Soccer-Pellegrini blames fatigue as City run out of zip

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini blamed English football's traditional Christmas fixture pile-up for his team's off-colour performance in a 1-0 Premier League win over struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday. A 66th-minute strike by Bosnian Edin Dzeko settled a closely-fought match in which England goalkeeper Joe Hart made a string of good saves to help extend City's home league record to 10 wins out of 10 and send them top of the table. But after scoring 37 goals in nine effervescent home games, it was a flat display from City who moved two points clear of Arsenal, who play on Sunday. "I think the team that wants to win the title must have different faces," Pellegrini told reporters.

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