Manchester City were in inspired form to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park.
Out of the two title-chasing sides, we think it’s fair to say that Manchester City have the more difficult fixtures, but they showed no signs of cracking against a Crystal Palace that had claimed three points against them earlier in the season at the Etihad.
‘Dominant’ just about sums up the Sky Blues’ performance in the opening exchanges. Raheem Sterling had a golden opportunity to put his side in front after 10 minutes but showed signs of his former wasteful self when missing from six yards out.
Waves of City attacks crashed down on the Palace defence and it was not long before the England star was on the end of another opportunity. From defence into offence in a matter of moments, Vincent Kompany found Ilkay Gundogan who in turn located Kevin De Bruyne to release Sterling through on goal and finish emphatically past Guaita.
A similar link up should have seen Gundogan assist De Bruyne moments before the end of the half, but the Belgian was unable to convert from yards out amongst a sea of City and Palace bodies.
Continued pressure after the break saw City come close again with Martin Kelly deflecting a dangerous looking cross towards his own goal, before the visitors finally double their lead on 64 minutes. David Silva and Leroy Sane combining to find Sterling waiting at the back post with a simple tap in into the bottom corner.
Dropped points at this stage in the season would pretty much end any title hopes for either chasing side, and City were surely thrown into minor panic mode when Palace grabbed a late goal via a Milivojevic freekick.
Good teams do not crumble, though. City bounced back and were rewarded for their bravery, Kevin De Bruyne on hand again to create, this time feeding Gabriel Jesus who made no mistake when finishing with his left foot.
Raheem Sterling deservedly bagged the Man of the Match award for another inspired display, but our ‘unsung hero’ has got to go be Belgian Kevin De Bruyne.
Bizarrely the two assists the midfielder claimed on Sunday were his first of the season, but better late than never.
Manchester City are going to need every ounce of skill to drag themselves through the remainder of the season and fans will be delighted to see that De Bruyne was back his best. Industrious, clinical and surprisingly handy in defence he will be the difference in this title race if he continues.
Manchester City fans, how important is having De Bruyne back to his best? Let us know in the comments below…
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