EPL 2016-17: Yaya Toure's return bodes well for Manchester City
Yaya Toure, who was sidelined by his manager, returned to the first team and scored both of his side's goals against Crystal Palace.
The season that had started on such a bright note was going sour until last evening for Manchester City, when Yaya Toure, who had been left out of the squad by Pep Guardiola made his first Premier League start of the season and played a crucial role in his side’s victory at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace.
The player demonstrated why he is amongst the leading figures at the club by slotting home his side’s 2 goals to help them beat Palace at their fortress.
Having issued a public apology last week for the misunderstanding between his camp and manager Pep Guardiola, the Ivorian is now expected to feature regularly for the club and that can only be termed as good news as they go into a heavy footballing period.
Toure is a winner and brings experience
While at 33 years of age, he might not be getting any younger, it would be a mistake to rule out Yaya Toure as one of the best central midfielders in the League. He is athletic, can dominate the centre of the park like few midfielders in England can and is also willing to get forward to help his side in the attacking department.
The Ivory Coast International was a handful for the Palace midfield as he constantly haggled them for time and space on the ball and was constantly getting ahead to help out his attacking colleagues to pile the pressure on Alan Pardew’s defence.
An experienced player who had been pivotal to Manchester City’s fortunes since he joined them, Toure could still prove to be a healthy addition to Guardiola’s forces as the Premier League can turn into a tricky affair and the presence of a midfield general of his calibre could help the side sail a lot smoother through the tough tides.
Having won almost every prestigious honour in Spain and England with Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, Yaya can help his side get across the line in crunch match situations.
He adds depth to the Manchester City squad
Manchester City have been eliminated from only one competition that they were involved in since the start of the season, the English Football League Cup and with Pep Guardiola expected to go all guns blazing across all the competitions, the side would be required to have a healthy squad depth to remain competitive.
The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Fenandinho and Fernando Reges possess the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and turn it around in their team’s favour. However, with games coming thick and fast until the new year, it would be deemed prudent if Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack intelligently and the Manchester City ace provides the depth required for a side going for English and European glory.
Not only does he add to the numbers at the club, he also brings the requisite quality to the pitch and his availability, now that the hatchet between him and his manager has been buried for good, could be considered positive news for Manchester City fans.
The player that was on display on Saturday, was quintessentially, the Yaya Toure that we have seen over the years, dominating the opposition with his athleticism and physicality yet possessing the ability to pop up in the right areas in and around the box to find goal scoring opportunities.
Pep Guardiola’s side have been blowing hot and cold all season long in front of goal, putting 3 goals past Barcelona only to struggle against Middlesbrough in the subsequent week and Toure could provide his side with the steady stream of goals from midfield to lend consistency.
Yaya, who has found the back of the net on 77 occasions in 268 appearances for the club, will be keen to re-establish himself as one of the best central midfielders in the country and given his calibre in attack, as well as defence, steady game time could benefit him as well as his side.
Though he might have returned to the side, Toure is expected to travel to the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast towards the end of January. However, it is truly during the Christmas period where games get hectic and Yaya’s return to the side could not have come at a better time.
City’s win on Saturday takes them to within 1 point off top spot in the Premier League and Pep Guardiola’s side will be hoping to carry the momentum they created in the game going forward.
However, with the Champions League also playing an important role at the Etihad in the current season, the Spaniard is expected to shuffle the pack like he did on Saturday ahead of his side’s mid week fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach. A victory could put the side within touching distance of qualification for the knock-out rounds.