Manchester City made massive strides towards yet another Premier League title under Pep Guardiola earlier today with an excellent 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace. The Cityzens did take some time to find their feet against Roy Hodgson's side but their effervescent display in the second half ensured a comfortable three points.
With Manchester City's tie against Paris Saint-Germain looming on the horizon, Pep Guardiola made several changes to his side. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus led the line for Manchester City and the change in formation reaped rewards for the Cityzens.
Manchester City ease past Crystal Palace with stunning second-half display
Manchester City hit their stride in the opening stages of the game and predictably dominated the ball against Crystal Palace. The Eagles presented a united front, however, and presented Manchester City with a stern challenge.
Crystal Palace were a threat on the counter and did create a couple of chances in the first half. Manchester City quickened their pace at the half-hour mark and nearly opened the scoring through Raheem Sterling.
Gabriel Jesus did find the back of the net before half-time but the goal was ruled out by the offside flag. Crystal Palace did well to keep Manchester City at bay in the first half and managed to create a few chances of their own.
The second half, however, witnessed Crystal Palace crumble against a resurgent Manchester City side that dissected the Eagles' defence in two fell swoops. Sergio Aguero drew first blood with a venomous strike to score his first goal from open play in the Premier League this season.
Crystal Palace were barely able to draw breath before Ferran Torres added to their misery with a precise effort to double Manchester City's lead. The Cityzens created a flurry of chances towards the end of the game and were able to ease to three important points that could potentially hand them the Premier League title this weekend.
Crystal Palace Player Ratings
Vicente Guaita - 6.5/10
Vicente Guaita had a surprisingly quiet first half as Manchester City failed to register a shot on target. The shot-stopper was stunned by Sergio Aguero's strike and could do nothing to prevent Manchester City from doubling their lead.
Scott Dann - 6/10
Scott Dann was reliable against Manchester City but could have done more to prevent Ferran Torres' strike. The defender made amends with a vital interception in the second half but will need to improve in the coming months.
Cheikhou Kouyate - 6/10
Cheikhou Kouyate made a few important interceptions in the first half against Manchester City and was an important cog in his defence. The centre-back was unable to prevent Ferran Torres from finding the back of the net in the second half.
Tyrick Mitchell - 7.5/10
Tyrick Mitchell had an excellent first half and effectively denied Manchester City their first goal by throwing himself into Raheem Sterling's shot. The left-back also stepped up with an impressive second-half performance and was Crystal Palace's best defender on the night.
Joel Ward - 6/10
Joel Ward followed Raheem Sterling like a hawk throughout the game and his tenacity did Crystal Palace a few favours. Ward struggled against Manchester City's fluid movements, however, and lost track of Sergio Aguero in the second half.
Luka Milivojevic - 6/10
Luka Milivojevic was Roy Hodgson's midfield enforcer against Manchester City and led his side's defensive efforts with some important tackles. The midfielder did not have a good second half as the likes of Rodri and Fernandinho dominated the game.
Jairo Riedewald - 5.5/10
Jairo Riedewald did put in a good shift but was a largely peripheral figure against Manchester City. The midfielder's influence further waned after half-time as Pep Guardiola's charges hit their stride.
Andros Townsend - 7/10
Andros Townsend was one of his side's best players in the first half and created a number of chances for his teammates. The winger did not see much of the ball in the second half but remained a threat on the counter.
Eberechi Eze - 5.5/10
Apart from a few passes that threatened to scythe through Manchester City's defensive lines, Eberechi Eze was unable to trouble Pep Guardiola's side. Eze's set-piece deliveries were also poor and often resulted in squandered opportunities.
Wilfried Zaha - 5/10
Wilfried Zaha was well below his exhilarating best against Manchester City and did not see much of the ball. The Crystal Palace talisman was unusually absent from proceedings and suffered against Manchester City.
Christian Benteke - 5/10
Christian Benteke had an excellent opportunity to put Manchester City on the back foot in the first half but failed to make the most of his header. The striker remained on the fringes of the game and did not see much of the ball.
Jeffrey Schlupp - 5.5/10
Jeffrey Schlupp was brought on to add an element of control to Crystal Palace's game in the second half. Schlupp was unable to have much of an impact, however, as Manchester City continued to dominate the game.
Jean-Philippe Mateta - 6/10
Jean-Philippe Mateta replaced Christian Benteke in the second half but did not see much of the ball during his stay on the pitch.
Jordan Ayew - 6/10
Jordan Ayew was a late substitute against Manchester City and did not have enough time to make an impact.