Yaya Touré is back with a bang! The Ivorian was the unlikely hero for Manchester City as the Sky Blues were able to escape London with three hard earned points against Crystal Palace. Despite facing a tough Palace side, City were far from their usual starting XI. However, the inclusion of Touré was clearly a good choice by Pep Guardiola. Pep has said, he needs every single player in order to challenge for each available piece of silverware.
Yaya opened the scoring after a wonderful one-two played with Nolito in the box. The shot took a generous deflection right into the roof of the net, beating the Palace keeper. City looked good in the second half until around the hour mark when Palace began ratcheting up the pressure. Agüero was denied a goal by a clearance off the line before Palace went down the other end and equalized bringing Selhurst Park to its feet.
With under ten minutes to go it seemed City were destined for another 1-1 draw in the league, until an unmarked Yaya Touré found himself wide open from a corner and redirected home the winning goal. Despite the three points, all is not rainbows and sunshine for the squad, much maligned captain Vincent Kompany was again unable to escape a game without incident, having to exit in the first half.
Below are our ratings for each player who saw the pitch, as well as our choice for City’s man of the match! Be sure to comment below with your own ratings and man of the match.
Claudio Bravo: 6.5
The Chilean keeper wasn't asked to do much aside from a wonderful save on a Benteke header just before Palace equalized. That save alone earned him marks, but a perfectionist might say more could have been done on the Palace goal.
Bacary Sagna: 7.0
What a day at the office for Bacary Sagna. Returning from a long injury layoff the Frenchman started at right-back, but was asked to shift central once Kompany was taken off. Sagna played well in both roles, surely putting a smile on Pep’s face.
Vincent Kompany: 6.0
Man, when Kompany plays it’s easy to see that he’s arguably the best defender in the league. The problem is the Belgian is rarely able to play now. Every City fan wishes nothing but the best for the captain, but at this point it’s fair to make plans without Kompany in the picture.
Nicolas Otamendi: 7.0
If City are to be without Kompany going forward, Otamendi isn't a bad replacement to have on staff. He might not have the same physical attributes as the Belgian, but Otamendi has seemingly continued to improve every time he puts on a City shirt.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 6.5
Kolarov’s passing, service, and intelligence is why he is almost always in the starting XI. However, his lack of pace and positional discipline are why he’s a heart attack waiting to happen at full-back. For the most part Kolarov maintained control of Wilfried Zaha, but when the winger broke loose it was almost disastrous.
There really isn't much more that can be said about the Brazilian midfielder. Now captaining his national team at times, Fernandinho is a wonderful player and played exactly as you’d think he would in this one.
Raheem Sterling: 7.0
The young Englishman continues to show great talent, but a lack of culture in front of goal and composure in the final third prevents Sterling from being truly extraordinary. Hopefully time will help Sterling learn under Pep and he’ll truly develop into a top player in the world.
There was a lot of good and a lot of bad with Nolito. Supporters have to love his dribbling and pressing, but he struggled today in possession and of course a rash challenge lead to another yellow card.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8.5
This guy, there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe Kevin De Bruyne. Like Pep has said, Lionel Messi is at a table by himself, but Kevin can sit at the table next to him. Whether it’s perfect free-kicks, passes, or runs the Belgian midfielder can literally do it all.
Yaya Touré: 9.0 (Man of the Match)
What a return for Yaya Touré! Two goals marked the Ivorian's return with a bang. I cannot think of a better possible game he could have played, this looked like an extremely well rested Touré which is something that can be a weapon as the season goes on.
Sergio Agüero: 6.5
A frustrating game for Agüero no doubt as any time the Argentine evades the scoresheet is sure to be frustrating. Agüero found it difficult navigating Palace’s massive defenders who took more than a few liberties with City forwards.
Pablo Zabaleta: 6.5
Filled in admirably once Kompany went down, but definitely should have done better on Palace's goal.
David Silva: 7.0
A curious absence from the starting XI David Silva’s introduction changed the flow of City’s attacks and provided another midfielder capable of holding possession and dribbling around Palace’s defense.
Came on with almost no time left to see the game out.