When a pitcher throws a no-hitter in baseball, there is always at least one play in which the pitcher keeps his perfect game intact not through anything he does but through a brilliant play from his defense. If Manchester City is trying to throw a no-hitter by going unbeaten this season, Sunday’s match was a prime example of succeeding not because of what City did, but because of what Crystal Palace didn’t do.
Manchester City saw its 18-match winning streak come to an end in a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. But the Citizens only maintained their unbeaten start to the English Premier League thanks to the Eagles missing a couple incredible chances late in the match.
In stoppage time of a scoreless match, Wilfried Zaha was tackled in the box by a rash challenge from Raheem Sterling, giving Luka Milivojevic an opportunity to steal the match with one of the final kicks. But the penalty shot was not well placed and Ederson made a relatively easy save.
It wasn’t the only time Manchester City rode its luck against Palace on Sunday.
In the 77th minute, Andros Townsend found himself wide open on the far post when the ball bounced his way. With half of the goal open to aim at, the winger channeled his inner Chris Wondolowski and skied the shot toward the moon.
But it wasn’t all lucky for Manchester City. Injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne could do more to harm the team’s long-term goals than a draw away to Palace. It’s not a good time to be an attacking player in Manchester.
Jesus went down with a knee injury in the first half and could be out for one or two months.
De Bruyne suffered a nasty tackle from Jason Puncheon right after Palace’s missed PK and was stretchered off, though he was seen walking to the dressing room later.
Though Manchester City failed to reach the mark of 19 straight victories that stands as the longest win streak in Europe’s top five leagues (held by Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich), the loss won’t do much to damage the club’s title hopes in the Premier League. The Citizens still hold a 14-point lead over second-place Chelsea and their record of 19 wins, two draws and no losses is nothing short of remarkable.
City won’t be able to match Arsenal’s record of scoring in every match as the Gunners did in 2001-02. But thanks to a bit of fortune in the form of poor execution from Palace, Manchester City’s perfect game is still intact.