Man City 4-0 Crystal Palace: Sergio Aguero hits two in comfortable win
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 17/01/16 7:32am
Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City beat Crystal Palace 4-0 in a low-key game to stay in touch at the top of the Premier League.
Aguero's 12th and 13th (41, 68) goals of the season followed Fabian Delph's opener (22), and the Argentine passed up the chance of a hat-trick to lay City's fourth on a plate for David Silva (84) with the argument long since settled.
The result briefly sent City top on goal difference, but Leicester ended the day a point clear after drawing 1-1 at Aston Villa in the evening game.
Defeat was a third on the spin for Palace in the league, and Alan Pardew's side have now gone five games in the competition without finding the net.
Palace could at least cling to the division's best away defensive record before kick-off, but that bit the dust during an odd game which saw City score four while looking half as menacing as they had in drawing a blank against Everton on Wednesday night.
Manuel Pellegrini called that result "an accident", but City's boss might concede fortune's equal role in the two goals that sent his side into half-time against Palace in total control.
The first was a goalkeeping error from Wayne Hennessey, not quite as blatant as his midweek gaffe at Aston Villa but enough to allow Delph's 30-yard strike to squirm under his dive, and if the second initially appeared another blot on his copybook then replays showed Aguero's effort had taken a decisive deflection off Scott Dann's head.
Palace's opportunity to get a first Premier League point at the Etihad had come and gone by then with two squandered Damien Delaney chances, one headed too close to Joe Hart with the game goalless and the other hooked over an empty net at 1-0 after the keeper fluffed a clearance upfield.
Yohan Cabaye's free-kick also extended Hart before the break, but the visitors' promising start to the second half was interrupted by an injury to Aleksandar Kolarov serious enough to require a stretcher and a summons from the bench for Gael Clichy.
With the game drifting the snow-soaked crowd could barely muster a jeer when Delaney inadvertently clattered a linesman, but City quickened the pulse with a beautiful third as disguised passes from Yaya Toure and Kevin De Bruyne gave Aguero a simple second.
The mood of selflessness was clearly catching: Aguero had just Hennessey to beat as City broke from a Palace corner but chose instead to lay on Silva's first league goal since August.
Phil Thompson's Soccer Saturday verdict
"Palace had a great chance early on which they had to take. City grew into the game, and as soon as they got the goal, the result was never in doubt.
"Sergio Aguero was very good. Scored two goals and an assist. Not a bad afternoon. Iheanacho came on and looked lively, Yaya Toure came on, everything worked well for City.
"Five Premier League games for Palace, no goals, no wins. They offered very little going forward."
Man City: Hart (6), Zabaleta (6), Kolarov (6), Demichelis (6), Otamendi (7), Delph (7), Fernando (6), De Bruyne (6), Silva (7), Iheanacho (6), Aguero (8)
Subs used: Clichy (6), Toure (6), Navas (5)
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (5), Ward (5), Delaney (6), Dann (6), Souare (5), Ledley (5), Cabaye (6), McArthur (6), Puncheon (5), Zaha (6), Wickham (6).
Subs used: Chamakh (4), Mutch (5), Lee (5)
Man of the match: Sergio Aguero