Man City 3 Crystal Palace 0

In theSaturday lunchtime kick-off in the Premier League at the Etihad, it was prettymuch business as usual for last season's champions as they ran out convincing3-0 winners against a well set up Crystal Palace side. Neil Warnock's menbattled throughout, especially during a goalless first-half, but wereultimately undone by the better side.

Thetruth is that even lacking in a recognised centre-forward, City were always themore likely winners and so it proved. Their first was as a result of afortunate deflection off Scott Dann's legs from a goalbound shot from DavidSilva. Silva (and City) required no fortune for his second, as he stroked theball home with aplomb. Likewise for the third, which confirmed the three pointsfor the home side with ten minutes to go, as a typically forceful drive fromYaya Toure ended with the Ivorian thumping the ball emphatically high into thenet (his fifth goal in eight games).The win ensured that City continue theirpursuit of early pace setters Chelsea (who play on Monday).

ManuelPellegrini admitted that his squad had been practising playing without astriker this week in preparation for the weekend game and seemed basicallycontent with the way his team implemented the gameplan and showed patience toeventually earn the win.

Warnockwas "annoyed" by an offside decision at 2-0 that denied his side away back into the game, as James McArthur's perfectly legitimate headed goalwas denied by an overzealous flag. Warnock, a recent pundit on BT Sport (amongother stations) bemoaned the fact that he could no longer say what he trulyfelt about the decision, for fear of sanctions against him!

As itwas the better side were victorious in the end, but it would have beeninteresting from the game's point of view how the dynamic may have changed witha Palace goal, especially as there were still over twenty minutes left to playin the game at the time. Football is constantly full of such questions and"what if" scenarios, which is why the fans love it.

Citynow sit behind Jose Mourinho's title favourites only on goal difference (onemore goal and they would have gone top) and whatever the result of Chelsea'sgame in hand, seem to have regained their "mojo" and are back asgenuine title contenders.

BothChelsea and Man City harbour hopes of Champions League glory this season,especially now they start with the "clean slate" of eliminationrounds with group qualification behind them. Chelsea seem more likely toprogress on the European front (especially if the influential Sergio Aguero cannot be patched up before hostilities are renewed on that front), butdomestically it is a different matter.

Itwill be interesting to see which of the two expensively assembled squads fairsbest through the extremely demanding and often pivotal holiday period. 

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