City managed 74% of the possession and logged 22 shots at the weekend, but Crystal Palace ultimately captured the three points at Selhurst Park. Moreover, City have only managed a plus-two goal differential in their last five Premier League outings, which includes the 3-0 drubbing of West Brom.
It was another disappointing result during what has been a tumultuous second semester for the Sky Blues.
After the match, Manuel Pellegrini discussed the frustrating night but also expressed some optimism as the team trudges onward:
"It's difficult to understand the result because I think that we played a very good game from the beginning until the end.
"I am sure that playing the way we did today we are going to win more games than we will lose.
"I hope that we continue this way and are more lucky than we were today."
City were undoubtedly unlucky on Monday night. Sergio Aguero rattled the woodwork on 19 minutes, while a clear handball by Glenn Murray inside the area was not called in the 71st minute. But given the fact that posts exist and that missed calls are inevitable, it should be noted that City still created a number of quality chances and failed to capitalize.
This killer instinct, especially in front of goal, has plagued this team of late, as possession and total shot attempts are certainly not weak areas for this team. City's impotence in the final third has become quite puzzling.
This is not to ignore some of the defensive adjustments that must be made prior to Sunday's clash with Manchester United.
Against Palace, Bacary Sagna replaced Pablo Zabaleta at right back, while Martin Demichelis was given the nod over Eliaquim Mangala. A quick side note here which is quite interesting (disturbing?): Mangala cost more than twice as much as the entire Crystal Palace starting lineup, yet he did not log a single minute of game action on Monday night.
Looking ahead to the clash with United, Yaya Toure will need to marshal the midfield area effectively, and defensive reinforcement in central midfield—whether it be from Fernandinho, Fernando or even Lampard (who was inserted in the 66th minute against Palace)—will be essential.
The play of Vincent Kompany will be key for City against United. Kompany will have his hands full with the United attack on Sunday, but he recognizes the opportunity at hand:
"If anything, it's a good moment to go into a derby.
"I guess the momentum is a little bit with our neighbours at the moment, but it's the perfect place for us to go and try to rectify what we've had."
United have eclipsed City in the table, but the gap is just one point. Though Sunday's prizefight is a road game for City, this may indeed be the perfect time to face the Red Devils. This is a tremendous opportunity against the crosstown rivals, but because of City's poor run of form, uncertainty heading into this game is at an all-time high.