City entered yesterday's match at Crystal Palace nine points behind Chelsea, with Chelsea still holding a game in hand. More importantly, though, they found themselves behind both Arsenal and United as well, in an unfathomable fourth position. With a win, City would have moved back into second, but they failed to earn any points as Crystal Palace followed the blueprint to beat City to the letter, with City falling 2-1.
While it certainly looks like everyone has learned everything there is to be learned about City this season, there were certainly some takeaways to be had from the match. Here's what we learned.
1. Gary Lineker makes dad jokes on Twitter
Palace still Puncheon well above their weight.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 6, 2015
A pun? Log off, Gary.
2. This sport really needs instant replay
In our weekly installment of "Hey, Maybe A Sport Played With Thousands Of Cameras Present Could Use Those Cameras To Correct The Mistakes Of Humans," City caught the short end of the proverbial stick, as a pretty clear handball in the penalty area by Palace's Glenn Murray wasn't seen by referee Michael Oliver, whose view was blocked by Yaya Toure.
There was also a legitimate claim of offside on Palace's first goal and, while City had no shortage of issues on their own, these types of mistakes for or against teams we'd like to see win matches shouldn't be an issue in 2015.
3. Instant replay wouldn't make City better
The previous paragraphs shouldn't be read as an excuse as to why City didn't come away with any points. Because it wouldn't take a sophisticated system of replay cameras to take from this match the same thing that has been taken from countless City matches over the last few months. City are great at holding onto the ball for a very long time, but aren't great at scoring goals this season relative to their more successful campaigns.
Crystal Palace did what has to be done to defeat City. They allowed City to possess the ball for the bulk of the game without conceding, then hit back quickly with what little of the ball they did have. Being a team that everyone knows how to defeat and, even worse, a team that everyone can defeat with that blueprint is not something that replay can fix.
4. This may not be a top four team
Earlier this season after a loss, I'd mentioned that the Premier League championship was more than likely out of City's grasp, to which many astute commenters had mentioned that a top four spot should have been the focus instead of the title. Well, those of you who made that remark were right!
City now get to take on United, which is not a fixture that inspires much confidence at the moment, while fifth place Liverpool get a pedestrian Newcastle side at home. By the end of the next round of matches, City's lead on the fourth spot could be down to just four points with seven matches to go. With their poor form now dragging out over months rather than weeks, there is no guarantee that they'll be able to turn it around and hold onto a Champions League place.
What were your takeaways from the latest loss? Fire away, and vote in the poll, below.