In his first #Premier League appearance of the season, Yaya Toure reminded #Manchester City fans and manager Pep Guardiola what they had been missing with two goals in a narrow victory over Crystal Palace.
Toure’s City career appeared over after he was left out of the Champions League squad and then frozen out completely following comments from his agent. But he retains support from players and fans – he was roundly congratulated at Selhurst Park by teammates and the fans couldn’t stop singing his name.
He let his #Football do the talking on Saturday. At the age of 33, his powerful performance was reminiscent of his very best. Since joining City in 2010, the Ivorian has more Premier League goals than any other midfielder (59). No wonder supporters were glad to see him back.
Yaya Toure has 59 Premier League goals since joining Man City in 2010; more than any other midfielder in that time.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 19, 2016
What a statement! pic.twitter.com/gs9GyLjuJW
Guardiola forgives and forgets
Guardiola was in charge at Toure’s previous club Barcelona when he was sold to Manchester City. So when he left him out of his Champions League squad in September, Toure’s City career looked finished.
The arrival of Ilkay Gündogan in the summer has allowed Guardiola to leave Toure out up to now without many regrets. Gündogan has impressed from midfield with five goals and two assists from 11 games, and City have performed well in Toure’s absence. That said, there have also been a few setbacks including a heavy defeat away at Barcelona in the Champions League.
Still, there was little sign of Toure being recalled until his recent apology for “misunderstandings of the past”. Toure’s agent had previously opened up a rift with Guardiola when he accused him of humiliating the Ivorian by leaving him out of the Champions League squad. The Spanish coach showed his ruthless streak by declaring Toure unavailable for selection until he received an apology.
That rift now seems healed judging by his inclusion and subsequent man-of-the-match performance today against Palace.
Rivals slip up
Results elsewhere on Saturday made victory even sweeter for City fans. Liverpool drew 0-0 at Southampton despite a dominant display in which they registered 15 shots. Meanwhile, Manchester United and Arsenal shared the spoils in their hotly anticipated lunchtime clash. Substitute Olivier Giroud’s late strike cancelled out Juan Mata’s opener.
City’s win therefore leaves them joint-top on Saturday night, behind Liverpool only by virtue of goals scored. However, Chelsea can go one point clear of both if they defeat Middlesbrough at the Riverside tomorrow.