Man City dropped points for the fifth time in six games on Saturday, with a 2-2 draw to Crystal Palace leaving some of their fans booing from the stands.
It all looked to be going to plan for City when, after Ederson avoided a clear red card for a last-man challenge, Rico Lewis put them 2-0 up at home to Palace.
But things got hairier midway though the second half as Jean-Philippe Mateta added to his goal against Liverpool with another strike.
And then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Palace were awarded a penalty which Michael Olise tucked home to secure a 2-2 draw at the Etihad.
Roy Hodgson’s reaction, beaming and laughing at the furious Pep Guardiola, was priceless – with many Liverpool fans issuing reluctant praise to their former manager.
Roy laughing at Pep. Once a red, always a red I guess pic.twitter.com/j0SrzOqOKs
— DB (@Kloppholic) December 16, 2023
The result means City have dropped points in five of their last six games in the Premier League, picking up just seven of a possible 18 in that time.
Their only win in that run was 2-1 away to Luton.
While that would typically explain supporters booing their players off, which happened in certain sections of the Etihad on Saturday, given City have just won a treble it is strange behaviour.
Ahead of Liverpool vs. Man United on Sunday, City sit three points off the Reds having played a game more – and will not return to action in the Premier League again until December 27.
That is due to their participation in the Club World Cup, with a semi-final against Urawa Reds on Tuesday, after their fixtures were kindly rearranged.
But their absence gives Liverpool the rare opportunity to go 12 points clear of the champions by the time they play their next game – which, for Guardiola’s side, brings a trip to the resurgent Everton.
There should be no surprise, then, that the manager was left fuming in his post-match interviews.
“At the end, be patient and don’t concede transitions and don’t concede like we have done in seven or eight years in these type of games,” he is quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“But of course in the first action they 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.
“It’s not bad luck, it’s deserved. We give away two points. When you give away this penalty, you deserve it.”
At least Guardiola got the noise from the stands he’s been literally begging for lately – only it comes with his worst-ever points haul after 17 games in eight seasons at the club.