Man City held; Everton lose
A review of Wednesday night's Premier League's action as Man City draw with Sunderland and Crystal Palace beat Everton.
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If Sunday's defeat at the hands of Liverpool had deeply wounded City's chances then this frenetic 2-2 draw could prove the killer blow.
As for Gus Poyet's Sunderland, who came into this match on the back of a run that had seen the Black Cats lose five on the bounce, their survival hopes remain alive, if only just.
Manuel Pellegrini's men, sorely missing the injured David Silva and Yaya Toure, are now six points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
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City had taken an early lead through Fernandinho, and had appeared to have held off Sunderland's challenge until two fine goals by Connor Wickham in the second half threatened a real upset.
Samir Nasri grabbed a point with a late equaliser but then missed a glorious chance for a winner as City's hopes of making up lost ground faded.
The Toffees had been looking to take the opportunity to leapfrog Arsenal into fourth place in the race for Champions League football.
But instead they remain fifth - a point behind the Gunners, with both clubs having four more games to go - after they were undone by a Palace side who were worthy victors of an absorbing contest.
Tony Pulis' men deservedly went in at half-time with a 1-0 lead thanks to Jason Puncheon's strike from Marouane Chamakh's assist in the 23rd minute - his fourth goal in the past three matches - after Tim Howard had parried a cross from Yannick Bolasie.
The dangerous Bolasie then provided the corner from which Scott Dann sent a free header past Howard four minutes after the interval to make it 2-0.
Substitute Steven Naismith reduced the deficit with a close-range finish in the 61st minute, but Cameron Jerome restored Palace's two-goal cushion in the 73rd.
Kevin Mirallas' effort with four minutes of normal time remaining then set up a nervy finale which Palace managed to come through with their lead intact and another vital three points secured.
The result, Everton's first home loss since Boxing Day and only their second all season, brought their seven-match top-flight winning streak to an end.
Palace's own run of victories, meanwhile, extended to four games as they moved up to 11th, on to 40 points - the total widely regarded as a guarantee of safety - and 10 points clear of the relegation zone, with four more fixtures left.
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- Premier League gallery: Manchester City v Sunderland and Everton v Crystal Palace