Manchester - David Silva filled in for Manchester City's absent strikers as the
champions beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday to move level on points
with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
City were missing Sergio
Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic due to injury, but they secured an
eighth consecutive victory in all competitions thanks to Silva's
second-half brace and a late Yaya Toure strike.
Victory left City
level on 39 points with Chelsea, who remain top by virtue of a superior
goal difference (+23 to +22) ahead of their trip to Stoke City on
"It was a very good win. A very good performance. I
enjoyed the way the team worked the whole week -- to work in a different
way without strikers," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
did think December is a key month to be in the fight for the title, and
if you want to be involved you must be very near the top of the table. I
hope we continue playing like this."
Faced with an injury glut in
the attacking department, Pellegrini deployed England midfielder James
Milner as an auxiliary striker at the Etihad Stadium.
goalkeeper Joe Hart signed a new five-year contract on Friday and he was
quickly called into action, producing a sharp point-blank save to repel
Mile Jedinak's header.
Yannick Bolasie then set up Fraizer
Campbell to lash a close-range overhead kick narrowly wide of Hart's
goal, but gradually City began to pick their way through Palace's
Toure shot over twice, Samir Nasri teed up Silva to prod
wide, and Pablo Zabaleta scooped a shot just off target from Toure's
The breakthrough arrived four minutes into
the second half. From Fernandinho's pass, Zabaleta scuttled into the
area before cutting the ball back for Silva, who beat Julian Speroni
with the aid of a deflection off Scott Dann.
Silva claimed his
second goal in the 61st minute, neatly steering home at the near post
from Aleksandar Kolarov's left-wing centre.
James McArthur thought
he had replied for Palace moments later when he headed Bolasie's cross
past a statuesque Hart, but although Fernandinho appeared to have played
him onside, the assistant referee's flag went up.
Palace manager Neil Warnock called it "a disgraceful decision".
made the game safe for City in the 81st minute, collecting a square
pass from Milner and slamming home left-footed at the near post.