Dazzling De Bruyne helps Manchester City sink Crystal Palace after early scare

Just when Manchester City are creaking, they find a way. It helps, of course, to have Kevin De Bruyne around. His 99th goal for the club wrenched City back level just when it seemed Crystal Palace had the tools to take down the champions. And after a first half of frustration, having Jack Grealish back in form to supply key roles in goals for Rico Lewis, Erling Haaland and then De Bruyne again, completing his century, was more than handy.

This did not quite fit the template of winning while playing badly, since City’s second-half display was full of control, poise and deadly finishing that Palace found no way to stop. It’s now over to Liverpool and Arsenal to play their hands in the three-way game of who blinks first, while Pep Guardiola turns his attentions to the Champions League.

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