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John Stones bagged a brace to help inflict Crystal Palace’s first defeat in the 2021 Premier League when Manchester City raged at Roy Hodgson’s team 4-0 at the Etihad on Sunday night.
After a promising start to the season for Palace, their early form has quickly left them. The Eagles have now lost two of their last three games in all competitions, as they are 13th in the table, tied on points with Leeds United, although the newly promoted team still has a game in hand over the team. of Hodgson.
With Wilfried Zaha injured, Hodgson’s problems were further exacerbated after City capitalized on a dismal defensive performance by the visitors to score four goals at home and ensure Pep Guardiola’s side finished second in the Premier League.
A trip to the Etihad was never going to be the easiest task, but after suffering another embarrassing loss after the 7-0 loss to Liverpool, surely questions must be asked about Hodgson’s tactics and Steve Parish’s recruiting strategy. .
The Palace boss showed a frustrated figure on the sidelines as his team was outclassed from start to finish on Sunday. There is no shame in losing to City, but the manner of the loss will only have increased the pressure on Hodgson and his men, with Andros Townsend particularly looking in a bad mood.
Townsend fought to make a real impact on the field and it was no wonder he was retired shortly before the 80º minute. However, Joel Ward arguably produced one of his worst performances in a Palace jersey this season on the right side of defense last night and was lucky that Townsend received some of the post-game criticism.
Ward has done a decent job as a right-back in recent weeks, being part of the team that kept a clean sheet against Sheffield United, while getting his first assist of the season against West Ham. Unfortunately for Hodgson, the veteran defender endured a show of terror against Guardiola’s side.
90min Reporter Jude Summerfield delivered a brutal verdict after the game, noting that it was a ‘tough outing for Ward, who often chased shadows. Two corners he conceded resulted in City goals. It’s not your fault, of course, but it’s worth mentioning.
Similary, football, london they were equally scathing in their assessment, adding that “he looked a bit awkward heading back into a corner as City looked for a diagonal behind him.”
Ward completed 24 of 31 passes (77%) – less than James McArthur, who was her only real bright spark – and only did a lone tackle as it was overrun by Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling on the right wing. Both players were put on the roster as City enjoyed most of their success on the left side of their attack.
The 31-year-old just won 40% of his duels overall, he was dribbled once and committed three fouls, which was the highest amount committed by any Palace player on the field, perhaps to better sum up his frustrations, as his performance was far below his usual standards. .
He also lost control of the ball in 13 times, twice as many times as McArthur himself, showing that he was also quite wasteful of possession.
Ward has been a loyal Palace servant since the beginning of this season, but that doesn’t excuse his impressive display at the Etihad. With a clash against West Ham on the horizon, Hodgson hopes Nathaniel Clyne will be fit to face the Hammers Tuesday night.
And in other news, Crystal Palace still wants to sign Ismaila Sarr despite Watford’s demands …