Wilmslow Express - - CITY LIFE LOCAL -

ROBBED by the of­fi­cials, ru­ined by their own profli­gacy, and lack­ing in brav­ery ... City’s poor ti­tle de­fence jud­dered to a halt this week.

And, un­less the Blues can rouse them­selves for an as­sault on Old Traf­ford next Sun­day, and stage a grand fi­nale to a stut­ter­ing sea­son, they could well be part­ing ways with manager Manuel Pel­le­grini.

It was dif­fi­cult not to feel sorry for the Chilean as three bad de­ci­sions by the of­fi­cials saw City go be­hind to an off­side goal and then fail to get a clear penalty from Glenn Mur­ray’s hand­ball.

But the fact re­mains that City cre­ated a host of chances, and failed to take them.

And when Palace scored their sec­ond, the way in which Yaya Toure ducked away from the shot – rather than take it in the face – spoke vol­umes.

Yaya is a big man, but he was the low­est point of the wall as Ja­son Pun­cheon dipped his shot over it – and had goal­keeper Joe Hart clearly ask­ing at full time “What hap­pened to the wall?” as he looked at the big screen for any re­plays.

It is not the first time City play­ers have been found want­ing in such mo­ments – Edin Dzeko turned away from Ge­orge Boyd’s win­ning goal at Burn­ley, and Blues fans have only just for­given Samir Nasri for a sim­i­lar lack of fi­bre when Robin van Per­sie scored the win­ner in the derby at the Eti­had Sta­dium two sea­sons ago.

But ti­tle-win­ning teams need courage as well as fi­nesse, and that would mean in­cred­i­ble brav­ery - both men­tal and phys­i­cal.

If they go into the derby in this mind-set – and with a sim­i­larly aw­ful set of of­fi­cials – City will be fac­ing fight for a top four spot, never mind the ti­tle.

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