Ball boy interrupts play as Crystal Palace edge Man City 3-2

City, who had won all nine home games in the league this season, are in second place on 44 points with Liverpool, who won 2-0 at Wolves on Friday, on 48.

Gundogan ghosted in at the far post, profiting from some sloppy marking from Patrick van Aanholt, to head stand-in skipper Fabian Delph's diagonal delivery past Vicente Guaita.

But the midfielder was hardly reaching for the panic button after the title favourites unexpectedly went down 3-2 to the Londoners at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Conceding for the eighth match running may have left City's players rattled, but worse was to come as Townsend scored a real contender for goal of the season, finding the back of the net from all of 35 yards with his volley to put his side in front.

Kevin De Bruyne struck late as City pushed for a hopeful draw, but Palace were able to hold on for a vital win-for themselves and Liverpool.

Chelsea also dropped points at home at the weekend, prompting Maurizio Sarri to concede that catching the leaders will be impossible, though Hodgson is of the opinion that Liverpool too will slip up at some stage. The two teams meet on January 4 (NZ time).

The City manager blamed his own side for profligacy in front of goal, claiming enough chances were created in the first half alone to win the game, yet this was not the usual story of the champions carving opponents apart then fluffing their lines with the goal gaping.

Image Getty Images
Image Getty Images

Jamie Vardy scored as Leicester upset Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It's the first time Guardiola's side have lost at the Etihad since the Manchester derby last season.

No rest time for tired legs as City are back in action on Boxing Day with a trip to Leicester City (3pm).

As a Crystal Palace cross skidded across the front of the goal and along the touchline, a ball boy ran to intercept it.

Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all got on the scoresheet, and the club's all-time leading scorer was at the ground to take it in.

Manchester United were happy campers at Cardiff under interim coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Deulofeu's goal secured Watford their first away win for over two months and lifted them, temporarily at least, into the top six, three points clear of the Hammers.

Bournemouth won 2-0 at home to Brighton, and Newcastle's home game with Fulham ended 0-0.

  • Stacy Allen