Apr 27, 2014, 1:09 PM EST
With Liverpool’s crushing loss to Chelsea at Anfield, a door opened for Manchester City, and they took it in convincing action.
Three points for City at Selhurst Park with a comprehensive 2-0 win over in-form Crystal Palace sees Manuel Pellegrini and company move to within three points of Liverpool with a game in hand.
Word of the Anfield result reached Manchester City just before coming out of the tunnel, and it clearly gave them a boost as Edin Dzeko put them up in just the fourth minute, and they never looked back.
The early goal actually wasn’t the first clear chance for Manchester City. Just minutes into the game, James Milner found an overlapping Pablo Zabaleta, but the wing-back’s cross into the box didn’t find any black shirts in a good area.
But just two minutes later, Dzeko found his header, off a cross from Yaya Toure, and Manchester City were well and truly into the lead. It was Dzeko’s 22nd goal of the season, and the City attack looked like they wouldn’t at all miss the injured David Silva and Jesus Navas.
City looked for more, but they would get fewer and fewer chances as Tony Pulis instilled a very physical presence into the midfield. Damien Delaney earned himself a booking for a hard foul, and more Palace players caught the ire of referee Howard Webb.
Palace used that play to get themselves back into the game, and while there weren’t any clear chances on goal, they built themselves up some confidence and possession.
Manchester City came very close to a second with 10 minutes to go before halftime, but Zabaleta’s pass into the box for a wide-open Yaya Toure was too slow, and the opportunity closed before it ever reached the Ivorian.
Frustration began to brew for the visitors, and Zabaleta himself earned a yellow card for a frustration foul on
With the aforementioned Navas and Silva out, City received a potentially big blow before the break, as Samir Nasri went down under a heavy challenge and limped his way off the pitch, but managed to come back on.
With Nasri back on the pitch, City would double their lead before halftime, this time on the break. Nasri played a one-two with a streaking Yaya Toure down the right flank.
With the sprinting giant usually known for his entrenching midfield passes and exquisite distance shots, his massive strides moving his body quickly down the touchline was quite a sight to see. Toure was dispossed in the box by Delaney, but the ball came back to him, and the midfielder slotted through for City’s second.
The second half featured more of a midfield battle with few chances, but Crystal Palace had precious few chances in the final third, and struggled to get past a physical City midfield while their passing was less than accurate.
James Puncheon, who had been brilliant through Palace’s five-match winning streak, was stuck on the right touchline with little freedom, and his passing was a poor 19/26 (73%), 8/14 in the final third.
The visitors looked and searched for a third, nearly finding it with 15 minutes to play but Alekander Kolarov’s low cross went untouched in the box, evading a pair of Manchester City attackers.
For Manchester City, they now have the same maximum possible points as Liverpool, with an eight-goal advantage on differential. The Citizens control their own destiny, although they still have to face Everton, Aston Villa, and West Ham.
The home side sees their five-match winning streak come to an end, but they are still firmly entrenched in their Premier League future, in 11th position and holding.
Crystal Palace – Speroni; Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie (Ince 74′), Puncheon; Chamakh (Gayle 69′), Jerome (Murray 69′).
Manchester City – Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Milner, Garcia, Toure (Fernandinho 66′), Nasri; Dzeko (Negredo 88′), Aguero (Jovetic 78′).
Goals: Dzeko 4′, Toure 43′
Dec 21, 2014, 11:59 PM EST
Antoine Griezmann breaks out with three goals in Atletico’s 4-1 result over Athletic Bilbao.
A day of Ronaldo: Real Madrid star erects statue of himself, thinks Real can win Champions League again
Dec 21, 2014, 10:21 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo has made headlines twice today, for erecting a statue of himself and claiming Real Madrid could repeat in the Champions League.
Dec 21, 2014, 9:07 PM EST
The sky continues to fall in Dortmund.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
Tim Howard converses about his recently released autobiography, “The Keeper.”
Dec 21, 2014, 7:40 PM EST
Jeremy Menez has done a fantastic job as AC Milan’s primary attacker, and he’s primarily aiming for the French national team call-up.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Ally McCoist has left Scottish Championship team Rangers, as the club has recognized the former star striker is now on “gardening leave.”
Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Catch up on Premier League Round 17 action from this Sunday.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
According to Brendan Rogers, Liverpool’s prime attacker, Daniel Sturridge, will make his return from a multi-month injury in early January.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:05 PM EST
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson on game-winner and Tyne-Wear derby triumphs: “Three years in a row, they must hate me here!”
Dec 21, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
Brendan Rodgers gives his thoughts after a 2-2 draw despite what he called “dominance” on the ball.
Dec 21, 2014, 3:12 PM EST
With polarizing halves separating the teams, Arsene Wenger said a draw was the correct result based on performance.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:29 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to bring a grudge with him to Morocco.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:44 PM EST
With Newcastle yielding late, Alan Pardew thinks he may have left his team a little too exposed as the clock ticked towards the final minute.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:08 PM EST
Martin Skrtel returned from a nasty injury and took full advantage of the resulting stopptage time.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:58 AM EST
A day to forget for the American central defender in Germany’s top flight.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EST
The boyhood Newcastle fan scored at St. James Park for the third year in a row as Sunderland stole the Tyne-Wear derby late.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:16 AM EST
Raheem Sterling looks to be the lone attacking option for Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers has left both his available strikers on the bench.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:52 AM EST
A magnetizing first touch leads to a meaningless but nonetheless beautiful goal by the man who gives us magic weekly.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:53 AM EST
The heated Tyne-Wear derby has brought us goals and fireworks of many kinds, and will be no different today as Sunderland looks to win four in a row over Newcastle for the first time ever.
Dec 20, 2014, 10:54 PM EST
Howard doesn’t think Lampard will start the MLS season with NYCFC, although he says he should.
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