Yaya Touré: Top 10 City matches

‘He’s back!’ erupted social media – just as the vast majority of the footballing world were convinced that Yaya Touré was no longer part of Pep Guardiola’s plans for domination, quite astoundingly he was named on the City team sheet to play Crystal Palace after over two months in exile.

Even before Dimitri Seluk’s irritating involvement in the saga that finally ended with a Touré apology, the Ivorian’s last game under Pep was a formality. He was given the nod in centre-midfield for a meaningless Champions League qualifier second leg home tie against Steaua Bucharest, who the Blues soundly put to bed courtesy of a rare goal from Fabian Delph.

Since Guardiola previously sold Touré at Barcelona, to City, everyone could be forgiven for drawing the ultimate conclusion that he was heading through the exit door after six years of crucial contribution to the Blues’ success.

But to our utter bemusement, the former Arsenal trainee was back with a thumping bang. By far the stand out performer, City fans everywhere were given a flashback to Yaya’s years of reliability, panache and importance to the team.

Two goals by the 33-year-old to claim victory at Selhurst Park is what followed, and now the Blues have yet another star man to help keep their title challenge intact. In celebration, we rewind the clock and take a look at Touré’s most crucial, noteworthy and peer-reviewed performances:

10. West Ham 1-3 City (2010/2011)

West Ham United v Manchester City - Premier League

Just months after the centre-midfielder’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium for the eventual bargain fee of £24 million, there was still a great deal of skepticism surrounding his move. Many pundits were questioning the usefulness of Touré and how a Barcelona reject would have any great contribution to an ambitious City side. How wrong they were. After many consistent performances, this one was the alarm bell to football fans throughout the land that he was a key man.

A thunderous left-footed strike from the edge of the area and a deflected shot off Robert Green was enough to claim a much needed three points at Upton Park and make Yaya’s presence known.

9. Real Madrid 3-2 City (2012/2013)

Real Madrid v Manchester City FC - UEFA Champions League

The Bernabeu was the scene of one of the most epic performances ever displayed in a sky blue jersey – Touré’s ruthless performance away to Spanish giants, Real Madrid, was by a mile the biggest positive we could take from a thoroughly frustrating defensive performance.

This was a stage City had never been on, away to arguably the biggest team in world football – an inferiority complex was present, but not for Yaya. The African player of the year took the game by the scruff of the neck and asked the Galacticos numerous questions. A performance that earned many plaudits and almost definitely deserved to be on the winning side.

8. Chelsea 1-2 City (2012/2013)

Chelsea v Manchester City - FA Cup Semi Final

Under big pressure, an FA Cup semi-final victory could’ve helped overshadow a poor title defence – although we lost the final, this enticing Wembley encounter certainly helped to distract the fans. A dramatic match, City supporters were left biting their finger nails until finally getting past a determined Chelsea side. Roberto Mancini’s tactical decision of playing Touré in a more advanced role seemed to pay off, with the Ivorian putting in a phenomenal attacking display that provided a thumping rhythm to the Blues’ passing and threatened the baffled opposition throughout. Arguably a remarkable contribution deserved of an FA Cup medal.

7. City 4-1 Manchester United (2013/2014)

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-MAN UTD

The first derby of the Manuel Pellegrini era and an unforgettable one at that, City made sure David Moyes’ United went through abject humiliation. A key ingredient to this colossal win was, as always, Yaya Touré. Not one foot was set wrong all match and the Ivorian was rewarded for his constant charging threat – a simple back post finish from a corner to make it 2-0 to the Blues at half time. His presence was there all game, whether he was making a typically unstoppable steaming run forward or doggedly helping out at the back.

6. City 4-0 Aston Villa (2013/2014)

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-ASTON VILLA

It all came down to this, Liverpool’s slip ups allowed City to regain their place at the top of the league and potentially win their second title in three years. The stage was set, as was Touré. This game will mostly be remembered for Yaya’s impeccable solo goal that left at least five Aston Villa defenders for dead before smashing the ball into the back of the net. His balanced powerful surge was quite simply a thing of beauty – like a freight train, unstoppable. A performance that pretty much summed up the Ivorian’s contribution to our success.

5. Manchester United 0-3 City (2013/2014)

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

The 2013/2014 season was one of stardom. Two trophies, 102 league goals scored and a double against bitter rivals Manchester United. Much like the last humiliation, Touré was at the centre of this famous win at Old Trafford. Dictating the play so effortlessly, the Red Devils simply couldn’t contain his marauding midfield presence. Yaya then got his just reward, gliding past Patrice Evra with David De Gea at his mercy, the ball was cooly slotted into the bottom corner to make it 3-0. Sealing the win.

4. City 1-0 Manchester United (2011/2012)

Manchester United's English striker Wayn

Need I describe this encounter? After miraculously clawing back an eight point deficit at the start of April, City needed to beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s then feared United to put the title race back in their hands. The atmosphere was electric and anxiety was potent all around the Etihad. Our very own Vincent Kompany scored the winning goal with a first half header, one of the most pivotal moments of the Blues’ modern history. However, Yaya’s performance was just as crucial. Park-Ji-Sung was left for dead all night as a result of the former Barcelona man’s scintillating work in midfield.

3. Newcastle 0-2 City (2011/2012)

Manchester City's Ivorian midfielder Yay

After the famous derby win, it was business as usual for Mancini’s side and a level head had to be maintained. No slip-ups could be afforded now, and a trip to an in-form Newcastle side was the last thing we needed. We needed a professional performance worthy of aspiring champions, and we got it. Up until the last 20 minutes, the game was goalless and anxiety was setting in amongst City fans up and down the country – we looked assertive and possessed a degree of control, but the goal needed to come soon. Thankfully, Yaya stepped up, guideing a curling right footed shot past Tim Krul for the opening goal after wonderful link-up play with Sergio Aguero – cue mass hysteria. The win was then sealed on the counter-attack in the last five minutes of the game – Gael Clichy slid it through the legs of Davide Santon to Touré who kindly blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

2. City 1-0 United (2010/2011)

Manchester City v Manchester United - FA Cup Semi Final

Every City supporter has fond memories of this wonderful afternoon. The first cup tie between United and City since the League Cup semi-final a year before, the Reds were flying high looking set to regain the Premier League title from Chelsea, but for City this was a must win game. And win we did, following a tight affair. Touré intercepted a sloppy Michael Carrick pass and glided round Nemanja Vidic to slot the ball comfortably past Edwin Van De Sar. Wembley erupted and Yaya’s name was forever written into FA Cup folklore after the Blues ground out a legendary win at Wembley.

1. City 1-0 Stoke (2010/2011)

Manchester City v Stoke City - FA Cup Final

FA Cup final day – the opportunity for City to win their first piece of silverware in 35 years. Wembley was rammed with sky blue shirts awaiting to see the triumphant equivalent to a fairy tale. After a tense match, which involved Joe Hart making a crucial save one-on-one with Kenwyne Jones and a heart-stopping penalty appeal against Vincent Kompany, our anxieties were put to rest by the ever present force of Touré. The former Monaco man smashed a ricocheting ball past Thomas Sorensen for the winning goal – ultimately ending the Blues’ long wait for an allusive trophy.

Written by Emilio Galantini

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