Fernandinho, Ferran Torres and Sergio Aguero were among those who impressed as Manchester City ran out 2-0 winners over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The game began on a slow tempo, but there were still a few half-chances, though they did not really put either goalkeeper under pressure. Crystal Palace came the closest to scoring in the opening 45 minutes, with Christian Benteke denied from point-blank range by Ederson Moraes. Manchester City, on the other hand, did not have a single shot on target, as the first half ended just as it started, with the score reading 0-0.
Post the interval, Manchester City showed more intensity in the final third and deservedly took the lead just ten minutes into the second half, as Sergio Aguero scored from close range after being picked out by Benjamin Mendy. Mere seconds later, the visitors were two to the good, as Ferran Torres found the back of the net from the edge of the Crystal Palace box.
Thereafter, Manchester City continued to push forward for the goals and had a few chances to add to their advantage, but none was forthcoming, as Crystal Palace settled into their shape. In the end, it ended 2-0 in favour of the Citizens, who have one hand on the Premier League trophy. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
Made a big save to deny Christian Benteke from close range, in what was the only meaningful chance of the first half. Thereafter, the Manchester City no. 1 was forced to make just regulation stops, while his usual precise passing was on full display all through the game.
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
One big tackle ahead of half-time apart, Cancelo was hardly troubled by Crystal Palace. Carried a great deal of threat when bombing on the right wing, but his end product was not quite there. Came within whiskers of scoring Manchester City’s third goal when set up by a brilliant flick by Ferran Torres. Won a whopping 13 duels in what was a superb performance on both ends of the pitch.
Nathan Ake: 6/10
Handed a rare start, Ake endured one or two nervy moments but was largely untroubled by the Crystal Palace attack. Slowly grew in confidence and that showed when he produced a superb last-ditch challenge to thwart Wilfried Zaha in the second half. Made a game-high 5 clearances while being extremely precise with the ball at his feet, misplacing just three passes all game.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
A comfortable outing at the heart of the Manchester City defence for Laporte, who was not put under pressure one bit on Saturday. Played a brilliant long pass that sent Raheem Sterling through on the Crystal Palace goal while also coming close to scoring a goal himself, only to be denied by Benteke.
Benjamin Mendy: 7/10
The most efficient user of the ball for Manchester City, Mendy posed a threat when charging down the left flank while picking out Sergio Aguero with a perfectly-weighted pass for the opening goal of the game. Defensively, there were a couple of hairy moments when Crystal Palace looked to target him through Zaha, although he was supported well by Fernandinho.
Ferran Torres: 8/10
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) May 1, 2021
Handed an early chance from a Raheem Sterling cross, Torres produced a dangerous-looking volley that was deflected for a corner. Took up dangerous positions all throughout and got a well deserved goal – his 10th of the season – with a superb finish from the edge of the Crystal Palace box. Showed tremendous awareness with some of his link-up play and is surely growing in the squad.
A solid performance by Fernandinho, who used his brilliant reading of the game to keep a check on Crystal Palace when they looked to initiate swift moves, including one nonchalant tackle on Zaha. Picked out a number of brilliant long passes that bypassed the Palace defence, but none was met with the right finish. Class apart from the Manchester City captain, who is ageing like fine wine.
Top notch from Rodri, who looked to take up advanced positions on the pitch at times, seeing as Fernandinho was holding base in midfield, although he still managed to win 11 duels. Opened up play with some classy long passes, completing 18 in all. No player had more touches on the ball (133), with Rodri completing 92 percent of his passes as well.
Raheem Sterling: 6/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Sterling was a bundle of energy and invited fouls right from the early stages. Constantly looked to make things happen, and showed good chemistry with Torres, as was indicative when the Spaniard scored Manchester City’s second. However, he made a meal of the chances that fell his way, showing some atrocious touches while a staggering 5 of his shots were off target.
Sergio Aguero: 7/10
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) May 1, 2021
Largely anonymous in the first half, Aguero started the second half brilliantly, latching on to a pass by Mendy before producing a thumping finish, scoring his first ever goal at Selhurst Park. And, if not for a sloppy touch or two, he could have been in for another goal. Nevertheless, Manchester City’s record goalscorer seems to be bowing out in style.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
A sub-par showing by Jesus, who worked extremely hard off the ball and used his movement to open up pockets of spaces for his teammates. However, when on the ball, there were some poor touches, which meant that he could not manage to conjure up a meaningful effort to test Vicente Guaita. Will be frustrated with that effort.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6/10
On for Fernandinho for the final quarter of the game, Zinchenko saw a fair bit of the ball and recycled possession smartly and even set up a chance for Sterling. Did not look to complicate things too much otherwise, as Manchester City saw the game out without much of a fuss.