Defence struggles as Crystal Palace suffer FA Cup exit vs. Man City

Crystal Palace were knocked out of the FA Cup -- a competition in which they reached the final of last season -- by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City by a score of 3-0. Palace's performance was far from shameful but lacked the cutting edge necessary against a club of City's stature. While referee Mike Jones could and should have sent Yaya Toure off in the latter stages of the first half, Palace were again bitten by defensive indifference and offensive profligacy.


Andros Townsend, the subject of significant transfer speculation with a loan return to Newcastle United mooted, had a good game and showed the kind of quality that hasn't been seen for some time. Whether he will feature in his favoured position on the right wing, with the return of Wilfried Zaha from the African Nations Cup, is another question entirely.


The malaise which appeared to set in with the players a few months ago finally appears to have filtered into the support. While the atmosphere at Selhurst Park wasn't bad, the attendance of a little less than 14,000 can't just be blamed on the price of tickets and the membership-only stipulation. Palace fans are beginning to feel the effects of a year of disappointing form -- it's up to the players to now try and lift those supporters' spirits.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- It's not easy to face any Manchester City side, especially with the focus on Palace's drab league form. Fielded arguably the side that most would have expected him to, especially given the circumstances. It means that players like Scott Dann, Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon should be fresh for the match at Bournemouth. That said, Sam Allardyce arrived with the promise of clean sheets. Palace have kept just one since he arrived; and after a performance like this one it still doesn't look like that issue has been addressed.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Wayne Hennessey, 7 -- A little slow to react for the first, but there was little he could do for the other two goals. He also made a number of decent saves during the game, one of which was from point-blank range in the first half.

DF Jeffrey Schlupp, 6 -- Appeared to have the better of City's pacey attack until Raheem Sterling broke clear for their first. Suffered a hamstring injury late in the game which could mean a layoff for a month or so -- another injury that the club doesn't need.

DF James Tomkins 7 -- Nearly scored but for a good save from Willy Caballero. Arguably Palace's best defender.

DF Martin Kelly 6 -- Worked well enough with Tomkins as a partnership, but struggled against City's quality in attack.

DF Joel Ward, 6 -- Like Schlupp, appeared to have a grip on City's attack. Got caught ball-watching for Leroy Sane's goal however, where instead of tracking his marker he allowed him to run clear on goal.

MF Joe Ledley, 5 -- Under constant pressure from his opponents, Ledley struggled to get control of the play and suffered against City's pace and power in midfield.

MF Mathieu Flamini, 6 -- Second-best to an excellent performance from David Silva, who completely ran the show for Pep Guardiola's side.

MF Jordon Mutch 5 -- Had a few flashes of quality but just lacks the consistency that would make him a contender for more regular appearances.

FW Lee Chung-yong, 6 -- The source of many of Palace's better chances, but his lack of positional sense and his tendency to slow down play didn't do Palace any favours.

FW Christian Benteke, 6 -- Has had a tendency to be too static throughout Palace's build-up play, and that was a problem again in this fixture. For Palace to be more effective, Benteke must be a little more energetic in his pursuit of defenders.

FW Andros Townsend, 7 -- His best performance for Palace since his goalscoring performance against Stoke City back in September 2016. If there is a criticism, the quality of his set pieces was very poor.


FW Loic Remy, 6 -- His movement makes him a threat, and a little more sharpness would have seen him score from the chance he had early in the second half. He'll score goals, though.

MF James McArthur, 6 -- Brought on with the intention of giving him game time in preparation for the Bournemouth game on Tuesday, he had a steady performance.

DF Zeki Fryers, NR -- Didn't make a great deal of difference when he came on.