Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira bemoaned Chelsea's decision to not allow loanee Conor Gallagher to feature in the FA Cup semi-final, claiming the midfielder will be "the only one who will lose".

Gallagher moved on a season-long loan from Chelsea to Selhurst Park at the start of the season and the midfielder has starred for the Eagles, who made the last four of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Everton.

The 22-year-old's performances also earned him his England debut in November and have led to suggestions he could fill a midfield void for Thomas Tuchel's side next campaign with N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho not getting any younger.

But Chelsea have refused Palace's request for special dispensation to allow Gallagher to play against his parent club in the FA Cup on April 17, with FA rules preventing loanees from featuring against the side they are contracted to.

Vieira was left bemused by the decision as he insisted Gallagher would be the only player punished by the refusal.

"It's not the best rule because the only one who will lose is Conor," the Frenchman said.

"There's a semi-final, it's a really exciting game about how you will manage yourself and prepare yourself to play that game, then there's playing that kind of game and the importance of it.

"It's an experience the player is missing and I'm disappointed for him. He has played all the games so far and if there's somebody who deserves to be in the semi-final, it's him because of his performances, so I'm disappointed he won't be able to play.

"The decision for Chelsea to send him on loan is to play these kinds of games. We have as a group an opportunity to play an important game and that game would have given him more confidence and belief. We could lose but for him to have been on the field is what he needs to keep developing himself.

"Since he has been with us, he has been fantastic and for him not to have a chance to get involved in that game, it is something frustrating for his development.

"I feel for him because he wanted to play in that game –every player would want to play in that game."

Vieira also believes the impact of the FA Cup last-four draw has been clear to see on Gallagher in training.

"The next day in training he was affected by that," he continued. "He knew straight away that it was a game that he would not have the chance to get involved in. We feel for him.

"He put his head back into training straight away. It will be more difficult when we enter the week of the game.

"It will be challenging for him, looking at the team, preparing himself and him not getting involved. That will be challenging for him."

It's matchday 32. No midweek games and precious points to pick up in the run home.

It's that time of the year when the unconventional pick can define one's season. Who dares wins, in other words.

With that in mind, let Stats Perform lead you by the hand with Opta data as we pick four players who might just give you those precious extra points in the latest Premier League gameweek.

VICENTE GUAITA (Leicester City v Crystal Palace)

The last time Leicester were kept scoreless at home by Crystal Palace in the Premier League was in December 2017, when Claude Puel was still manager of the Foxes.

In 2022, however, only Alisson and Ederson have kept more clean sheets than Vicente Guaita in the Premiership, with Guaita's four coming in his last five appearances.

Of the seven highest rankings in the Premier League for clean sheets in the new year, Guaita also has the third-highest percentage of shots saved at 75.86 per cent.

REECE JAMES (Southampton v Chelsea)

Despite the nature of their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, against Southampton this weekend, it is almost a certainty that Chelsea will have the bulk of possession.

As a consequence of how Thomas Tuchel's side plays, Chelsea's wingbacks are very prominent in and around the penalty area.

Among Premier League defenders this season, no player has scored more goals than Reece James this season, while Antonio Rudiger is also second.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Brentford v West Ham)

Needing to back up from Thursday's tussle in the Europa League against Lyon, West Ham could be vulnerable.

Brentford's Christian Eriksen has either scored or assisted in his last two Premier League games for the Bees, while the Dane last did so in three consecutive Premier League appearances in April 2019. 

In three Premier League starts for Brentford this season, they have won all three games, and Eriksen has completed the most passes (111) in those games, played the most passes into the penalty area (26) and created the most chances (five).

HARRY KANE (Aston Villa v Tottenham)

Tottenham are starting to find their rhythm under Antonio Conte, even despite March's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, and Harry Kane remains as pivotal as ever.

No player in the Premier League has contributed to more goals in 2022 than Kane, with eight goals and five assists over that period.

Kane has also been involved in a goal in each of his last six Premier League appearances, and only between July and November 2020 (eight games) has he been on a longer streak.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Kieran Tierney's knee injury "does not look good", with the defender set to see a specialist, while Thomas Partey's fitness is also a concern.

Tierney played twice for Scotland across the international break, but did not feature for the Gunners as they slumped to a 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Following the defeat at Selhurst Park, Arteta confirmed that the left-back had felt a problem that will be further assessed in the week, though the initial prognosis is not positive.

"He came back from international duty and felt something wrong in his knee," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"There is some damage there. We will hopefully know more on Tuesday but it's not looking good.

"He is seeing the specialist on Tuesday and we will know more about the extent of the injury but the feeling that he had wasn't really positive and what the scan showed either. We have to wait and see what happens."

Arsenal potentially lost another key player to injury as they head into the run-in, with Partey going off with an apparent hamstring injury.

"I don't know but he felt something in the same area that he got injured previously so that's a big concern," Arteta told his post-match news conference.

Arsenal's defeat leaves them in fifth on goal difference, though they do have a game in hand on fourth-placed Tottenham.

Mikel Arteta acknowledged Arsenal have to accept criticism and apologise after they were thumped 3-0 by Crystal Palace in a demoralising London derby defeat.

Arsenal saw their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four damaged on Monday as their run of five straight top-flight away wins ended in emphatic fashion.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew had Palace two goals up inside 24 minutes and a second-half penalty from Wilfried Zaha ended any hopes of a Gunners comeback.

The defeat leaves Arsenal fifth in the table, behind rivals Tottenham on goal difference, though they still do have a game in hand.

"From the beginning we were not at the races," Arsenal boss Arteta said to Sky Sports.

"When you come here you have to compete. You have to win duels and second balls and be aggressive – we were none of those.

"On top of that we were really poor on the ball. We were really inconsistent on the ball and that is unacceptable.

"It is time to accept the criticism, put your hand up and apologise because this performance was not good enough for this club and then react. 

"Congratulations to Palace because they deserved to win for the game they played. They always play like this.

"We are humble enough to accept the criticism. You don't feel sorry for yourself because we lost players and a football match.

"We made it impossible for ourselves with the way we competed. You have to be physical and run and then you earn the right to play. 

"We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologise to our supporters. We didn't have the presence or the composure to dominate the situation so that is what I'm most annoyed with."

Arsenal had 12 shots compared to Palace's six, yet the hosts got five of their attempts on target with the Gunners only testing Vicente Guaita three times.

Arteta added: "When we had the big chances we didn't score to give ourselves the best chance to get back in the game. 

"We tried in the second half, we had three or four big chances but the only half chance they had they got a penalty.

"First of all we need to put our hands up and get the criticism we deserve. Then we accept it, look ourselves in the mirror and look to the next game.

"This was not good enough. Some days you are not there and you are late all the time. They got on top of it and had a good atmosphere and we could not get out.

"We have to face the challenge and the opportunity is in our hands. We have to be honest with ourselves and support each other."

The loss was the first time Arsenal had been beaten by three or more goals in a Premier League London derby since suffering a defeat by the same scoreline to Palace in 2017, while the Eagles have now scored seven goals across their last two games in all competitions without conceding in return.

Arsenal have won just one of their last eight Premier League clashes with Palace (D5 L2), after winning nine of the 11 before that (D1 L1).

Arteta's side will look to bounce back when they host Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Arsenal's top-four hopes were dented by a 3-0 defeat to an impressive Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday. 

The Gunners were unable to reclaim their spot in the Premier League top four having been leapfrogged by arch-rivals Tottenham, who defeated Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday. 

They struggled to cope with the intensity of Palace – coached by former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira – and shipped goals to Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew in quick succession in the first half. 

After failing to take the chances that came their way, Arsenal were punished by a 74th-minute spot-kick from Wilfried Zaha that ended their hopes of mounting a late comeback. 

Arsenal had the lion's share of possession in the opening quarter of an hour but they fell behind when Mateta nodded Joachim Andersen's cushioned header into the back of the net. 

Palace doubled their lead eight minutes later when Gabriel Magalhaes failed to cut out Andersen's throughball to Ayew, who curled a fine finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box. 

Arteta replaced Nuno Tavares with Gabriel Martinelli at half-time and shifted Granit Xhaka to left-back but the Gunners still looked ponderous when attacking. 

They were found wanting when chances did come their way too. Emile Smith Rowe produced a tame effort when presented with a decent opportunity and in the 67th minute Martin Odegaard failed to hit the target from 12 yards out. 

Those misses proved costly when, after a long delay, referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot following Odegaard's tackle on Zaha in the box and the Ivory Coast winger dispatched the resulting penalty. 

Eddie Nketiah struck the upright with a swirling attempt in the closing stages but Palace continued to frustrate the Gunners until the final whistle.

What does it mean? Gunners' grip weakens 

Arsenal saw a run of five straight away wins in the Premier League come to an end in south London. 

They sit below Spurs on goal difference but can take solace in the fact they still have a game in hand.

Palace, meanwhile, moved up to ninth and are now unbeaten in seven straight games in all competitions – a run that has also seen them reach the FA Cup semi-finals. 

Zaha shines 

The relentless running of Zaha made Palace a significant threat on the break but also played a part in them keeping a clean sheet. His efforts were rewarded with a goal from the 18th penalty he has won in his Premier League career – only Raheem Sterling (23) and Jamie Vardy (21) have won more. 

Nuno no good 

After failing to even challenge Andersen on the assist for the opening goal, Tavares did not track the run of Ayew on the second. He was deservedly hooked by Arteta at half-time. 

What's next? 

Arsenal entertain Brighton and Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, while Palace travel to Leicester City the following day. 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not willing to be drawn into mind games with Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte and is instead focused on getting the most out of his players.

Conte last week stated that Spurs would require "a miracle" to finish fourth place in the Premier League.

Tottenham increased the pressure on Arsenal by hammering Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday to leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League qualification spot.

However, the Gunners are only behind Tottenham on goal difference and have two games in hand, the first of those coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Conte's comments were perceived as being psychological tactics ahead of a potentially tense run-in that will see the fierce rivals do battle in a rescheduled game.

But Arteta, who was named Manager of the Month for March, is only interested in deploying such tactics internally.

"I don't know if we are favourites [for the top four]," Arteta said. "That is a question for [Conte]. 

"But what we want to do is very clear and the perception of what people think is not going to change it."

When asked if he is a manager who wants to engage in mind games, Arteta replied: "I do it more with my players, I think.

"I do it more with the players, if I have to, to get what I want from them. I can't tell you how I do it because they will know what they are doing and that is the whole point!"

Arsenal have won six of their past seven games ahead of their trip to Palace, who are managed by Gunners midfield legend Patrick Vieira.

Arteta's side have won each of their past five away top-flight matches, which is their best run since a streak of eight in a row between March and September 2013.

That is a remarkable turnaround following their worst start to a Premier League campaign when losing their first three games, and Arteta is confident his young squad can maintain their form.

"There is nothing different; they have already been dealing with [the pressure] for weeks," he said. 

"This is a conversation we have had now for over six to eight weeks, so they have already been through that and have responded really, really well.

"There is nothing new because they have already been doing it and capable of doing it."

Arsenal have lost just one of their past 16 away league games against Palace (W8 D7), though that defeat did come in a Monday game back in April 2017 (3-0).

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta remains uninterested by the other teams in the Premier League's top-four race, insisting it is all in the Gunners' hands.

Arteta's side have lost just one of eight top-flight games since a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the start of 2022, surging up the table to fourth in the league.

Arsenal are three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who have played a game more, as they push for Champions League qualification, with their next fixture coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.

That means Spurs, Manchester United and West Ham will have all played before the Gunners are in action at Selhurst Park, but Arteta does not see the late game as an advantage over his competitors.

"We're going to focus on what we can do. That's the only thing we can control," he told reporters at Thursday's pre-match news conference. 

"Through the TV we can suffer and we can enjoy and there's not much else we can do. What we have to do is win the football matches that we need to achieve what we want and that's all in our hands."

Aaron Ramsdale missed the 1-0 win at Aston Villa last time out, with Bukayo Saka scoring the winner before the teenager withdrew from international duty with England due to COVID-19.

Arteta confirmed Saka has returned to training, but the clash with Patrick Vieira's Palace may come too soon for Ramsdale, who suffered a muscle injury in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool earlier in the month.

"Bukayo is feeling good," he added. "He's training today hopefully if he's still feeling as he was yesterday. Aaron, it's a doubt. He's still feeling not great, he hasn't trained yet so we don't know what he'll be able to do on Monday.

"He wanted to play against Villa but it was a significant injury and he had to take his time and the physios are doing everything they can. We will see more in the next few days when he starts to do real training."

Meanwhile, Takehiro Tomiyasu nears a return from a calf injury that has kept him on the sidelines since early January.

"I think it will be close. He's been training more and more. He has the boys back now, so he will be joining some sessions this week, and let's see how it is," the Spaniard said of Tomiyasu.

The Premier League also announced the reintroduction of five substitutes from the start of next season, a decision that Arteta is glad to see introduced.

"I'm glad that in the end, we have unified the criteria with the whole of Europe," he said on the rule change. "It's now how we do it and how we manage it. There will be some changes because that gives you different opportunities and tactically the chance to make some changes.

"I think the most important thing is that you manage the load of the players much better. Make sure we don't slow the game down too much and I think it's good. It gives the players opportunities to be on the pitch, which is what they want to do.

"The options you are given to change the game, to refresh the game, to change in many different positions which is something you are always restricted to do, and probably the timing of the subs because when you have three the last sub is always in the back of your mind and if you make it too early you can pay the consequences. So that gives you more flexibility."

Gareth Southgate understands why Wilfried Zaha chose to switch his international allegiance to Ivory Coast, with the England manager unsure of what the winger's role might have been with the Three Lions.

Zaha made two friendly appearances for England back in 2012 and 2013, but he was not picked by Southgate when he took over in 2016, despite impressing after his return to Crystal Palace.

The forward eventually elected to play for Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Zaha has gone on to play in 11 of Ivory Coast's 12 matches across the past three Africa Cup of Nations, scoring twice in the 2019 edition, although he has only turned out twice in World Cup qualifiers. Ivory Coast failed to advance to Qatar 2022.

The 29-year-old is in fine form, having scored 10 goals across all competitions for Patrick Vieira's Palace side this season – just one shy of matching his best total for the club, set last season – and will now get the chance to go up against England when the Three Lions host Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday.

"He's a talent," Southgate told reporters when asked about Zaha. "He's a good player playing at a high level every week.

"He felt the Ivory Coast was the route to go and I totally understood that. It's hard to say what his role might have been with us.

"Raheem [Sterling] has been a key part of our team for a long period, Jesse Lingard had done a fabulous job and, at the start, we had Adam Lallana, who was our player of the year for the first 18 months or so."


Southgate coached Zaha while he was in charge of England Under-21s and conceded it was a hard time for the then Manchester United winger.

"When we had him with the Under-21s he was in the middle of a very difficult spell both with Manchester United and then on loan with Cardiff," said Southgate, who explained that he never doubted Zaha's commitment or desire to play.

"I remember being asked at the time – and we were asked about a few different cases – and I said players have to have the desire to play for England.

"That was slightly tweaked a bit, I would say, so that created a little bit of an atmosphere with Wilf and [Palace chairman] Steve Parish for a while.

"That wasn't an insinuation on Wilf – you couldn't have a more passionate player, as anyone who follows Crystal Palace knows."

The Football Association insists it intends to work with the UK government to ensure both FA Cup semi-finals have sell-out crowds.

Questions have been raised whether Chelsea fans will be able to attend the game against Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium with the club still working under government-imposed sanctions, preventing them from making a profit by selling match tickets.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and had his assets frozen, after he announced his intentions to sell the Premier League club earlier in March.

A statement released on Monday by the FA confirmed its desire to discuss the matter with the government to potentially allow Blues fans to attend the game, scheduled to take place on April 16 or 17.

"We hope to have sell-out crowds at both of our Emirates FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium," the statement read.

"This includes tickets for Chelsea supporters for their match against Crystal Palace, and we are working with the government on a method to achieve this whilst respecting the sanctions that are currently in place on Chelsea."

Chelsea later stated their gratitude for the FA's efforts in the matter, writing on Twitter: "We are grateful for the FA's continuing efforts to help us find a solution." 

The other semi-final will see Manchester City face Liverpool, with uncertainty around the arrangements for that game also after it emerged that there are currently no scheduled trains between Manchester or Liverpool and London for that weekend.

Manchester City will meet Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals if Jurgen Klopp's Reds see off Nottingham Forest in their quarter-final tie, while Chelsea will face Crystal Palace.

City's dominant 4-1 win against Southampton means Pep Guardiola's team have reached the competition's final four in four consecutive seasons, last lifting the trophy with a 6-0 win over Watford in 2019.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have lost on penalties in each of their last two Wembley meetings with City, doing so in the 2016 EFL Cup final and the 2019 Community Shield, with both matches finishing 1-1 after extra time.

After thrashing the Saints on Sunday, Guardiola's Premier League leaders have now hit four or more goals in 80 different games under his management, with Liverpool doing so on 58 occasions during that time, the second highest tally amongst English sides.

Chelsea have finished as FA Cup runners-up in three of the last five seasons, and after advancing to the last four with a routine 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday, will be looking to record a third consecutive win over Patrick Viera's Eagles this season.

Palace's 4-0 quarter-final victory over Everton, meanwhile, means they have won four consecutive games in the competition for the first time since 2016, when they lost the final to Manchester United.

Should Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea progress from that tie, they could face either a repeat of last season's Champions League final, in which they defeated Man City 1-0 via a Kai Havertz goal.

Frank Lampard claimed there is a problematic "culture" at Everton that will require "huge" work to fix following his side's FA Cup thrashing at the hands of Crystal Palace.

The Toffees were beaten 4-0 at Selhurst Park in Sunday's quarter-final as Lampard became the third manager to lose each of his first four away games in charge of the club and the first since 1956.

Everton lost Andros Townsend to injury after a bright start, and once Marc Guehi had headed in the opener after 25 minutes, their resistance seemed to crumble.

Jean-Philippe Mateta made it 2-0 before half-time, with Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes doubling Palace's lead in the final 11 minutes to complete a resounding win.

Everton were jubilant on Thursday after Alex Iwobi's injury-time goal sealed a valuable victory over Newcastle United, but they have now lost nine of their 11 matches in 2022 and conceded 16 goals in five consecutive away losses.

Just three points separate them from Watford in the Premier League relegation zone and, despite having two games in hand, manager Lampard is worried about their predicament.

When asked how big the task facing him is, Lampard told ITV Sport: "Huge, huge, because some things I saw there and in our last away game are intrinsic. They're in there, they're in the culture, and they don't turn with the flick of a switch. They turn with a lot of hard work and character.

"I'm certainly up for that. I believe the players are up for that, but they have to show that in games, and they have to show a reaction in games to do things better.

"We could've been much more comfortable today, as in contesting that game to the end. That's where we should be. The way that we handled bits within the game, without Palace playing particularly well, allowed them a free pass into the semi-final, as far as I'm concerned."

Lampard did not think Palace had to play particularly well in order to progress to the final four.

"Every time we concede, our heads go down and we get worse," he said. "Did Palace have to be good to beat us today? No.

"I'm not disrespecting Palace; I've come here with Chelsea teams and seen Zaha give us problems, [Eberechi] Eze give us problems, Conor Gallagher is one of the best players in the league this year. None of that happened today, and we lost 4-0.

"The dream of getting to Wembley and playing in a semi-final and final has gone. As far as I'm concerned, the biggest prize always this year was, can we stay in the Premier League? That's the focus now."

To compound Everton's problems, it appears Townsend could be facing a lengthy spell out of action after injuring his knee.

"He got his feet caught in the turf. It looks a bad knee injury. I'm devastated for him," Lampard added.

"I don't think it will be weeks. I'll reserve judgement until we find out more. It'll be more than that."

Crystal Palace joined Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals as they thrashed Everton 4-0 on Sunday.

Frank Lampard's Everton headed to Selhurst Park on the back of a morale-boosting and much-needed league win over Newcastle United yet despite a bright start they crashed out of the cup.

Palace's 3-1 win over Everton in December in the Premier League was their first against the Toffees in 14 matches and they were well on their way to another thanks to first-half goals from Marc Guehi and Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Patrick Vieira's team were hardly troubled after the break, and they capped off progression in style thanks to late goals from Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes.

Everton might have been ahead inside the opening minute, but Ben Godfrey just failed to meet Michael Keane's scuffed shot.

Guehi survived a penalty claim after his sloppiness allowed Richarlison to pounce, though Everton's bright start was punctured when former Palace winger Andros Townsend suffered an apparent knee injury.

Palace made that break count, with the unmarked Guehi heading in from Olise's inswinging corner.

Zaha missed a great chance teed up by Mateta, yet the latter made no mistake when Palace's talisman returned the favour, drilling home first-time from a brilliant cutback, and only a last-ditch Seamus Coleman tackle prevented the striker doubling his tally before the break.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was introduced at half-time, yet he had managed just eight touches by the time Demarai Gray went close in the 66th minute.

There was precious little quality to the visitors' play despite their precarious position and their FA Cup exit was confirmed in fittingly humbling fashion as a sliced Olise strike hit the post and fell for Zaha to nudge home.

Hughes similarly tapped into an empty net for Palace's fourth to the delight of a jubilant home crowd.

Bernardo Silva insisted it is better to be in Manchester City's position rather than Liverpool's after the Premier League leaders were held at Crystal Palace.

Liverpool cut the gap on Pep Guardiola's side to three points with a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, and City could only respond with a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park on Monday.

City were twice thwarted by the frame of the goal, with Kevin De Bruyne and Joao Cancelo denied either side of the interval, but Palace battled valiantly to share the spoils.

Silva also squandered a pair of glorious chances in either half, with his touch letting him down from close range in the first before nudging wide from Jack Grealish's low cross after the break.

Liverpool play their game in hand against Arsenal on Wednesday and could be top by the time the two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on April 10, but Silva claimed he would rather be in his side's position.

"It was a tough game, we actually played well, we controlled the game apart from one or two times," Silva told Sky Sports after the match.

"We couldn't score, and we should've scored. Nine games to go, but it's still better to be in our position than in Liverpool's, and they have to play in our stadium, so it's going to be exciting.

"It's never easy to play at any team away in the Premier League. It's always better to win than draw, and we wanted to have an advantage of six points over Liverpool."

The goalless draw ended a run of 18 consecutive Premier League games in which City had scored, since a 2-0 defeat to Palace in October 2021.

Guardiola's side also mustered 18 shots in total without scoring against Palace, their biggest tally without a goal in the competition since their 18 efforts against Tottenham in August 2021.

City will be hoping to make amends in their next league outing at Burnley on April 2, after the international break and an FA Cup quarter-final trip to Southampton on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola insisted he had "no regrets" with his Manchester City side, despite them failing to restore their six-point lead at the Premier League summit on Monday.

Reigning top-flight champions City headed to Crystal Palace knowing victory would see them regain their advantage over Liverpool, who defeated Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 on Saturday.

However, Guardiola's team had to settle for just a point at Selhurst Park as they were twice denied by the woodwork through Joao Cancelo and Kevin De Bruyne either side of the break.

That leaves Liverpool, who are four points behind and play their game in hand against Arsenal on Wednesday, with the chance to top the table by the time the two teams meet on April 10 at the Etihad Stadium should City fail to beat Burnley in their next game.

But Guardiola, who did not introduce Gabriel Jesus or Raheem Sterling off the bench in search of a winner, refused to criticise his side after they again failed to breach Patrick Vieira's astute defence, Palace having recorded a 2-0 victory in the reverse fixture this season.

"I think they [Palace] played good," he told Sky Sports after the game.

"There are still many games to play, we have to win a lot of games but the way we played, there are no regrets about the team. We would have preferred to win of course but the game was well played.

"We played to win the game; we created more. The way we played was amazing in a difficult stadium with the grass not perfect."

He added to BBC Sport: "We played a really good game. In 90 minutes, we conceded mistakes a little bit, but the way we played was really good.

"Luck doesn't exist in football. We have to score goals and we didn't do it. We played to score goals and concede few. We struggled a little bit.

"The guys who were playing were playing good, that's why I didn't make changes. We didn't score, that was the mistake.

"The team that was there today was there before and will be there in the next game. I am very pleased with the performance and the way we played."

Manchester City failed to restore their six-point lead at the Premier League summit as they were held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Palace had been looking to complete a first league double over City since 1987-88 but settled simply for frustrating Pep Guardiola's side, who went the closest to opening the scoring in the first half when Joao Cancelo rattled the woodwork.

Kevin De Bruyne was also denied by the frame of the goal after the interval, with no late winner forthcoming at Selhurst Park.

The stalemate meant City moved just four points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand and are yet to play the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

Michael Olise poked narrowly wide in the opening stages, while Bernardo Silva spurned a glorious chance after Vicente Guaita had spilled a De Bruyne strike at the other end.

De Bruyne then tested Guaita's reactions with an audacious volley, before Cancelo cannoned against the left post with a thunderous long-range effort, with Aymeric Laporte squandering the inviting rebound inside the area.

Riyad Mahrez almost found the top-left corner with a left-footed curler, then De Bruyne struck the right post after the break with his low drive. Guaita tipped over from Mahrez on the follow-up, but a belated offside flag meant a breakthrough goal would not have stood.

Silva wasted another gilt-edged chance to nudge City ahead when he touched wide from Jack Grealish's cross, while Laporte failed to make clean contact with a close-range header late on.

Conor Gallagher could even have stolen victory as his shot from a tight angle rose over Ederson's goal in stoppage time.

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