Player Ratings: Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester City continue their unbeaten run away from home, finishing Crystal Palace off in two clinical minutes at Selhurst Park.
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Manchester City continue their unbeaten run away from home, finishing Crystal Palace off in two clinical minutes at Selhurst Park. 

Similar to the match in Paris, it was a game of two halves. Pep Guardiola made eight changes to the line-up to keep players fresh for the second-leg of that game next Tuesday.

This resulted in a formation utilising wing-backs, which was largely the cause of City's disjointed first-half performance. It took them far too long to adapt, the lack of midfielders stifled creativity, and it failed to stretch the play in the final third; playing into Crystal Palace's low-block strategy. 

It felt as though if one of City's forwards could gain just a half-yard of space, a chance would open up. Which is exactly how it unfolded in the second-half. Two goals 84 seconds apart was enough to clip the Eagles wings and secure Manchester City all three points.

Here's how we rated the players on a weekend which could see them crowned Premier League champions...


Ederson - 7.5

As usual, the Brazilian had little to do for large swathes of the game, but kept his concentration, and batted away Benteke's first half chances to secure the clean sheet. 

Joao Cancelo - 6.5

Playing as a wing-back should have played into Cancelo's strengths, but he had a difficult first-half, trying to both get forward and track Zaha's runs. He grew into the game though, creating some chances and narrowly missed a long-range shot on goal.

Aymeric Laporte - 7

Provided his side with the aerial cover his team needed from set-pieces. Almost got a goal himself, only to be denied from a last ditch block three yards out. 

Nathan Aké - 7.5

For his first time partnering Laporte at centre-back, it felt like Aké was the more senior of the two. He started centrally, so most attacks went around him early on. Towards the end of the game, he was called into action more and more, making some vital tackles to prevent chances on goal. 


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Benjamin Mendy - 6

Was a passenger for much of the game, but it was the Frechman's pass who opened up the Palace defence when he found Agüero from a low, hard cross from the left-flank.

Fernandinho - 8

Started on the right side of defence and excelled at everything that was asked of him. Put in some well-timed tackles and pinged several pin-point passes across the pitch to create chances in front of goal. Maybe the captain would have got man of the match if he'd have played the full 90 minutes.

Rodrigo - 7

Offered the usual collected control we see from him in the centre of the pitch. Without more creative players around him there were many short, sideways passes which was frustrating. Patience paid off for the team in the end though, and the Spaniard did well when he ventured further forward.

Ferran Torres - 7.5

Scored the second goal of the game with a well placed left-footed shot past Guaita, leaving the keeper flailing and helpless. This accuracy in front of goal is what Torres brings to the side. Almost set up Cancelo for a goal with a delightful back heel pass.

Raheem Sterling - 6

Sterling is the player who seems to suffer the most from the formation used in this game. Often he felt superfluous in a crowded penalty area. As the game went on, he was presented with more and more chances, making some vital runs in behind the Palace back-line. As usual though, his shooting or decision making let him down. By the end of the game he really should have been on the scoresheet.


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Gabriel Jesus - 7

The Brazilian offered all of his positive qualities; quick pressing, intensive tackling, and selflessness around goal. Still hasn't mastered the art of staying onside however, smashing the ball into the back of the net from a Fernandinho cross, only for it to be ruled out moments later.

Sergio Agüero - 8.5

This was likely Agüero's game of the season so far. Just his sixth Premier League start, and first in seven weeks. Despite his team's difficulties in the first-half, he seemed the more likely of City's forwards to score, but was denied the space by the opposition needed to get an accurate shot away. When that chance finally fell to him in the second-half, he was clinical, and turned the game on its head.


Substitutes: 

Oleksandr Zinchenko - 6

Came on for the captain Fernandinho and slotted into midfield alongside Rodri. Made some good passes and forced a save from the goalkeeper.


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