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After Liverpool’s defeat to Chelsea earlier in the day, City simply had to win at Selhurst Park - and the rejuvenated Blues didn’t disappoint with polished 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace with Yaya Toure making one goal for Edin Dzeko and scoring a second himself after a superb return from injury.
It all added up to the most dramatic day yet of the Premier League campaign with more certain to follow as the season draws to a breathless close.
The Blues had almost become the forgotten challengers for the title in recent weeks, but the news from Anfield gave Manuel Pellegrini’s men all the pre-match incentive they needed.
Tony Pulis’ side still represented a sizeable obstacle with the Eagles coming into the game on the back of five successive victories – a remarkable turnaround by a team who looked dead and buried prior to the arrival of the former Stoke City boss
The hosts have been defensively sound and have developed a reputation for very effective on the counter-attack and at home, they have a partisan and formidable support that have played their part in the South Londoner’s incredible turnaround in fortunes.
Taking all that into account, an early goal for City was high on the travelling fans’ wish-list and with barely three minutes gone, Dzeko gave the Blues the perfect start as he headed Yaya Toure’s inch-perfect cross past Julian Speroni.
The return of Yaya couldn’t have been better timed with the Ivorian giving the Blues’ midfield the perfect balance of power and poise – and with City in control for much of the remainder of the first-half, the visitors sniffed the possibility of a crucial second before the break.
Fitting, then, that it should be the PFA Player of the Year-nominated Toure who should score it to further tighten City’s grip on the game. Collecting the ball in his own half, Yaya played a couple of one-twos before winning a challenge on the edge of the Palace box, cutting inside and then curling a beauty past Speroni to send the travelling Blues wild.
With both the crowd and the Palace players suitably deflated, City knew that if they replicated their first-half performance after the break, three crucial points would surely be heading back to Manchester.
There was little in the way of fire and brimstone from Palace after half-time with the hosts looking like they may have run out of steam now their survival has been secured but, having said that, the Blues never allowed them a route back into the game.