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′
Nov 25, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
The only other active players in the Top Ten are Chelsea’s Didier Drogba (43) and Thierry Henry (50), who obviously isn’t active with a UEFA Champions League club.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
With top-quality players hardly ever available in January, the Portguese international could be a hot commodity in England.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
A urinary infection has Pele in the hospital just 10 days after being released following surgery.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Follow the latest batch of UEFA Champions League matches, right here.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:05 PM EST
To be completed in two phases,
Nov 25, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
“Air Marshall” not only earned his nickname, but helped to solidify an otherwise shaky back line.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:23 AM EST
Another major move in the world of money, which is clearly what FIFA is most concerned with.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:41 AM EST
While away with the team on a road trip, the Southampton midfielder’s house was ransacked and multiple valuables stolen, including his car.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:19 AM EST
Jack Wilshere will be out “for a few games” and will see a specialist after turning his ankle hard.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:26 AM EST
A fire broke out in the one building standing in the way of Tottenham’s proposed new stadium, a fishy situation indeed.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:03 AM EST
Back after steering the club to safety last season, Stevens has a taller task ahead of him this time around.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:23 PM EST
A rematch of the World Cup quarterfinals headlines the draw for the 2015 Copa America tournament.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
After leading his club to their second straight win, it’s a Burnley man as Round 12’s Player of the Week.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:25 PM EST
With a massive Champions League match against Bayern Munich tomorrow, Samir Nasri said Manchester City’s stars must perform to keep their jobs.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
After returning from injury ahead of schedule, Olivier Giroud found out he was never included on Arsenal’s Champions League roster.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:25 PM EST
Find out who made it into the starting XI in the latest edition of Premier League Team of the Week.
Nov 24, 2014, 6:28 PM EST
Manchester City hosts Bayern as Chelsea travel to Schalke on Matchday 5 of Champions League group play.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an in-depth look at the PL during Week 12.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:11 PM EST
Aston Villa led at halftime but a Nathaniel Clyne strike ensured a point for Southampton at Villa Park.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:32 PM EST
Struggling in England, the Reds need a result midweek to remain in the Champions League.
- Lionel Messi breaks Raul’s record for Champions League goals (video) 0
- LIVE – Champions League: Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich, Chelsea to Schalke 0
- Report: Sony will not renew sponsorship with FIFA over future World Cup shroud 3
- Wenger says Jack Wilshere has a “big ankle sprain” 2
- Premier League Playback: Should Liverpool fire Brendan Rodgers? 3
- Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton: Nathaniel Clyne secures point for Saints 2