In a season during which there have been precious few shock results in the Premier League, Crystal Palace’s win at Manchester City felt practically seismic for everyone at Etihad Stadium.
For the first half hour, everything went as expected with Fabian Delph’s drive from the edge of the box forcing a fine stop from Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal in the second minute, the home side dominating possession and keeping the visitors trapped inside their own half.
Leroy Sane fired into the side netting and Nicolas Otamendi’s goal-bound header was deflected just wide but Man City eventually took the lead when Gundogan crept in at the back post, played onside by Patrick van Aanholt, to head home Delph’s right-foot cross.
Schlupp allowed Gundogan to run off him for the opener but more than atoned by shifting outside a tired Kyle Walker challenge and arrowing a strike into the bottom right corner.
If that finish was impressive, Townsend’s remarkable goal 10 minutes before half-time was something else altogether as he put his left foot sweetly through an audacious volley, leaving Ederson with no chance.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Guardiola sent Sergio Aguero on but within a minute of the Argentine’s introduction, Palace had a third.
Walker made a dreadfully rash challenge as Max Meyer sought to retrieve the rebound to concede a penalty and Milivojevic, who had a penalty saved by Ederson in a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park last season, made no mistake.
Gundogan whistled a shot just wide from 25 yards, Sane’s free-kick struck the post but bounced wide and it took De Bruyne’s over-hit cross to drift beyond Guaita and into the far corner with five minutes to reduce the deficit.
From the jubilant reaction of the travelling Eagles fans, who could barely believe what they just watched, to the gobsmacked silence of the City fans so used to seeing their side steamroller the opposition, this was a reminder of how sometimes even games featuring the top-flight’s leading sides do not follow the expected script.