Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola blasted his team after their careless defending and a needless late-game penalty cost them a much-needed victory in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday, saying they deserved the result.
“It’s not bad luck, it’s deserved,” an angry Guardiola told reporters after the game. “We give away two points. When you give away this penalty, you deserve it. You see the chances we created and conceded, it’s quite similar to all this season — but we are not able to close the games. That is the feeling.” City have looked uncharacteristically vulnerable after a run of six games with only one win.
Jack Grealish and Rico Lewis scored in the first half at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but Jean-Philippe Mateta pulled one back for Palace and then Michael Olise converted a penalty in the 95th minute after Phil Foden fouled Mateta in the box.
Crowded title fight
The draw left the treble winners fourth in the crowded title fight on 34 points, but City have played one more game than the three teams above them: Liverpool, who are top on 37 points, Arsenal and Aston Villa, who all play on Sunday.
“At the end, be patient and don’t concede transitions and don’t concede,” Guardiola said of the disappointing result.
“But of course in the first action (Palace) run and score a goal and in the last minute we give them (a penalty). In the 18-yard box you have to be careful and we weren’t. We don’t deserve to win.” City have dropped nine points this season by conceding goals after the 80th minute.
Adding to the team’s misery is the absence of league-leading scorer Erling Haaland, who has been sidelined for two consecutive Premier League games with a stress reaction in his foot, which could develop into a more serious stress fracture.
The 23-year-old striker has 14 league goals this season.
Earlier, Saturday’s Premier League action was overshadowed by the collapse of Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Bournemouth.
Luton later said that Lockyer was “stable and currently undergoing further tests” after being taken off on a stretcher.
The Wales defender dropped to the ground untouched in the 59th minute. Players from both sides immediately called for help and Luton manager Rob Edwards entered the field, looking distressed.
The 29-year-old Lockyer received a long period of medical treatment and was carried away on a stretcher, by which time he was responsive, Luton said. The score was 1-1 at the time and referee Simon Hooper made the decision to abandon the game, with the clock having stopped in the 65th.
Fans stayed behind at Vitality Stadium after the match was called off and chanted the name of Lockyer.
“We are sorry to all supporters present that players from both sides were in no state of mind to continue with the game after seeing their much-loved teammate and friend taken off like that,” Luton said, “and staff could not carry on with managing the game in such circumstances having had to deal with the situation.”
Lockyer also collapsed during the second-tier Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium in May because he suffered an atrial fibrillation. He underwent heart surgery and was given the all-clear during the offseason to continue playing.
“Now is the time for all of our players, staff and supporters to come together as we always do and give our love and support to Tom and his family,” Luton said.
Everton continued their remarkable climb up the table from their 10-point deduction with a 2-0 win at Burnley, and Newcastle returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Fulham.
Chelsea scored twice in seven second-half minutes to beat bottom club Sheffield United 2-0.
Everton captured their fourth consecutive win and clean sheet and fifth victory in six games thanks to goals from Amadou Onana and Michael Keane.
The Merseyside club, who were docked points last month for breaching profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) relating to losses, have 16 points in 16th place.
“I think it’s definitely unified everyone at the club — the players, the fans, the staff, everyone there,” defender James Tarkowski told Sky Sports.
'Four wins in a row'
Onana said the mentality of the team had changed.
“And four wins in a row, very special,” he told BBC. “I am happy to be part of this team and hope it keeps going. We don’t fear anybody.” Newcastle scored all three of their goals in the second half, including the opener from 17-year-old Lewis Miley who became the club’s youngest player to score in the Premier League.
“What a moment it was for me and my family. They were in the stand. Great feeling to see the ball in the back of the net,” Miley told the BBC.
The victory boosted Newcastle — who had lost their last three games in all competitions and also went out of Europe — to sixth on 29 points while Fulham dropped to 11th, eight points behind.
Fulham were reduced to 10 men when Raul Jimenez was sent off in the 22nd minute and although they held on until halftime, Miley’s goal opened the floodgates before Miguel Almiron and Dan Burn got on the score sheet.
Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson scored to lead Chelsea in their laboured win over Sheffield. Palmer unlocked Sheffield’s tight defence in the 54th minute with a one-two with Raheem Sterling, and seven minutes later Jackson netted during a goal-mouth scramble.
The win lifted Chelsea to 10th place and came after back-to-back losses to Manchester United and Everton.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino changed his formation after halftime to break United’s stranglehold.
“In the first half we didn’t find a way to break the low block,” Pochettino said. “We changed to try to find a better solution ... better positions.” Sheffield remained rooted to the bottom on eight points after 17 games, while Burnley are one spot above them on goal difference.