In the Premier League’s post-apocalyptic world, where the champions, Chelsea, are fighting relegation and Manchester United and Liverpool languish outside the top four, the consensus is that Manchester City only have to hit their stride to brush aside the challenge of Arsenal and win the title.
The problem is that we are deep in January and still no one is quite sure whether City’s stride is lengthening or shortening. Sometimes, they limp. Sometimes, they sprint. On Saturday, against Crystal Palace, they provided more evidence that they are beginning to accelerate at last. They started at a stroll and ended at an invigorating gallop, top of the league.
They got better and better as this game went on and by the end they were looking like a formidable outfit once more. They overran Palace by the finish and their fourth and final goal summed up so much that is best about their game. Aguero could have scored a hat-trick but chose to set up David Silva for City’s fourth instead. It was a style statement as well as a statement of intent.
- Aguero plays role in 3 of 4 goals
- Palace has Premier League’s worst form
- Man City unbeaten in five
Manchester City reaffirmed their title credentials with an outstanding 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The Citizens struggled without Sergio Aguero earlier in the campaign, with Wilfried Bony failing to truly demonstrate that he could replace the Argentine attacker.
However, with Aguero reinstalled to the starting XI, with Kelechi Iheanacho starting alongside him in a supporting role, and with Kevin De Bruye and David Silva providing quality from the flanks, City shone once again, demonstrating that it’s far too soon to count them out of the Premier League title race.
25 – Sergio Aguero has now scored against 25 of the 28 different opponents that he’s faced in the Premier League. Ratio.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 16, 2016
New boy Fabian Delph—who hasn’t always looked the part since signing from Aston Villa during the summer—opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a long-range effort which Wayne Hennessey failed to deal with.
Sergio Aguero scored a pair of goals to lead Manchester City to a rollocking 4-0 win over visiting Crystal Palace on a wet Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Fabian Delph and David Silva also scored as the Citizens rose to join Arsenal and Leicester City with 43 points.
Palace sits eighth, and their goal differential drops to minus-1.
Delph saw an opening from way outside the 18 and fired anyway, seeing his low laser take a slight turn off Damien Delaney before beating a horizontal and out-of-position Wayne Hennessey to make it 1-0.
Aguero was credit with what looked like a Scott Dann own goal made it 2-0, as the Palace defender attempted to head a shot from distance wide of the goal, instead tucking it inside the near post.
The Argentine added another goal in the 68th minute to make an as academic on the scoreboard as it looked on the field. 3-0.
11 – Manchester City have scored a league-high 11 goals from outside the box this season, including both of their goals today. Arrow.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 16, 2016
Aguero proved himself unselfish, and showed City’s pure comfort, when he allowed Hennessey and a defender to commit on a 2-on-1 rush, sliding the ball to Silva for a touch and finish.
Silva added a fourth in the 83rd minute after he was played in by Aguero—demonstrating his class with the ball at his feet in a rampaging run through the Palace defence.
The only black mark for City was an injury suffered by Aleksandar Kolarov which saw him replaced in the 52nd minute. While the Serbian’s replacement Gael Clichy wasn’t troubled too much on the day, Citizens supporters will hope that the Eastern European wideman isn’t set for too long on the sidelines.
Manchester City Player Ratings vs. Crystal Palace
Joe Hart: 7.5/10
Aleksandar Kolarov: 7.5/10
Martin Demichelis: 7.5/10
Nicolas Otamendi: 8/10
Pablo Zabaleta: 8/10
Fabian Delph: 9.5/10
David Silva: 7.5/10
Kelechi Iheanacho: 7/10
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.5/10
Sergio Aguero: 9.5/10
Gael Clichy: 6.5/10
Yaya Toure: 6.5/10
Jesus Navas: 6/10