Yaya Toure

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester City: Yaya returns with brace-bagging vigor

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  • Toure scores early, late
  • Wickham for Palace
  • City reclaims first

Yaya Toure returned with a vengeance, scoring twice in his first Premier League start under Pep Guardiola and lifting Manchester City back atop the table with a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

City is level with Liverpool on points and goal differential, but could be passed by Chelsea for the Premier League lead on Sunday.

Connor Wickham scored the only goal for Palace, which is a single point shy of the drop zone.

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Palace kept some of the ball in the very early stages, but City settled into possession by the 20 minute mark. Raheem Sterling did some electrifying work down the right, only to see his inviting pass cleared out by Palace.

City keeper Claudio Bravo went untested during that first stanza, and Yohan Cabaye‘s promising free kick wasn’t redirected toward the Chilean backstop.

Vincent Kompany was a surprise start, albeit not as eye-opening as Toure, and had to leave in the first half. He collided with Bravo and later couldn’t carry on, emotionally departing the pitch.

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Palace dodged a red card when Jason Puncheon chopped down a charging Pablo Zabaleta away from the play, but referee Bobby Madley and his crew didn’t see the event.

The game took an energetic turn as the Eagles found their footing, with Bravo making a fantastic save on a powerful Christian Benteke header in the 56th minute. Benteke then headed a following corner, but the City line stopped the opportunity.

City then had a possible goal of its own taken off the line when Joel Ward cleared Sergio Aguero’s chance off the line, and Wickham responded on the counter when Bravo could only manage a piece of his counter effort. The halftime sub faked a shot to freeze Zabaleta just enough to get a shot away.

A hard cross from Kevin De Bruyne then found Raheem Sterling, but caught the Englishman off his belly and flew outside the near post.

Another corner arrived only for Kolarov’s underhit redirection to be collected by Wayne Hennessey.

Puncheon nearly made it 2-2 in the seventh minute of five minutes stoppage (you read that right), but his poked bounced wide of the frame.

STREAM: Yaya Toure handed first PL start under Pep

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He apologized, now he starts.

Yaya Toure has been plugged into the center midfield for his first Premier League start under Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, as City looks to take three points from Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

WATCH IT LIVE HERE AT 10 A.M. EDT

Toure played for Pep at Barcelona, and the two had a famous falling out that has been buttressed by Toure’s nosy agent Dimitri Seluk.

Guardiola said he was open to playing Toure, but that he needed an apology from both the agent and Toure. We know at least Toure complied, while Seluk claimed he tried to contact the manager under the player’s request.

Drama over, for now. Expect a big game from Yaya.

Yaya Toure’s agent OK with Champions League roster omission

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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Yaya Toure’s agent wants you to believe that the player is okay with being left out of Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League squad.

Toure, 33, has one year left on his deal. He hasn’t a good relationship with new manager Pep Guardiola for a while, dating back to their time together at Barcelona.

[ USMNT-SVG: 3 things we learned | Player ratings ]

And Dimitri Seluk, the tempestuous and volatile agent who’s said more memorably odd things that most others, says it’s all good. He also says that Toure, not City, decided the player wouldn’t leave the club this summer.

From The Daily Sun:

He told Sport Express in Russia: “This decision was made by an ingenious modern manager, Guardiola.

“Yaya is a professional. Perhaps Pep took into account the fact that his contract ends in a year, and wants to give other players a chance to work on themselves.

“This is the vision of the coach. And life will show whether it is the correct decision or not. We will see at the end of the season.”

Remember when Seluk said Yaya would “definitely” not be going back to City? No, not that time. This time. Remember when he said Guardiola was overrated?

Bed made. Lie in it.