Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace: Citizens level with Chelsea, play without a striker

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Manchester City beat a stubborn Crystal Palace side 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, as the Citizens are now level on points with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table after recording their sixth-straight win.

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The Citizens lined up without a striker, as James Milner played as a false number nine with injuries to all of City’s forwards, and failed to break down Palace until the second half but David Silva struck twice in the space of 12 minutes to set them on their way.

A late goal from Yaya Toure sealed the win as City are in second spot on 39 points, behind Chelsea on goal difference. As for Palace, they are in 16th spot on 15 points and could drop into the bottom three.

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Early on City looked shaky at the back as Mile Jedinak was denied by Joe Hart and Fraizer Campbell saw an acrobatic effort fly just wide of the far post.

As half time approached the Citizens started to get to grips with their new formation as Yaya Toure went close twice but fired over, while David Silva was denied by a last-ditch block but Palace were extremely dangerous on the break. City ended the first half well as Pablo Zabaleta was found by Toure but the full back scooped a brilliant effort just wide of the post.

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In the second half it took City less than five minutes to break the deadlock. Silva was played in by Zabelta and his effort deflected off Scott Dann as City scored with their first shot on target. 1-0 to the Citizens.

That goal buoyed the home side and Silva soon had his and City’s second of the afternoon as the diminutive Spaniard swept home Aleksandar Kolarov’s whipped cross from the left. 2-0.

Following that goal the Citizens eased towards the final minutes, but Palace had a perfectly good goal chalked off in the 67th minute as James McArthur was flagged offside after heading home a cross from Yannick Bolasie. A real let off for the home side. With 10 minutes to go Toure hammered home at the near post to finish off a flowing counter attack as City secured a comfortable home win.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Navas, Yaya Toure, Silva (Lampard, 69′), Nasri (Sinclair, 89′), Milner (Fernando, 82′)

Goals: Silva (49′, 61′), Toure (81′)

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Ward, Bolasie, Jedinak, Ledley (Bannan, 90′), McArthur, Puncheon (Thomas, 84′), Campbell (Zaha, 67′)