Manchester City have got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, thanks to two quick-fire strikes just before half-time.
The three points mean that the Citizens now go within five points of Liverpool at the top of the league, before their matchup with Manchester United tomorrow.
Story of the match
The game kicked off in an electric, jam-packed Selhurst Park with the home side happy to hold possession of the ball, looking confident against the champions of England.
As City began to press higher, knowing this game was a must-win, they got a hold of the ball more. Gabriel Jesus and David Silva both had half-chances early on, although Roy Hodgson’s side were looking solid at the back.
As time went on the away side began to dominate more and more, forcing Palace to play the majority of the game inside of heir own half.
Kevin De Bruyne was as mischievous as ever, floating around the South Londoners defence and looking the most likely to create anything.
Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo both had efforts from range saved by Wayne Hennessey after 20 minutes, with Palace happy to still be level in the game.
The Eagles again began to get more of a foot on the ball as the half went on, with City seemingly going a bit stale and lacking of ideas to break down the organised Hodgson outfit.
Out of nowhere, with five minutes until half time, the visitors then took the lead.
Bernardo Silva picked the ball up on the right flank, cut in on his dangerous left foot to pick out Jesus, who mistimed his header leading to the ball bouncing off his shoulder, onto the post and into the back of the net. The Brazilian’s 50th goal for the club.
A minute later, David Silva bagged City’s second.
A sublime counter-attack saw De Bruyne break from inside his own half before the ball arrived at the feet of Raheem Sterling to brilliantly chip through to David Silva who volleyed past Hennessey from close range – stuff of champions.
The second-half started with the Palace fans still in fine voice, doing all they can to urge their team forward.
Cheikou Kouyate tried his luck from range early in the half, although fired well high of Ederson’s goal, before Sterling fired a couple of effort wide as he tried to wrap the game up at the other end.
City continued to show their experience in game management as the half went on, looking to add a third without taking many risks defensively.
Jesus was denied by Hennessey with just over 20 minutes to play, although the Manchester club was coasting to victory against a disheartened Palace side, who had worked very hard throughout.
The home side brought Christian Benteke on with 15 minutes to play and the Belgian was denied with his first touch of the ball, heading towards Ederson's goal before the Brazilian phenomenally tipped the ball onto his bar and away.
De Bruyne saw his header denied by the post late in the game as City missed out on the chance to score a third, although hung on to take home all three points.
Takeaways from the game
Central midfield centre-backs
Ever since the injury of Aymeric Laporte just a couple of games into the Premier League season, the Citizens have struggled massively to keep teams out, leading to many dropped points in the past couple of weeks.
Today, Fernandinho and Rodrigo, two central midfielders, were at the heart of City’s defence and showed their versatility well, remaining solid throughout.
City are always going to score goals, and should they develop a partnership that can keep them out in the absence of Laporte, they have a great chance of catching Liverpool and making it a third title in a row.
No need for Palace panic
When Hodgson took over at Palace in 2017, they were rock bottom of the league and looking in real need of a revamp. Just over two years on, the experienced boss has completely turned them around.
Despite this loss, the Eagles still sit inside the top six and in no danger of being anywhere near a relegation battle, should they continue to play to such a high level.
Palace’s next four are all against the so-called ‘top six’ proving more of a test as to how strong they really are, and whether they have it in them to make a push for a European spot this season.