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Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace: Score, Grades, Reaction from Premier League

Published by Bleacher Report on Sat, 20 Dec 2014

David Silva scored twice as Manchester City pulled provisionally level with Premier League leaders Chelsea following a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.Following a first half in which Palace frustrated their more illustrious hosts, City broke through with two goals in 12 second-half minutes. Silva finished both, the first with a deflected shot in the 49th minute and the second with a one-touch redirection in the 61st.Palace had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside midway through the second half before Yaya Toure rounded off the victory with City's third goal following an 81st-minute counter.The result left City with 39 points through 17 matches, level at least temporarily with Chelsea atop the Premier League table. Chelsea will have a chance to restore their three-point lead when the Blues play at Stoke City on Monday.As the holidays approach, the Premier League table could see significant changes. Starting Saturday, each top-flight team will play four times by New Year's Day, meaning each will have the chance to collect 12 points in a short amount of time.Up next for City, who have won six straight league matches, is a trip to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day. Crystal Palace, who started the weekend one point above the relegation places, host Southampton the same day.Limited by injuries, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini selected a starting XI without a recognised striker. Midfielder James Milner started in an advanced central role, as Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic were all out injured. Also missing for the Citizens was influential centre-back and captain Vincent Kompany.Despite all the missing faces, City set out to attack from the start, Samir Nasri shooting wide in the third minute following a Pablo Zabaleta pullback. Five minutes later, Fernandinho shot well over the bar following patient build-up play by the hosts.Palace were defending well in numbers, but the visitors also created good chances at the other end. In the 19th minute, City goalkeeper Joe Hart sprawled to push away a corner with an unmarked Mile Jedinak attempting to head in at the near post. One minute later, Fraizer Campbell hit an overhead kick just wide after City were unable to clear a Palace free-kick.Toure blazed a shot over the bar following more fine build-up by City in the 23rd minute. Silva then had a shot deflected off target one minute later after good work by Nasri on the right side of the box.The back-and-forth theme continued in the 37th minute as Palace's Yannick Bolasie shot into the side netting from a tight angle on the left. Brede Hangeland set up the chance by winning a header in the box.City's best opportunity of the half came two minutes before the break. With Palace still packing the box with defenders,Toure spotted Zabaleta's angled run into the box on the right and picked out the full-back with a precise through ball. Zabaleta chipped his shot over Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, but the ball bounced agonisingly wide of the post.After going through the first 45 minutes without a goal, City found the opener within five minutes of the restart. Zabaleta was the key again, unlocking Palace's defence with another incisive run into the box from the right flank. But this time, after accepting a pass from Fernandinho, Zabaleta cut back to Silva, whose low shot deflected into the net off Scott Dann for the game's first goal.With the deadlock broken, City immediately went in search of more. The second goal arrived in the 61st minute as Silva netted again. Aleksandar Kolarov took possession deep on the left flank and crossed back into the middle from a position close to the byline. His pass picked out Silva eight yards out, the Spaniard converting with a low, first-time shot for a 2-0 lead.Palace put the ball in the back of the net in the 68th minute, but James McArthur's header was ruled out for offside. Replays showed it was an incorrect decision.The decision just about finished off Palace's resistance, and in the 81st minute, City made sure of it. Leading a quick counter down the middle, Jesus Navas passed to Milner on the left. Milner cut back into the middle for Toure, who shot in off the woodwork to seal all three points for City at the start of a busy festive period.GradesReactionTo follow
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