London - Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City got their Premier
League title challenge back on course with an emphatic 4-0 win over
Crystal Palace at a snowy Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
goals, which took his total for the season to 13, came in each half as
City made up for their midweek blank against Everton when they failed to
score in a home Premier League match for the first time in 12 months.
Delph and David Silva scored either side of Aguero's double as Manuel
Pellegrini's side recorded a seventh successive home win against the
Londoners to go to the top of the table before Leicester's late kick-off
at Aston Villa on Saturday and Arsenal's match at Liverpool on Sunday.
had failed to score in their previous four league games -- their
leanest run in the Premier League since 1998 -- but should have ended
their drought inside the first two minutes as they looked to make amends
for a 5-1 drubbing at the Etihad in the League Cup in October
Damien Delaney stayed up in attack following a corner but, from Connor
Wickham's excellent cross, the Palace captain failed to beat Joe Hart
with a header no more than eight yards out.
That miss proved costly as City went in front 20 minutes later through the unlikely figure of Delph.
England international, given just his third league start of the season
with Fernandinho still injured and Yaya Toure rested on the bench, and
justified his inclusion with only the 11th league goal of his career.
frustration at failing to find a way through a well-drilled Palace
defence was just starting to show when Delph cut in and fired a low,
long-range shot into the bottom corner from almost 35 yards, which
goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey allowed to skid under his dive.
should have given City a measure of control but just two minutes later
Hart almost let that slip when his careless clearance went straight into
the back of James McArthur.
The ball dropped for Delaney but at full
stretch the centre-back, a constant threat from set-pieces, hooked his
effort just wide from the edge of the penalty area.
better when turning a Yohan Cabaye free-kick round the post as Palace
continued to push for an equaliser but four minutes before half-time
City went 2-0 up.
Aguero, who had not scored at the Etihad since
November, saw his 25-yard shot deflected in via the head of Palace's
Scott Dann, the defender's attempted clearance wrong-footing Hennessey.
were forced into a change seven minutes into the second half when
Aleksandar Kolarov went off with a leg injury, Gael Clichy replacing him
Pellegrini didn't wait much longer to make a
tactical switch as Kelechi Iheanacho, who had scored in both of City's
previous wins over Palace this season, was replaced by Toure following a
frustrating afternoon for the young forward.
City still weren't
entirely comfortable as Palace kept forcing them back but Toure quickly
made his mark as the hosts put the result beyond doubt.
City's best move of the match, Silva, Aguero and Toure all combined
before Kevin De Bruyne pulled the ball back for Aguero to tap in and
make it 3-0.
Palace replied with a long-range effort from Yohan Cabaye which flew just wide but they knew they were a beaten side.
And they conceded a fourth goal with six minutes left as City finished in style.
was again involved as he led a break-away before calmly squaring the
ball for Silva, who scored his first league goal since the opening day
of the season.