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Stones nets twice as Man City go second

Published on: 17 January 2021

John Stones struck his first Premier League goals since scoring for Everton against Manchester United in April 2015

John Stones scored twice for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola's resurgent title challengers cruised past Crystal Palace to go second in the Premier League.

Hours after Liverpool and leaders Manchester United shared a goalless draw, City capitalised to move within two points of top spot with their fifth successive league victory.

Stones opened the scoring with a header from Kevin de Bruyne's delightful cross as the Belgian made it 100 assists in all competitions since joining the club in 2015.

The hosts were already in complete control when Ilkay Gundogan added a superb second from the edge of the box shortly after the break.

Stones, having previously never scored in the Premier League for City, then smashed in his second from a corner before Raheem Sterling curled in a free-kick for City's fourth.

Guardiola's side can go top if they win their game in hand, while defeat means Crystal Palace remain 13th.

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City sparkle on eve of Pep's big day

After this victory, Guardiola can celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday knowing his side's title ambitions rest in their own hands.

The Catalan hits that milestone as already one of the most decorated coaches in the modern era, with two Champions League triumphs complemented by eight league titles across three countries, but a third Premier League success looked a far cry when Manchester City sat 13th after a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in November.

Guardiola's side are undefeated in nine league games since and have now won five in a row to accelerate within touching distance of the summit with a game in hand.

This was a performance that showcased the best City have to offer at both ends.

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola is not renowned for his defensive rigidity but his City outfit have conceded the fewest goals in the English top flight this season and this was their seventh clean sheet in the past nine games.

They had the brilliance of De Bruyne to thank for unpicking a Palace side that had set up to frustrate the hosts in the first half.

The 29-year-old's wonderful assist, a perfectly weighted outside-of-the-boot cross, found a rising Stones for the defender to head beyond goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

That was Stones' first Premier League goal since scoring for Everton in April 2015, and the England centre-back did not have to wait long for another as he pounced on a loose ball after the visitors failed to clear a corner in the second half.

It came after Gundogan curled in his fourth goal in the past six league games, while Sterling got in on the act late on with an excellent free-kick from the edge of the box.

More to follow.

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Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection

    Man CityManchester CityManchester CityCrystal PalaceCrystal PalaceCrystal Palace

Manchester CityStarting XIAvgSquad number31Player nameEdersonAverage rating

6.70

12345678910Squad number2Player nameWalkerAverage rating

6.58

12345678910Squad number5Player nameStonesAverage rating

7.99

12345678910Squad number3Player nameRúben DiasAverage rating

7.50

12345678910Squad number11Player nameZinchenkoAverage rating

6.79

12345678910Squad number17Player nameDe BruyneAverage rating

8.20

12345678910Squad number25Player nameFernandinhoAverage rating

7.24

12345678910Squad number8Player nameGündoganAverage rating

7.68

12345678910Squad number20Player nameBernardo SilvaAverage rating

6.83

12345678910Squad number9Player nameGabriel JesusAverage rating

6.33

12345678910Squad number7Player nameSterlingAverage rating

7.04

12345678910SubstitutesAvgSquad number21Player nameTorresAverage rating

6.44

12345678910Squad number27Player nameJoão CanceloAverage rating

6.42

12345678910Squad number47Player nameFodenAverage rating

6.92

12345678910Share your Man City player ratings withFacebookTwitterWhatsAppCopy and share linkCrystal PalaceStarting XIAvgSquad number31Player nameGuaitaAverage rating

4.38

12345678910Squad number2Player nameWardAverage rating

4.32

12345678910Squad number5Player nameTomkinsAverage rating

4.37

12345678910Squad number24Player nameCahillAverage rating

4.59

12345678910Squad number27Player nameMitchellAverage rating

5.06

12345678910Squad number4Player nameMilivojevicAverage rating

4.19

12345678910Squad number10Player nameTownsendAverage rating

4.65

12345678910Squad number22Player nameMcCarthyAverage rating

4.39

12345678910Squad number18Player nameMcArthurAverage rating

4.18

12345678910Squad number25Player nameEzeAverage rating

4.69

12345678910Squad number9Player nameJ AyewAverage rating

4.48

12345678910SubstitutesAvgSquad number23Player nameBatshuayiAverage rating

4.28

12345678910Squad number44Player nameRiedewaldAverage rating

4.36

12345678910Share your Crystal Palace player ratings withFacebookTwitterWhatsAppCopy and share link

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsMan City

Formation 4-3-3

31Ederson2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias11Zinchenko17De Bruyne25Fernandinho8Gündogan20Bernardo Silva9Gabriel Jesus7Sterling

    31Ederson2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias11Zinchenko17De BruyneSubstituted forCanceloat 71'minutes25Fernandinho8GündoganSubstituted forTorresat 71'minutes20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forFodenat 60'minutes9Gabriel Jesus7Sterling

Substitutes

    13Steffen16Rodri21Torres22Mendy26Mahrez27Cancelo47Foden48Delap69Doyle

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-1-4-1

31Guaita2Ward5Tomkins24Cahill27Mitchell4Milivojevic10Townsend22McCarthy18McArthur25Eze9J Ayew

    31Guaita2Ward5Tomkins24Cahill27Mitchell4MilivojevicSubstituted forRiedewaldat 68'minutes10TownsendSubstituted forBatshuayiat 79'minutes22McCarthy18McArthur25Eze9J Ayew

Substitutes

    1Butland3van Aanholt6Dann17Clyne20Benteke23Batshuayi44Riedewald

Referee:Lee MasonMatch StatsHome TeamMan CityAway TeamCrystal PalacePossessionHome73%Away27%ShotsHome13Away2Shots on TargetHome6Away0CornersHome11Away1FoulsHome9Away8Live TextPost update

Match ends, Manchester City 4, Crystal Palace 0.

90'+2'Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester City 4, Crystal Palace 0.

90'+2'Post update

Hand ball by Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace).

90'+1'Post update

Phil Foden (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90'+1'Post update

Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).

88'goalGoal!

Goal! Manchester City 4, Crystal Palace 0. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

87'Post update

Ferran Torres (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

87'Post update

Foul by James McCarthy (Crystal Palace).

83'Post update

Ferran Torres (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

83'Post update

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

81'Post update

Foul by Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

81'Post update

Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79'Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Michy Batshuayi replaces Andros Townsend.

71'Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. João Cancelo replaces Kevin De Bruyne.

71'Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Ferran Torres replaces Ilkay Gündogan.

68'Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jairo Riedewald replaces Luka Milivojevic.

68'goalGoal!

Goal! Manchester City 3, Crystal Palace 0. John Stones (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

68'Post update

Attempt saved. Rúben Dias (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a cross.

67'Post update

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Luka Milivojevic.

64'Post update

Hand ball by Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace).

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Source: bbc.com

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