John Stones scored twice as Manchester City eased to a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace to go second in the Premier League.
Stones netted either side of Ilkay Gundogan’s brilliant 20-yard effort, before Raheem Sterling’s free-kick completed the rout to extend our unbeaten run to 15 games and move us up to second in the table, two points behind leaders Manchester United, but with a game in hand.
City took the lead when Stones glanced Kevin De Bruyne’s superb cross past Vicente Guaita to score his first Premier League goal for the Club, with the Belgian claiming his 100th assist since his arrival in Manchester.
Gundogan put City in a commanding position approaching the hour mark, when he dispossessed Andros Townsend on the edge of the area and curled a sumptuous effort into the top corner.
Stones got his second and City’s third after Guaita could only parry Ruben Dias downward header from a corner and the Portugal international’s defensive partner reacted like a seasoned striker to lash the ball under the Palace goalkeeper from 10-yards.
Raheem Sterling wrapped up the points two minutes from time when he fired a free-kick into the top corner from 18-yards and the victory means City will go top of the table if we win our game in hand on leaders United.
“We didn’t concede, we had to be patient and Palace defended really well. We were so stable, it is an important victory.
“When we handle top teams we are fortunate to have this quality. In the final third when Kevin de Bruyne makes the assist, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling put it in the top corner, and John Stones was on fire in the box. It’s easy for me when you have these players.”
Man of the match – John Stones
Two goals and another clean sheet made it a great day at the office for the centre-back who delivered another accomplished display.
His partnership with Dias has been one of the bright spots of City’s season and this was the 10th game they have played together in all competitions, during which we’ve won nine, drawn one and conceded just one goal.
Ilkay Gündoğan has scored four goals in his last six Premier League matches, as many as he’d scored in his previous 55 games in the competition. His six goals in all competitions this season are his joint-most for the club in a single campaign.
What it means
Our fifth consecutive win in the Premier League sees us leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Leicester City into second place.
City face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Wednesday 20 January. Kick-off at the Etihad Stadium is 18:00 (UK).
CITY: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gundogan (Cancelo 71′), De Bruyne (Torres 71′), Bernardo (60′), Sterling, Jesus.
SUBS: Steffen, Rodrigo, Mendy, Mahrez, Delap, Doyle,
CRYSTAL PALACE: Guaita, Ward, Tomkins, Cahill, Mitchell, Townsend (Batshuayi 79′), Milivojevic (C) (Riedewald 69′), McArthur, Eze, Ayew.
SUBS: Butland, Clyne, Van Aanholt, Dann, Benteke.