MANCHESTER CITY 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE | MANCHESTER CITY 1-3 CRYSTAL PALACE
Saturday 30th October 2021 | Saturday 5th December 1987
✅💣 EXPLOSIVE RED CARD SINKS CITY'S CHANCES | In 1987, chasing a promotion place back to the elite, City's 12-match unbeaten run came to an end as goalkeeper Eric Nixon exploded into action with a double booking in separate incidents with Palace striker Mark Bright. Taking the law into his own hands, Nixon punched the Palace raider on the nose after a "collision" going for a through ball. Fast forward to 2021 and Aymeric Laporte also decided to police pacey Palace strikers according to his own personal rule book, disregarding the regulations of the game. In wrestling the slippery Wilfried Zaha to the ground, he too fell foul of a picky referee, this time the ineffable Andre Marriner, and was sent for the much-heralded early bath.
✅ 2-GOAL DEFICIT PROVES TOO MUCH TO CLAW BACK | Nixon's 1987 theatrics completely torpedoed City's chances, as his red card also coincided with the award of a penalty that brought Palace level. From there, with a man extra and a bemused Steve Redmond deputising in goal, the visitors ran riot. Laporte also chose exactly the wrong moment to leave his team mates to it, as City were beginning to mount a concerted effort to get back on level terms after an early Palace breakthrough. Once he had departed, however, right on half time, when City could conceivably have had a chance to regroup and reorganise, City's chances were reduced to next-to-nothing.
✅🚨 PACEY PALACE ATTACKERS TIE CITY IN KNOTS | For Mark Bright and Ian Wright, substitute modern day nemeses Wilfried Zaha and Odsonne Edouarde. On both occasions Palace arrived in Manchester with a pair of jet-heeled attackers that proceeded to make hay in the open spaces left by an opposing team trying to cover for having a man less. On both occasions the striker, who was embroiled in the red card scene was the one to wreak the goal havoc too, Zaha netting early on and Bright bagging two late goals in 1987.
✅😠 UPROAR IN THE STANDS | On both occasions the referee's actions brought lively scenes to the stands, with the 1987 match marked by referee John Deakin being hit on the head by a coin as he left the Maine Road pitch. In the modern reworking of A Palace Coup, Andre Marriner had to put up with a simple everyday barrage of abuse, questioning everything from his judgment to his parentage. With the home support in a state of advanced ferment in both matches, the players could not fail to be caught up in the lively atmosphere, leading to the inevitable...
✅🥊 ...MASS BRAWL AND PRETEND FISTICUFFS!!! | Ah, the wonderfully cathartic effect of a "seemingly unjust" red card. Seen through the rounded prism of the infamous home beer goggles, any of Andre Marriner's works can be viewed as skewed at the best of times, but there is nothing quite like a dubious, VAR-induced frenzy to get the juices flowing. With Zaha widening his eyes to a degree that would chasten a bull terrier, the home players saw fit to wade in. Similarly in '87, with Bright clearly aware of Nixon's earlier yellow card (he had been involved in the incident, after all), his calculated actions also brought the house down, on and off the pitch, with City's most combustible firebrands, Neil McNab and John Gidman, quick to whisper sweet nothings in the Palace man's ear hole. Both men were booked for their troubles, while the crowd got so worked up that one individual divested himself of his loose change in the direction of John Deakin's upright bonce.
The more things change, the more they stay the same....