Crystal Palace – Manchester City was a tight, tense game early on but then City’s quality shone through as they edged closer to winning the Premier League title.
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Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres struck in quick succession in the second half to lead City past a stubborn Palace side, as City can win the title on Sunday if second-place Manchester United lose to Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s side have 80 points and sit top, while Palace remain on 38 points.
Three things we learned
1. Aguero rolls back the years: Seeing Aguero score just his second Premier League goal since January 2020 was comforting. The way he expertly controlled then fired home on the half-volley reminded us of his incredible quality and the Argentine striker, if fit, still has lots to offer. It won’t be at City, as he will leave at the end of this season and clubs will be lining up to sign the free agent, but Aguero’s sharpness in the box sparked this game into life. He will surely play a big role as they aim to win the Champions League, and if they reach the final that will be his final game in a City shirt. Everything is set up for a late Aguero winner to seal glory (we’ve seen that before) and injury issues aside, it would be a perfect way for him to go out.
2. City on auto-pilot to greatness: They were not good in the first half, at all, and Pep wasn’t happy. But just like they did against PSG, they kicked it up several notches in the second half and won with minimal fuss. With the PL title basically won, the League Cup already in their hands and a UCL final likely coming up, City have that amazing knack of being able to reach their top level whenever they need to.
3. Workmanlike Palace lack threat: Wilfried Zaha had one half-chance, Benteke had a good one and that was about it. Palace worked hard to frustrate City but Roy Hodgson’s side lacked any cutting edge. The manager and several of these players are going to leave this summer and as solid as the Eagles have been in recent years, it is time to freshen up their squad. Bringing in someone like Eddie Howe would be the best of both worlds. Someone with vast PL experience who also likes to entertain. Palace are on the verge of a huge rebuild but Hodgson will leave them in a very healthy position.
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero – The City legend looked sharp and reminded Pep that he wants to play a big part late in the season.
Christian Benteke had a good chance but couldn’t get any power on his header from a fine Andros Townsend cross. Raheem Sterling then had a great chance as he snuck in-behind but delayed his shot and Tyrick Mitchell did brilliantly to block.
Sergio Aguero buzzed around at one end, but Joel Ward then surged into the box and set up Benteke but his close-range shot was saved by Ederson.
Gabriel Jesus hammered home a cross but was clearly offside as City struggled to get going in the first half.
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Aguero pounced to finish clinically early in the second half as he collected a cross from Benjamin Mendy, controlled expertly and fired a half-volley home to score his first-ever goal at Selhurst Park and just his second PL goal since January 2020.
84 seconds later Ferran Torres made it 2-0 as Aguero, Jesus and Sterling combined before the Spaniard curled a low shot home.
Sterling hit the post, Torres flashed another effort just past everyone and Joao Cancelo whipped a shot inches wide as City turned on the style in the second half.
City saw out the win with minimum fuss, as they are agonizingly close to sealing yet another Premier League title.