It was a bore draw to finish 2017 from Manchester City, who were far from their best in a 0-0 stalemate at Crystal Palace. It was only the second time Pep Guardiola’s side have dropped points this season and their lead at the top of the Premier League is cut to just 14 points, as they failed to equal his Barcelona record of 19 league victories in a row. They were lucky not to lose, but equally unlucky not to have won — and it’s a game referee Jon Moss will want to forget, getting a penalty call wrong and missing a clear red card soon after.
Even when below par, City still didn’t succumb to the bad luck they suffered. Justice was done when Ederson save a penalty earned by a dive from Wilfried Zaha and the defence held firm when under pressure from Palace’s pace on both flanks.
The injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus will be concerns. Quite how the home side ended with 11 men on the field is a mystery — the tackle by Jason Puncheon on the Belgian that took him out of the game was more like a knee-high assault than an attempt to win the ball. Add in suspensions to Leroy Sane and Fernandinho for yellow cards, City could be short for the visit of Watford on Tuesday.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Guardiola tried to shuffle the pack and keep some freshness in the team, but the players looked like they were running in treacle for the most part.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson Moraes, 7 — The goalkeeper would end up being City’s hero of the game. After a shaky start coming off his line, he found his composure to take control of Palace’s ball over the top. His penalty save at the end kept the club’s unbeaten run going and ensured Palace didn’t cheat their way to the points.
DF Kyle Walker, 8 — Each time Palace tried to break away, it was a tough test for Walker to deal with the pace of Zaha. However, time and again, the defender gave the winger no chances and stood up well to everything thrown his way.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 — It wasn’t one of the Argentine’s best performances of the season, but he was still dependable against the threat posed by Christian Benteke. Strong in the air, Otamendi was reliable to combat Palace’s bombardments from corners and set pieces.
DF Eliaquim Mangala, 6 — The standout moment from the centre-back was a block after a mixup between himself and Ederson, though how much he knew about it is unclear. He looked a little uncertain and unsteady.
DF Danilo, 6 — The defender always looks a little awkward when asked to fill in at left-back. He tackled well, but had trouble coping with the pace of Palace’s counterattacks.
MF Fernandinho, 7 — The midfielder was as busy as normal, harrying opponents up and down the pitch, however his impact was less than in recent weeks.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 — It was a quiet afternoon for the midfielder, who had very little room to work with for the hour he was involved. He pulled out a good effort on goal moments before he went off, but that was about it.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 — The final ball seemed to be missing from the Belgian’s performance. Several times he delayed his pass and it didn’t reach the intended target. However, he was still the most likely to create the goal until he was carried off following Puncheon’s awful tackle.
MF Leroy Sane, 6 — There were two performances from Sane in this game. The first half saw one of his worst displays in a City shirt, while he was much better after the break. Still, he had a tough time getting a run on goal, and a silly yellow card now means a suspension for Watford.
MF Bernardo Silva, 7 — After a quiet first half, the midfielder came into the game more after the break. He was always looking to get on the ball and move it forward, and performed better when moved into the middle as Raheem Sterling came on.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 — There was very little time for the striker to impress before having to leave the pitch injured, though he managed a decent effort from the edge of the box and a good one-two with Gundogan. He left the pitch in tears, which can’t be a good sign.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 — On for the injured Jesus after 23 minutes, the striker had a couple of half-chances, but couldn’t really get a clear sight of goal.
MF Raheem Sterling, 7 — The winger got City on the front foot after he replaced Gundogan just before the hour. Given he’s been kicked, shoved, tripped and clattered in the box and not been awarded a penalty in the past, it made it a bitter pill to swallow that he conceded a spot kick for not fouling Zaha.
MF Yaya Toure, NR — The sum total of Toure’s involvement after replacing Silva on 81 minutes was a free kick into the wall and a late yellow card.
David Mooney is ESPN FC’s Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney