Little joy for Keegan in ransacking dire Palace

Crystal Palace 1 Manchester City 2

Victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday took Manchester City into the top half of the Premiership table, but Kevin Keegan has been around long enough to know that this result will have little bearing on his long-term future. "I'm safe for a week," the City manager admitted.

Beating Crystal Palace was like taking sweets off a five-year-old. Iain Dowie's team did not go down without a fight and showed admirable spirit to the end, but if City cannot beat a team looking so badly out of their depth then Keegan should start clearing his office. While they rarely dominated, City looked superior in every area.

When you look at the quality in Keegan's squad - not to mention the money he has spent - it is small wonder that his future has been questioned by fans and media. Since going fifth with victory at Southampton last November, City have won only six of 33 Premiership matches. For the moment the former England manager has the backing of his board, but there is no escaping that City are under-achieving.

There was evidence to back Keegan's assertion that there is little wrong with his team's commitment, the manager emphatically denying reports of a rift with the defender Danny Mills. City worked hard and their refusal to give Dowie's men time on the ball was crucial.

"If there were any cracks in our armour, any weakness or disarray in our camp, they would have been shown here today because the one thing Palace do is fight you," Keegan said. "I am safe for a week. We have tough games coming up and maybe the pressure will come back, but maybe you [the media] will move your circus somewhere else, take it to another town and maybe some poor other guy will get the stick I have got this week." Maybe. Those tough games ahead are at home to Arsenal and Chelsea and away to Southampton and Newcastle. While Keegan's team have enough quality to cope with the likes of Palace, City supporters have a right to expect more than victories over the Premiership's basement teams.

Keegan can at least be thankful that Nicolas Anelka is finding his form. Although the Frenchman performed in fits and starts here, his two goals took his season's tally to five. His first strike, a sweetly struck shot from 15 yards, provided the game's one moment of true striking quality. Anelka doubled the lead with a penalty after Danny Granville had brought down Shaun Wright-Phillips on 64 minutes.

City squandered at least half a dozen other good chances, although none were more clear-cut than the opportunity spurned by Palace's Sandor Torghelle in the first half. Wayne Routledge's cross found the Hungarian in space five yards out, but his miscued shot summed up Palace's day.

After five successive defeats it is hard to see where Palace's first win will come from. Andy Johnson, such a threat during last season's promotion campaign, barely got a sniff of the ball here and his strike partner, Torghelle, looks one-paced and one-dimensional. Nicola Ventola, on loan from Internazionale, brought some quality after coming on as a substitute and got Palace back into the game when a storming run was ended by Sylvain Distin's foul, Johnson converting the penalty. City were on the back foot for the remaining quarter of an hour, but a defence marshalled by Richard Dunne was rarely threatened.

Goals: Anelka (55) 0-1; Anelka pen (64) 0-2; Johnson pen (77) 1-2.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Boyce, Hudson, Hall, Granville; Routledge, Riihilahti (Watson, 70), Hughes, Derry (Kolkka, 60); Torghelle (Ventola, 60), Johnson. Substitutes not used: Kiraly (gk), Powell.

Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher; Wright-Phillips, Reyna, Barton, Sibierski; Anelka, Macken (Jihai, 88). Substitutes not used: Waterreus (gk), Fowler, Bosvelt, Flood.

Bookings: Crystal Palace: Hall, Hughes. Manchester City: Sibierski, Distin.

Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Man of the match: Dunne.

Attendance: 25,052.

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall