Counting this game, Crystal Palace has won 10 games in the league. Therefore, Vieira is very realistic when facing the blue moon. In the recent state of the team, while tightening the fence in the defense, it is the tactical arrangement of Crystal Palace that day. Vieira’s plan would have been almost successful had it not been for Ollie’s unnecessary aggression against Gundogan in the penalty area in the 78th minute.
Guardiola said after the game that although Crystal Palace seemed to be defending the whole game, he knew the danger of letting his guard down, and he was also well aware of opponents’ attempts to delay time by using the rules. This game not only tested Manchester City’s competitive strength, but also tested the team’s psychology: "They have excellent offensive players like Zaha, Olise and Ezer, and they can all create threats. Today, on the court, you can feel that they are testing our patience. They are trying to delay the game time as much as possible. At the same time, there are often six people waiting for us in the restricted area. There are two players around Harland alone watching him. The defensive players in Gundogan have always been inseparable, so we must be more patient in this situation. "
In the end, Manchester City stood the test. Harland looked very nervous before taking the penalty. He took a deep breath that was somewhat exaggerated, which made the outside world worry that the Norwegian striker would be in the same situation as Salah earlier. However, he didn’t pause and hesitate in the process of running up and starting, and cleanly punished the ball into the lower left corner of the goal and scored the only goal in the whole game.
Harland’s emotional contrast before and after the penalty also attracted the attention of the English media. Before the run-up, he looked nervous, but once he started the run-up, the Norwegian immediately appeared confident and calm. Nowadays, people usually see penalty shooters make full use of the run-up and kick-off, let the goalkeeper fall to the ground first through rhythm changes and multiple pauses, and then take the lead. Harland’s penalty kicks are completely opposite. If the popular penalty kick is a psychological contest between penalty shooters and goalkeepers, Harland’s full-speed run-up will make goalkeepers feel at a loss, and they can only choose the direction of saving in a hurry.
In an interview after the game, Harland said with a smile that he had already learned that the Red Army had lost in the morning game, but did not mention whether he had seen the picture of Salah’s penalty: "It was not easy to get three points. We know that Bournemouth beat Liverpool in the morning game. Every game in the Premier League is not simple. Tonight’s game is a battle for us. I don’t like to waste opportunities in the game. I missed an excellent opportunity in the second half today, but there was a small depression on the lawn at that time, which somewhat interfered with my shot. "
After this battle, Manchester City, which played one more game, temporarily narrowed the gap with the top Arsenal to 2 points. However, the Blue Moon will completely enter the cup mode before April. Next week, they will be busy at both ends of the Champions League and the FA Cup, and the league match against West Ham scheduled for next weekend will be postponed. In this way, if Manchester City’s rival Arsenal can seize the opportunity in the next two league games, they may use more games (one game) next weekend to expand their lead to eight points. Interestingly, Arsenal’s league opponent next week is also Crystal Palace.