David Silva scored twice as Manchester City joined Chelsea at the top of the table with victory over Crystal Palace. The reigning champions had struggled to break down a resilient Palace side until the Spaniard made the breakthrough soon after half-time. His deflected shot off Scott Dann inside the area gave goalkeeper Julian Speroni little chance.
Silva then slotted in from Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross before Yaya Toure smashed in after a swift break. The victory means City have recorded eight consecutive wins in all competitions and, perhaps more telling, are now only second to Chelsea on goal difference having been nine points behind them six games ago.
City would have taken the outright Premier League lead had they scored a fourth, although after a frustrating first half, that target surely would have been revised to just getting three points.
The home team struggled to get behind two banks of defensive lines in front of goalkeeper Speroni, and with no senior strikers available, Manuel Pellegrini’s experiment of playing James Milner the furthest forward did not work.
The closest they came to scoring in that opening period was through the energetic full-back Pablo Zabaleta, who dinked his shot over Speroni but inches past the post.
Pellegrini was also without his skipper Vincent Kompany at the back,and both striker Fraizer Campbell, with a spectacular overhead, and Yannick Bolasie, with an strike at the far post, came close to capitalising on defensive errors for the visitors.
The Chilean manager tinkered with his attack at half-time, pushing Silva forward and moving Milner to the left.
The switch worked in the 49th minute when Silva latched on to Zabaleta’s pull-back before unleashing an effort that took a big deflection off the unfortunate Dann.
He doubled the lead soon after when he found himself in a similar position to convert Kolarov’s ball from the left.
Moments later, Palace were unlucky not to have reduced the deficit when James McArthur’s header was ruled offside, despite replays showing he was played onside by Fernandinho. Had that gone in it might have changed the complexion of the game. Instead, City broke from their own area and scored a third when Toure powered in at the near post from Milner pass.
Man City (Silva 49’, 61’ ; Toure 81’ )