When Crystal Palace made the daunting trip to the Etihad on Sunday night, Roy Hodgson will have been under no illusion about the scale of the task that lay ahead of his side.
John Stones scored twice as Manchester City hit four past Palace to move into second place in the Premier League table after after Liverpool and leaders Manchester United shared a goalless draw at Anfield.
Palace have pulled off some surprising results against Pep Guardiola’s side in the past – they were unbeaten in their previous two fixtures at the Etihad – but their performance was uninspiring, which wasn’t helped by the fact that Andros Townsend was largely anonymous against the Citizens.
Without their chief inspiration Wilfried Zaha after he suffered an injury against Arsenal, Palace looked lost for ideas and lacked any real impetus upfront, as the former England international struggled to get any real foothold on the game.
As per SofaScore, the right winger received a miserable 5.8 rating for his efforts, the second-lowest out of all of his Palace teammates, and it is easy to see why after he produced a rather pitiful performance.
Despite taking 45 touches of the ball, Townsend lost possession 22 times, which was the most out of any Palace player who started the game, and significantly more than Eagles goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who himself had 34 touches.
It’s perhaps telling that the 29-year-old failed to complete any of his three attempted dribbles during the game, which resulted in a less than impressive score of 5.8, substantially lower than his average best of 7.09 this season so far, which just goes to show that he was nothing short of abysmal.
He roughly averages just shy of one shot and one key pass per game in the Premier League this season but failed to muster either of those against City, emphasising the fact that he wasn’t his usual self on Sunday night.
In the absence of Zaha, Townsend couldn’t provide the cutting edge, so it’s back to the drawing board for Hodgson, as his side play host to West Ham at Selhurst Park on Tuesday night.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace still want to sign Ismaila Sarr despite Watford demands…