Friday 9 December 2016

Crystal Palace v Manchester City - story of the match

Published 19/11/2016 | 17:46

Yaya Toure came in from the cold to fire Manchester City to victory
Yaya Toure came in from the cold to fire Manchester City to victory

Yaya Toure returned from his Manchester City exile to inspire a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace that maintains their pursuit of the Premier League title.

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The midfielder was a surprise inclusion in Pep Guardiola's starting XI - making his first Premier League appearance of the season - and justified his selection by scoring each of the goals that brought them level on 27 points with league leaders Liverpool.

Substitute Connor Wickham's second-half finish briefly took Palace level. Toure then responded by delivering the statement he needed when scoring second-placed City's winning goal to ensure Palace would suffer a fifth successive defeat.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Agents don't play on the field. Does @YayaToure have a part to play?" - former Manchester City striker Shaun Goater (@OfficialSGoater) suggested Toure's agent Dimitri Seluk should let the midfielder do the talking.

STAR MAN

Toure. Returning to City's starting XI for the first time since August, the midfielder responded impressively with two goals - one in each half - that secured City all three points and means he is likely to remain a part of Guardiola's first-team squad for the remainder of the season.

The clinical midfielder's individual influence cannot be doubted. It should not be overlooked, however, that owing partly to his languid style, City's speed and movement was not as impressive as it has been for much of the season. There is little question they are better to watch when David Silva starts in his place.

SURPRISE OF THE MATCH

Toure's inclusion. Even after he apologised for the "misunderstandings" that had contributed much to his absence from the first team, there was no guarantee that Guardiola would immediately forgive him, or that he would justify inclusion over the numerous other midfielders in City's squad.

The timing of this fixture - against an out-of-form team, five days prior to a Champions League match against Borussia Monchengladbach - perhaps explains much. City can ensure they progress to the competition's last 16 with victory, so in playing Toure, the influential Silva was among those Guardiola was able to rest.

IN WITH THE CROWD

In the 19th minute, Palace fans started a minute's applause for Harry Davies and Dane Chinnery, 19-year-old fans of the club. The latter had died in the recent tram crash in Croydon, while Davies was hit by a train last month. Another followed in the 57th minute for another fan who died in the tram accident, the 57-year-old Phil Seary.

There had also been a minute's silence prior to kick-off, marking both the November 9 tram tragedy that killed seven people, as well as Davies' death.

PLAYER RATINGS

Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey: 7

Joel Ward: 8

James Tomkins: 6

Scott Dann: 7

Martin Kelly: 5

Yohan Cabaye: 6

James McArthur: 6

Wilfried Zaha: 7

Jason Puncheon: 6

Andros Townsend: 6

Christian Benteke: 6

Substitutes

Connor Wickham (for Townsend, HT): 8

Bakary Sako (for Kelly, 86): 5

Lee Chung-yong (for Benteke, 81): 5

Manchester City

Claudio Bravo: 7

Bacary Sagna: 8

Vincent Kompany: 6

Nicolas Otamendi: 8

Aleksandar Kolarov: 6

Fernandindho: 6

Yaya Toure: 8

Raheem Sterling: 8

Kevin De Bruyne: 8

Nolito: 7

Sergio Aguero: 7

Substitutes

Pablo Zabaleta (for Kompany, 37): 8

David Silva (for Nolito, 67): 7

Fernando (for Aguero, 86): 5

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City, Champions League, Wednesday, November 23

Swansea v Crystal Palace, Premier League, Saturday, November 26

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