Yaya Toure marked his return to the Manchester City starting lineup with a brace as his side beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the Premier League this afternoon.
Toure, who has spent the past few months in exile at the Etihad, opened the scoring after a smart one-two with Nolito. The home side hit back through Connor Wickham, a goal that Claudio Bravo will have been disappointed to concede as it was fairly central in the goal. The Ivorian bagged his second late in the game, latching onto the end of a Kevin De Bruyne corner and securing all three points for Guardiola’s side.
The only negative from a City point of view will be the injury to captain Vincent Kompany. He was withdrawn after a collision with Claudio Bravo with what appeared to be concussion.
Manchester City player ratings vs Crystal Palace
GK: Claudio Bravo 4/10
You have to question Claudio Bravo for Palace’s equaliser. Connor Wickham’s strike did have quite a bit of sting behind it, but it was by no means in the corner. There is certainly an argument that Joe Hart would be saving that. He also collided with Vincent Kompany in the first-half and gave his captain concussion. A day to forget for the Chilean.
RB: Bacary Sagna 5/10
Sagna was largely untested today, and didn’t really contribute when going forward. He was dependable on the few occasions he was called upon, but you can usually count on him for a bit more quality in the final third.
CB: Vincent Kompany 5/10
Vincent Kompany is completely out of luck. After a prolonged spell on the sidelines in the past 18 months with various muscular injuries, he was beginning to look fit again and forced his way into Guardiola’s starting eleven. Unfortunately for him, he only last 35 minutes today before being withdrawn with a concussion. He has Claudio Bravo to thank for his sore head this evening.
CB: Nicolas Otamendi 7/10
Nicolas Otamendi looked assured at the back for City today. The Argentine was at no fault for Wickham’s goal, and after a solid display from a personal standpoint, he’ll perhaps feel aggrieved that his side didn’t get the clean-sheet today.
LB: Aleksander Kolarov 6/10
Like Sagna, he didn’t have a whole lot to do today. He linked well with the midfield and offered an outlet from the left-hand-side, but didn’t contribute anything substantial for his side.
CM: Yaya Toure 10/10
Back with a bang! Yaya Toure marked his return to the City starting lineup with a brace. The Ivorian played a smart one-two with Nolito before firing into the back of the Palace net for his first. He then scored the winner for Guardiola’s side, latching onto the end of a Kevin De Bruyne corner. It raises questions as to whether he should have been recalled to the City starting eleven sooner.
CM: Fernandinho 8/10
Fernandinho has has hit an unprecedented level of performance under the management of Pep Guardiola. The Brazilian has emerged as one of the most accomplished midfielders in the Premier League. Today he was classy as ever for City in the middle of the park, distributing perfectly calculated passes and providing a shield for his defence.
RM: Raheem Sterling 5/10
Sterling was unable to have any sort of an impact on the game today. After a good performance for England against Spain in the week, he looked laboured today and wasn’t as much of a threat as he often is from the wings. He is in great need of a rest.
CAM: Kevin De Bruyne 7/10
In a similar manner to Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne’s usual creative influence was nullified today – but with one key difference. It was a moment of quality in the delivery from the De Bruyne that provided the assist for Yaya Toure’s second, which subsequently won the game. No player has more assists in the Premier League than De Bruyne this campaign, that’s a testament to the consistency in his final ball.
LM: Nolito 6/10
Nolito played a sharp one-two with Yaya Toure for the opening goal. Though he didn’t directly threaten the Palace goal as much as he often does, it was his quick thinking that gave Toure the opportunity, which he took full advantage of.
ST: Sergio Aguero 5/10
Fantasy League players, look away now. Sergio Aguero is often a popular pick, as he virtually guarantees goals – but none were forthcoming today. Aguero was unusually ineffective, but knowing him he’ll bounce back with a hat-trick next week.