Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester City: Toure nets brace on return as Eagles suffer latest defeat

Yaya Toure’s exile from the Manchester City team came to an end as he netted a brace in his side’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Toure had failed to feature in any previous game this season due to comments made by his agent about Pep Guardiola. However, an apology by the former Ivory Coast international led to the Citizens' boss giving him a rare start at Selhurst Park.

He continued his excellent record against the Eagles by scoring either side of half-time, although City will be concerned by the way they allowed Connor Wickham to fire home an equaliser before relying on Toure to net a late winner.

Poor Palace form continues

Alan Pardew’s side are now without a win in six Premier League games and face fellow relegation rivals Swansea City next weekend. For the second successive game, they allowed a point to slip late on as Toure converted from Kevin de Bruyne’s corner.

Pardew will certainly take positives from his side’s performance but their continued poor defending could ultimately cost them come May. Martin Kelly’s poor clearance found de Bruyne who found Toure who exchanged passes with Nolito before his eventual effort deflected into the net via James Tomkins.

Palace then proved that they are incapable of learning from mistakes as City produced the same corner routine twice in the space of a few minutes; the second leading to the winning goal. De Bruyne’s initial attempt at a low cross was stabbed into the grateful arms of Wayne Hennessey, but the Eagles weren’t so lucky in the 82nd minute as de Bruyne’s second low, driven corner was tapped home by Toure from six yards.

Connor Wickham holds off pressure from Pablo Zabaleta to equalise, only for Yaya Toure to score late on | Photo: Getty images / Stephen Pond

Palace should adopt 4-4-2 formation

The Eagles offered very little support to isolated front man Christian Benteke in the first half and Pardew introduced Wickham at half-time to improve Palace’s attacking prowess. The substitute was very effective and equalised midway through the second period, receiving a pass from Wilfried Zaha on the edge of the box before turning past Pablo Zabaleta and firing a powerful left-footed drive past Claudio Bravo.

Wickham's partnership with Benteke produced signs that it could be something utilised by Pardew from the start of a game. Next week's visit to Swansea could be the best time to adopt the pairing, with a win needed to keep the distance between Palace and the bottom three.

Pardew reverted to a five-man midfield, replacing Benteke with Chung-yong Lee, in an attempt to hold onto the point but the South Korean failed to have an impact on the defensive performance.

Palace almost equalised late on when Jason Puncheon toe-poked Zaha’s cross towards goal but it rolled agonisingly passed the post despite Yohan Cabaye’s best attempts to get a decisive touch.

Kompany suffers latest setback

City captain Vincent Kompany was forced off late in the second half following a collision with Bravo. The defender continued for ten minutes after the incident but was withdrawn when he sat on the floor clutching his head, evidently suffering from concussion.

The visitors were also without John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan, both described as “too tired to play” by their coach after the game. The former is likely to replace Kompany when City travel to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday.