In a remarkable afternoon of football Manchester City found themselves well and truly back in the Premier League title race. After Liverpool lost to Chelsea, City set about Crystal Palace with an air of professional ruthlessness to earn a 2-0 win. Here’s a look at the player ratings.
Joe Hart – 7
A quiet afternoon for Joe as Palace barely troubled City’s back line. He saved well when needed and commanded his box well.
Pablo Zabaleta – 7
An afternoon where Pablo was able to get forward almost at will thanks in part to Palace’s limitations going forward and James Milner’s defensive diligence. Almost set up Aguero for a goal and looked dangerous all afternoon.
Vincent Kompany – 7
Solid and dependable. Everything you’ve come to expect of the captain. Admittedly, he was never going to be troubled by this Palace side but a clean sheet is a clean sheet, believe it or not.
Martin Demichelis – 7
Has become something of a cult hero amongst the City faithful and you can’t argue with his recent performances. Fully deserving of his starting berth in the team given our options and he’s persisted with that haircut for a decade so credit where credits due.
Aleksandar Kolarov – 6
Not too many standout moments for Mr Kolarov and was fairly limited going forward. That said, it was a comfortable afternoon for him as his colleagues excelled.
Javi Garcia – 8
Who would have thought it at the beginning of the season? Another top performance from the much improved Spaniard. He is playing with confidence, protects the back four astutely and always drops into space when our full backs or centre halves decide to push forward. My heart broke for him when he said he was affected by the grumblings of the crowd earlier in the season but that is a thing of the past now.
Yaya Toure – 9 (man of the match)
A match winning performance from Yaya. A delicious cross for Dzeko’s opener and a trademark charge forward and silky finish for his goal. Graeme Souness, on Sky Sports, asked the question on no one’s lips yesterday when he questioned whether City would have won the game if Yaya hadn’t been in the team. Top punditry that.
GIF via HighlightHub
James Milner – 7
A good performance from Jimmy. He combined well with Zabaleta down the right and ensured that Palace has no joy on that wing. Even if he’s not at his best he still affects the game.
Samir Nasri – 7
A quieter day for the Frenchman but still valuable to the team. Set Toure on his way for City’s crucial second. His performances this season meant we didn’t lament David Silva’s absence maybe as much as we would have. A contender for the “Most Improved Player” award, if there is one. I don’t think there is. If there is, there shouldn’t be.
Edin Dzeko – 8
So that’s what Edin can do, eh? A top performance from the Bosnian full of energy and attacking purpose. He told Yaya where to put the ball and duly obliged by sticking it in the back of the net to set City on there way. More of the same please, Edin.
Sergio Aguero – 8
City have learnt their lesson and are gradually bringing Aguero back up to full fitness. He looked lively and dangerous yesterday but was afforded some rest when he substituted with 10 minutes left. He may well hit full stride just at the right time as City chase the title. With the World Cup looming Aguero will be desperate to stay fit as well.
Fernandinho – 7
A decent cameo for Ferni. He’s played a lot recently and, in retrospect, starting him from the bench worked well even if it seemed a little worrying when the teams were announced.
Stevan Jovetic – 7
It’s a shame we haven’t seen more of Stevan this season as he looks one hell of a player. Hopefully next season he can show us what he’s all about. A lot depends on whether he can stay fit.
Alvaro Negredo – n/a
Too late to mark.
Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter