Blues Win At Palace To Put Pressure On United
Manchester City stand on the brink of a third Premier League title in four years as they beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Second half goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres sealed the points for the blues, who will be crowned champions again should Liverpool win at Old Trafford on Sunday.
In an eventful week, the blues won the Carabao Cup after beating Spurs 1-0 at Wembley, then produced a brilliant second half performance to come back from a goal down to beat PSG 2-1 in Paris and put one foot in the Champions League final.
And a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park puts one hand on the league title, and even if United win on Sunday, City need just three points from their last four matches to be mathematically sure of the title.
To get City into that position, they first had to navigate past a stubborn Palace side, whose only points at home to any of the ‘big six’ came against Spurs (1-1) and United (0-0), and despite City making 8 changes to the side that beat PSG, it was expected that the blues would still have too much for their South London opponents.
But if the blues thought Palace would role over, they would be in for a big surprise as Palace put up a solid defence in the first half and could have taken the lead but for an excellent block by Ederson when Christian Benteke turned and got a shot away. The Belgian striker also headed wide when in a good position and their almost seemed to be an air of inevitability that City would step it up in the second half.
And in a magnificent three-minute spell, City had wrapped up the points. Aguero showed that, at 32 years old, he still has the killer touch in front of goal. The prolific striker, who will be leaving the blues at the end of the season, showed what he is still capable of when he fired the blues into the lead.
The Palace defence clearly thought he was no longer a threat as they left the Argentine in acres of space on the edge of the Palace area. Aguero flicked up from his right boot then hammered his shot past Guaita in the home goal.
City had the goal they needed to settle the nerves of the faithful, and less than 90 seconds later, they had been calmed completely. Palace failed to clear their lines during an immediate City attack, and Ferran Torres was first to the loose ball, and the Spaniard bent his shot past the keeper to send City 2-0 clear.
The blues were now rampant and threatened to add to the scoreline, with Raheem Sterling was prevented from ending his goal drought by the base of the post.
Patient Blues Complete The Perfect Week
It has been an exceptional week as they took a huge step towards bringing the Premier League trophy back to the Etihad Stadium, but as in the last few matches, City had to be patient and take their chances when they arrived.
At Wembley, the blues were forced to wait for their big chance. Although dominating the game, Spurs were managing to hold City at bay. Past blues sides would then start trying to force the issue which would leave them short at the back, or be forced into silly mistakes.
In Paris, City soaked up the pressure, kept the score down and again, didn’t panic. Rather than lie down, like they did in 2016 in Madrid, the blues changed tactics and played their game which eventually paid dividends. Clearly, they are now made of sterner stuff.
And the results are there for all to see; another League Cup, soon to be Premier League title and the possibility of a Champions League final.
Another treble is tantalisingly close.