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Yaya Toure grabs Man City headlines

TOURE - Yaya Toure celebrates scoring his side's first goaL

TOURE - Yaya Toure celebrates scoring his side's first goaL

Football so often serves up wonderful narratives - that's why we love it after all - and Yaya Toure's match-winning return to the Manchester City side was a veritable tap-in for the media's story-tellers.

There is also a dollop of transfer speculation to go with your Sunday breakfast, but let's start with the match coverage via the MEN's Stuart Brennan, who was not just impressed with the Ivorian's goals at Selhurst Park.

He reflected: "Long before he opened the scoring, he had started to put his stamp on the game – just subtle passes of extreme precision that set a front-runner haring at the defence, rather than checking back for an instant to take the ball.

"And when the situation was tight, as so often before, he manufactured space in the box – this time via a neat one-two with Nolito.

"The finish was emphatic, even if it skipped off a defender to lift over keeper Wayne Hennessey.

"Toure carried on stringing everything together for City, even after Conor Wickham had capitalised on some weak defending and goalkeeping to lash in an equaliser."

Over at the Guardian, Dominic Fifield pointed out that Toure's clinical finishing was required to guide City towards the points on a difficult afternoon.

He declared: "This was a slog against a Palace side desperate to arrest a recent alarming slide, the contest degenerating into a scrap from its opening exchanges.

"But, where City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo kept out Christian Benteke and Jason Puncheon poked wide, Touré capitalised on the visitors’ clearest sights of goal.

"He had been sauntering on the periphery up to the moment another member of the old guard, Vincent Kompany, trudged off dizzied by a head injury. With him went leadership, with Touré filling the breach."

The Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel was impressed with Toure's first goal.

He wrote: "This first-half, though, belonged to one man.

"Toure's moment arrived in the 39th minute as Palace failed to recover from James McArthur giving the ball away on the edge of his box.

"Receiving the ball just inside the area, Toure exchanged passes with Nolitio before firing an unstoppable shot past Wayne Hennessy to give City the lead.

"Replays showed the strike took a deflection off James Tomkins, but Toure won’t have cared a jot."

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Beyond Yaya Toure, The Daily Telegraph's Gerry Cox noted just how important the three points wee in the context of a tight-looking title race.

He reported: "And even though he was not at his best, in line with most of his team-mates, Toure showed his enduring qualities with a goal in each half to condemn Crystal Palace to their fifth successive defeat.

"More importantly for City, victory lifted them back to a position at the top of the Premier League, level on points and goal difference with Liverpool.

"City did not have the look of champions, however, as Guardiola readily conceded. 'It was really tough. Obviously it was not our best performance, we were not brilliant and we were lucky to win the game in the end. There are a lot of things we can do better.

"There was not much more he could have asked of Toure, though. 'Yaya has been training really well and his physical condition is better than ever. I'm so happy for him and his family. He's now a real part of the team and can help us achieve our targets. We need this kind of player. The Premier League, Champions League and Cups are so demanding.

"'Now we will have Yaya during the season. He's a very special player.'”

To the transfer speculation and the Sunday Mirror's Simon Mullock reports: "Manchester City will break the bank to sign Lionel Messi.

"The Etihad club are putting together a stunning financial package in excess of £200million in a bid to land Barcelona’s unsettled Argentine ace next summer.

"City bosses are drawing up a plan that will see them pay Barca a world-record transfer fee in excess of £100m as well as handing Messi a basic wage of £500,000-a-week.

"The Blues believed that their appointment of Messi's former Barca boss Pep Guardiola as manager last summer would put them in pole position to sign the player should be ever decide to leave the Nou Camp.

"And that confidence has now exploded..."

Same paper, different journalist and Chris Hatherall believes Juventus defender Alex Sandro is in City's sights.

He reckons: "Manchester City are closing in on Brazil international left-back Alex Sandro – but need to act quickly before his price almost doubles.

"The Blues have sent scouts to watch the Juventus defender, and want to make a move before he negotiates a new deal with the Italian champions.

"His current contract ends in June 2020, with a release cause of £25.6m.

"A new deal would raise his transfer fee to £40m."

First Team News

Guardiola delighted with Yaya return

PEP - Guardiola-arrives-at-Crystal-Palace

Pep Guardiola hailed Yaya Toure’s match-winning performance against Crystal Palace and says he now has another player who can help City challenge for silverware.

Pep Guardiola reacts to City's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace

First Team News

Yaya Toure expects tight title race

TOURE - Yaya Toure celebrates scoring his side's first goaL

Yaya Toure says he expects Manchester City to be involved in a tight title race this season after his two goals at Crystal Palace moved the Blues joint top of the table with Liverpool.

Man City midfielder Yaya Toure predicts a repeat of the 2014 Premier League title race

Picture Special

Match gallery: Palace 1-2 City