Recently, Manchester City travelled to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace, eventually emerging victorious 2-1. Whilst the three points earned seemed to reinforce Manchester City’s position in the top three of the table, the match seemed to be most notable for the return of Ivorian midfielder, and vice-captain of the side, Yaya Toure. Playing in holding midfield, the former Barcelona man scored a brace, seemingly becoming the catalyst the Mancunians needed in order to gain the victory. His two goals may suggest, even after his absence, he may still be able to play at a high standard in the Premier League and compete for a place in the starting eleven and, perhaps more importantly, may emphasise Guardiola’s tactical nouse, as his decision to include the Ivorian seemed to provide dividends.
Manchester City, prior to the fixture, had amassed 24 points from their opening eleven games, including victory versus local rivals Manchester United. As such, they sat third in the table, seemingly due to their consistent run of form; thus it may have been surprising to see Yaya Toure’s name on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet, as the Spaniard had previously stated Toure may play in the reserves until his agent apologised for comments made towards him. Yet, with two clean sheets in their previous twelve fixtures, Guardiola may have been looking to heighten his midfield, in order to ensure further solidarity; as a result, perhaps Toure’s physical stature enabled him to be drafted into the side. Additionally, with the Citizens drawing three of their previous four fixtures, perhaps Guardiola incorporated Toure as the desire for goals intensified; the midfielder seems to have a track record with scoring goals, ending City’s title winning 2013/14 campaign as top scorer.
Early on in the fixture, the teams seemed to be evenly matched, with both teams seemingly seeking for wins to advance their respective seasons. Yet, it was the away side who took the lead, with Toure placing the ball into the Eagles’ net after intricate build up play. At half time, it seemed Alan Pardew altered his tactics, substituting on Connor Wickham for summer signing Andros Townsend; as such, Palace seemed to emerge from the interval with a differing formation accommodating two strikers. It seemed Pardew’s flexible philosophy impacted the game in a productive manner for the London side, with the aforementioned substitute converting after 66 minutes to draw the game level. Yet, it seemed Toure’s inclusion in the side motivated his teammates to perform at a higher standard, and his late goal seemed to enable his manager to make conservative substitutions in order to secure the win. As such, his two goals may suggest he is a key man for Manchester City, and perhaps may be vital in their quest for the title.
Toure seems to possess a vast array of experience, and has won multiple trophies across his career, including lifting the 2015 African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast. At Barcelona, he won the Champions League in 2009, and after transferring to his Manchester City in 2010; he seems to have been an influential player in his side winning two Premier League’s, an FA Cup and a host of other trophies. Individually, the Ivorian has won the African Player of the Year award four times, and was included on the shortlist for this year’s award. As such, his experiences, trophies, and seemingly winning mentality, may enable his legacy to be remembered after his retirement.
Manchester City’s next fixture is versus newly promoted Burnley, and it may seem they are the favourites due to their superior position in the league and their recent form. Toure’s two goals may have encouraged Guardiola to include him in the upcoming match, and as such the Spaniard may utilise the veteran’s vast array of experience as he looks to win a league title in a third country. Yet, whilst Toure may gain the plaudits, his involvement seems to suggest Manchester City possess strength in depth, and have a smorgasbord of players to choose from, all of whom may be able to compete for first team places as Manchester City launch a quest for the title.
How may Yaya Toure ensure he continues to command a position in Manchester City’s starting eleven?