By Juan Aguerrevere
Earlier this season, Crystal Palace defeated Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad. But this reverse fixture at Selhurst Park told a different tale.
Pep Guardiola changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation starting captain Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy who returned from injury. Roy Hodgson stuck with his preferred 4-5-1 formation. Back-up center-back pair Martin Kelly and Scott Dann were introduced due to Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkin's injuries. Wilfred Zaha started in the wing with Christian Benteke starting as a lone striker.
Manchester City dominated the entirety of the match. City's first chance came after Silva, Aguero and De Bruyne linked up and squared the ball to Raheem Sterling who then missed from the 6-yard line. Sterling redeemed himself minutes after by chasing an exquisite through ball from De Bruyne and beating Victor Guaita with a powerful shot. Crystal Palace was happy to go into halftime down by one via Guaita's near-perfect performance.
The second half was a replica of the first performance wise. Sterling claimed his brace seventeen minutes into the half. This time around, he didn’t waste his teammate’s square pass.
The Eagles’ captain, Luka Milivojevic made the game more interesting in the eighty-first minute by scoring a free-kick. The Serbian international now has twelve goals this season; ten penalties, 1 freekick and 1 terrific long shot against Leicester in December.
During injury time, substitute Gabriel Jesus scored the fourth and final goal of this meeting.
Manchester City remains second place by one point with a game in hand behind Liverpool.
This game marked referee Martin Atkinson's fifteenth-year anniversary serving as a Premier League central referee.
Juan is a senior at the University of Florida. He is an aspiring sports writer, analyst, and commentator.