Guardiola Saved By His Forgotten Man

Pep Guardiola had refused to feature Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure this season until his surprise inclusion in the Manchester City team that defeated Crystal Palace on Saturday. Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluki had criticised Guardiola for omitting him from the Champion League squad and the City boss demanded an apology from him without which his client was made to suffer for it.

But Toure instead issued a statement about the situation at the beginning of November and it seemed to be enough to douse the tension between him and Guardiola.

And on his return to action, the former Barcelona man did not show any glimpse of being out since the end of August and came  to the rescue of his team. Making his first Premier League appearance of the season, he vindicated that decision as his brace secured City’s win.

He had put City ahead before Palace equalized but ensure they left the Selhurst Park with the three points by scoring the winner seven minute to the end of the match.

The win was City’s second in six Premier League games and third across all competitions. They could have drawn or lost the match but Guardiola got his decision right to include the 33-year-old in the match. They moved to the second position of the league table and on the same points with Liverpool who were held by Southampton but Chelsea win over Middlesbrough means they will drop to third place; a point below the Blues who now occupies the top spot.

Toure could bring some freshness to the already “tired” squad. They have been misfring since been brought down by Tottenham from their high-flying start to the season save for the 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League.

It is hoped Guardiola will take some positives from the match and feature the midfielder more regularly.

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Bertrand Francois is the editor of Football Weeks. An experienced online and print journalist, Jamie has worked for IRAIW, Arsenal Presser, Soccerlens and countless other media sources over the years. He is from Republic Du Benin and lives in the busiest town Cotonou. - Facebook and Twitter