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Toure double earns Man City win at Palace

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure hadn’t played for Manchester City since August

Yaya Toure marked his shock return to the Manchester City team with two goals as his side grabbed a dramatic late win at Crystal Palace.

Toure, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, combined with Nolito before firing City ahead.

Palace’s pressure paid off when Wilfried Zaha set up substitute Connor Wickham to smash home a second-half equaliser.

But Toure, who has not figured at all for City for almost three months, had the final word when he turned home Kevin de Bruyne’s corner from close range.

The win moves City second in the table, level on points with leaders Liverpool and with an identical goal difference.

Palace, who suffered their fifth straight league defeat, remain one point above the relegation zone

Relive Crystal Palace v Man City

Reaction to Saturday’s games

Toure back with a bang

Yaya Toure’s team-mates surrounded him at the final whistle to show their appreciation for his efforts, while the travelling City fans had been singing his name virtually all afternoon.

The 33-year-old Ivorian has been out in the cold since the end of August, with his manager Pep Guardiola saying he would not be picked until his agent, Dimitri Seluk, apologised for comments he made when Toure was left out of City’s Champions League squad.

Toure, rather than Seluk, issued a statement about the situation at the start of November.

But that evidently satisfied Guardiola and Toure marked his return to favour in style.

Few people knew he had even travelled to Selhurst Park, so seeing his name on the team sheet at all was a huge surprise.

But Toure’s lack of recent action did not affect his finishing power and, as so often before in his six years at City, he secured a vital victory.

Man of the match – Yaya Toure

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Only one candidate here. It appeared Yaya Toure had already played his final game for City – instead, he marked his 270th appearance with his 76th and 77th goals for the club that he has already helped win two Premier League titles.

Palace beaten again

Palace went into the game with the worst points-per-game record of any team in the top four divisions in 2016 – just 0.73. This defeat sees it drop further, to 0.71, and also means their current crisis continues.

The Eagles caused City plenty of problems, notably with their pressing game and lightning-fast breaks down the wings.

But even when they were putting Pep Guardiola’s side under pressure in the second half, Palace looked vulnerable and were ultimately punished for their lack of organisation at the back as they looked to see the game out.

Palace are full of ideas when they come forward but they have failed to keep a single clean sheet in the league this season.

At the moment, their attacking prowess is being undermined by the amount of goals they are leaking.

Same old story for Kompany

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Vincent Kompany has played only 116 minutes in the Premier League this season, out of a possible 1,080

While Toure’s return was a shock, seeing Vincent Kompany injured again is becoming a depressingly familiar sight for City fans.

His latest setback was nothing to do with his troublesome calf, more just plain bad luck as he was left concussed by a first-half collision with his goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Kompany’s vision was affected and he had to be replaced a few minutes later, with frustration etched on his face as he trudged towards the tunnel at Selhurst Park.

The 30-year-old Belgian was making only his second league start of the season, and is yet to complete 90 minutes in any of his five appearances in all competitions this campaign.

What next?

City travel to Germany to take on Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday, then make the much shorter journey to play Burnley in the Premier League next Saturday for the early kick-off.

Palace also hit the road with a trip to Wales where they meet fellow strugglers Swansea on the same day.

The stats you need to know

  • Toure has scored a Premier League brace for the first time since May 2015. It was his first start for City in the league since April.
  • Connor Wickham has scored four Premier League goals v Manchester City, more than any other opponent he’s faced.
  • Both of Wickham’s goals have come from the bench this season, after none of his previous 16 had done.
  • Kevin de Bruyne has provided more assists than any other Premier League player this season (7).
  • Wilfried Zaha has provided an assist in each of his last four Premier League games for Palace.
  • Zaha also has more Premier League assists this season (5) than his previous three campaigns combined.

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Manchester City 2.

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Manchester City 2.

Attempt missed. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Fernandinho (Manchester City) because of an injury.

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Yaya Touré (Manchester City) because of an injury.

Offside, Crystal Palace. Wayne Hennessey tries a through ball, but Connor Wickham is caught offside.

Substitution, Manchester City. Fernando replaces Sergio Agüero.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces Martin Kelly.

Offside, Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Manchester City 2. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Kelly.

Yaya Touré (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Lee Chung-yong replaces Christian Benteke.

Attempt missed. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace).

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jason Puncheon.

Fernandinho (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) with an attempt from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Connor Wickham.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Manchester City. David Silva replaces Nolito.

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Manchester City 1. Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.

Attempt blocked. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37959793