What a day to be wearing the Sky Blue of Manchester City, and what a day to be a lover of English Premier League football. Before our game all eyes turned to Anfield as Liverpool took on Chelsea. I’ll keep this short because this is about our blues, but Chelsea won 2-0, giving City control of their destiny!
After such an exciting result prior to our game, City needed to control their excitement and focus on the task at hand, and that was away at Crystal Palace. Dzeko calmed everyone within four minutes, as a beautifully lobbed ball into the box from Yaya found Dzeko making his run towards goal. From that goal the game got a bit frantic as Palace’s counter attacking style clashed with the control of City. But, when City got a steady spell of possession, everything looked easy and it seemed almost inevitable that there would be another goal for the Blues. Then, as the half was winding down, Yaya made a run; a-typical one you’d see from the Ivorian. After a quick one-two with Nasri, Yaya went charging into the Palace half. With a little luck and a lot of strength, Yaya curled a no-look shot into the back of the net.
The second have was missing goals, but there were plenty of chances for City to get a third and really put the game out of reach. Palace came out after the half and ramped up the intensity in the early going. However, they were equally matched by City as we made every touch uncomfortable for them. Whenever Palace looked to have an opportunity to get a goal and make the final few minutes nervy, the defense stepped up and won the ball back for the Blues. This performance was an all-around team effort from City and no one player was a standout in today’s game. Aguero, who didn’t score, was running all over the pitch looking to beat a Palace player around the box. Milner was superb as always, getting up and down the pitch to help in all aspects of the game. I could go on, but that’s why there are ratings given below ;).
For me, Yaya or Javi Garcia would be my two candidates for today’s Man of the Match award. Yaya, whose performance showed on the scoreboard, is the easy choice but, Javi Garcia may be more deserving of the award for his performance today. He was all over the central part of the pitch making tackles, intercepting passes and allowing Yaya to go forward enough to make his mark on the game.
After that 2-2 draw against Sunderland, which followed a heart-breaking loss to Liverpool, the attitude of City made a complete 180-degree turn. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, the players came out and told the media they will keep fighting for the title. Today, those sentiments will echo with Liverpool dropping points against Chelsea. Having leaders like Pablo and Vinny, who have been through this before in 2012 is massive for City in these final games. This is going to be an exciting finish. Buckle up!
Aguero (6.5) – Flying all over the pitch and, though he was missed during his absence, his fresh legs will be extremely important in this final push. His stats may not show his effect on today’s game, but by watching you can see the problems he causes opposing teams, with or without the ball.
Dzeko (7) – Great movement in the box for the first goal, and when he is this confident he can be scary; which is probably the most frustrating part about him.
Nasri (6) – Really quiet game today, but he wasn’t really needed. On the one run of play where he was involved (Yaya’s goal), City were rewarded, even if Yaya did most of the work!
Yaya (8) – He was probably just trying to give me a heart attack with that "injury" ;), but that lob into the box was spectacular. I mean could any bit of play sum up Yaya any better than the one for his goal? Just shrugging off CP players and curling the ball into the net. He always looks so angry after he scores, cheer up Yaya!
Milner (8) – The announcer said "this is his type of game, he will have a field day", and boy was he spot on. Milner was like a kid on a new playground, he ran up-and-down the right side, and left Crystal Palace ragged. His work-ethic needs to be more prominent in City’s attack when he plays, like it was today, because he can create a lot of chances for City.
Garcia (7) – Selfless play as he usually does, getting back in the center of the defense to slow breaks. His tackling efficiency must be at the top of the league, every time he goes in for a challenge he seems to come out with the ball. Also, how does he keep his hair so perfect when heading the ball as frequently as he does?
Kolarov (6) – Similar to Nasri, he was quiet today as well. He had his runs down the left, with some nice crosses, but nothing came of them. When he was called into action defensively he kicked the ball away from the attacking player.
Kompany (6) – In a battle of strength with Cameron Jerome and, to no one’s surprise, Vinny came out on top. The biggest win was not getting a card for his aggressive tackles. When Palace looked to have an opportunity, Vinny was there to make the important block or tackle.
Demichelis(6) – Sat back for much of the game, allowing Kompany to push a little further up to stop any counters from Palace.
Zabaleta (6) – Sometimes his tackling strength can get him in trouble, as it did today, but I’d take those teeth chattering challenges any day! The last few games his runs down the right have almost, or did, turn into a goal.
Hart (6) – Had one (maybe more?) save to make, and made it. City’s control of the game stopped him from having to do much.