Published on January 18th, 2016 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace | Daniel Cheeseman
“One way traffic”
I don’t think anyone was expecting City to breeze past a side that kept us quiet until the 89th minute just a few months ago, but while it’s certain that City played well – you’d have to say that it was pretty much one way traffic this time around.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fantastic to see City score lots of goals and put on a dominant display, but if we’re looking at this game from a completely neutral point of view – it was obvious that Palace played below their usual standards for the majority of the game.
Saying that, had Damien Delaney scored that close range header very early on and/or Fabian Delph not tried his luck from 40 yards out – it might have turned out very different. For those reasons I don’t think we can get too carried away with this result, the last 30 minutes in particular looked more like a routine training match than a competitive Premier League clash.
That doesn’t mean to say that there’s still not lots of positives to talk about though!
If I had to pick a Man of the Match, it would have to be Fabian Delph for his game-changing performance particularly in the first half. Early on, when the Eagles looked somewhat of a threat, the former Villa man played a crucial role in stopping their attacks before it reached the last line of defence – which often made up for the misjudgments and blunders made by others in the side.
Every time Fabian has put on a blue and white shirt this season I’ve genuinely been pleasantly surprised, he’s brought a much-needed breath of fresh air into the team and he feels to me like the natural successor of Fernandinho (who turns 31 in May). Many would argue that he’d be a suitable replacement for Yaya (especially after he was dropped at the weekend), but as far as I’m concerned the only player of Yaya’s type who would be a worthy replacement right now is Paul Pogba – and the Blues would have to splash a LOT of cash if they’re willing to bring him in anytime soon.
Another player who obviously impressed me was Sergio Aguero – it was great to see the Argentine looking back to his usual, sharp self after taking a few weeks to get back to full fitness. We also saw an unselfish side to his game when he opted to pass to his teammate, David Silva, instead of going for glory himself and completing his hattrick for the fourth goal – which was very admirable indeed.
It also brought a smile to my face to see Iheanacho in the starting eleven. I thought the Nigerian looked dangerous and enthusiastic particularly in the first half, but his lack of regular first team football clearly showed after the break as he lost a bit of steam as the game went on – but there were enough positive signs there to warrant more playing time.
For that reason I don’t think he’s at the stage where he can start every game at the moment, but I think it would benefit everyone if he was at least given 30 minutes or so every now and then to give him more chance to be an impact substitute, rather than just the last 5 minutes of the game when he has virtually no time to do anything.
In the end it was a much more enjoyable weekend overall – City scored 4 goals and both Leicester and Arsenal dropped points, leaving the gap at the top of the table at just 1 point now. Next up is West Ham away and having lost to them 2-1 at home earlier in the season, it feels like the Blues need to get a result against them this time around to somewhat make up for it.
One thing’s for sure – it won’t be easy, so here’s hoping that the Blues put on the same boots that they did at the weekend and keep that all-important pressure on their rivals!