Silva and Toure make light of striker crisis
FA Premier League
Saturday 20 December 2014, 12.45 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva (Lampard 68), Nasri (Sinclair 88), Navas, Milner (Fernando 81)
Unused: Caballero, Boyata, Sagna, Ambrose
Goals: Silva (48 & 60), Toure (80)
Booked: Kolarov, Milner
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the match: David Silva
After a rare week off for Manuel Pellegrini's men, the English champions hosted Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium with the chance to go level on points with Chelsea. With the injuries to his strikers, Manuel Pellegrini opted for James Milner to fill the vacant position, with Silva, Nasri and Navas in behind. In midfield, Yaya Toure was deployed alongside Fernandinho, and in defence Aleksandr Kolarov was preferred to Clichy, with Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis next to Pablo Zabaleta.
The game started with City dominating possession, but lacking a real focal point upfront. Milner, for all of his hard work and endeavour doesn't offer the aerial ability of Edin Dzeko or the explosive pace of Sergio Aguero. As a result of this, City were playing patiently, probing for space. City did manage to create a few good opportunities, with Yaya Toure having a couple of shots that flew over, before Pablo Zabaleta came close with what would have been an exquisite finish. Unfortunately his delicate chip went inches wide of the post.
Palace themselves did offer an attacking threat, with both Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak having good chances for the away side. However, the two teams went in all square at half time.
The second half saw City up the tempo considerably. Navas was more purposeful with the ball, but it was the wonderful Pablo Zabaleta who had a hand in City's first goal, timing his run excellently before cutting the ball back to David Silva who fired home. It was a relief for the crowd, and the home side started to play with a level of control. Nasri, Silva and Toure all kept the ball excellently, and it wasn't long before City had their second goal. This time Kolarov was the provider, whipping in an excellent ball which was swept in for his second by David Silva.
Palace as a result had to push forward, committing more men, which in turn opened up space for City to hit them on the break. And the third goal was another fantastic finish, this time from Yaya Toure, lashing his shot in off the inside of the post after a lightning counter attack. It was a fitting way to end the game, and one for the hosts to show that even without their strikers, they're a wonderful side with goals throughout the team.