Palace’s nemesis Yaya Toure came back to haunt the Eagles once again as he scored a brace to clinch the win for Manchester City at Selhurst Park.
The midfielder was handed a first Premier League start by Pep Guardiola for this game and he responded by bagging a brace, including the winner seven minutes from time after Connor Wickham had pulled Palace level.
However the defeat was Palace’s fifth in a row, as they ended up without a result again despite another encouraging display.
They had begun brightly and restricted City’s abundance of attacking riches to no attempts during the first half an hour, and while Alan Pardew’s men couldn’t create an opportunity of their own they still enjoyed plenty of possession in the visitors’ half and more than held their own in the opening stages.
City were then dealt a blow when skipper Vincent Kompany was forced off after a collision with Claudio Bravo left him with a head injury, but despite the setback they converted the game’s first real chance on 39 minutes when a familiar foe came back to haunt the Eagles.
Making his first league start this season, Toure had time and space on the edge of the area and played the ball into Nolito, who teed him back up to rifle the ball past Hennessey via a deflection and net on his comeback following a pre-season disagreement with Guardiola.
A quiet first half gave way to a much more entertaining second period, and 10 minutes after the restart Palace nearly managed to draw level. Some silky wing play by Wilfried Zaha allowed the wide man to beat two players and pick out Jason Puncheon, who drove to the touchline and stood a cross up for Christian Benteke to attack. His header was saved at point-blank range by Bravo, with Zaha seeing his follow up deflected wide.
The Belgian then got on the end of the subsequent corner kick but once again saw his effort scrambled away, but suddenly the chances were coming thick and fast as Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne blazed over the crossbar when well-placed.
But the game changed in the blink of an eye on 65 minutes as City nearly scored, but Palace did. A sweeping move saw Aguero lay the ball off to De Bruyne who sped down the right and flashed a cross into the area where the Argentinean hitman managed to divert it goalwards, and after Hennessey, on the occasion of his 50th Palace appearance, had made a good save, Joel Ward swept the danger off his line with Raheem Sterling ready to pounce.
The ball then found its way to James McArthur played it to Zaha on the right, and he passed to Wickham. The striker managed to get past Pablo Zabaleta and then hammered a fierce strike that Bravo could only get a toe to, which did nothing to stop it finding the net as the striker celebrated scoring in successive games.
It looked as though Palace were going to grab a deserved point but on 83 minutes City found a way to get in front. A low corner by De Bruyne caught Palace out and after it crept past the front post, Toure was able to tap the ball in and score his sixth in six games against the Eagles.
There was one final opportunity for Pardew’s side to snatch a draw when the mesmerising Zaha ghosted down the right and picked out Puncheon in the box, but his first-time shot drifted just past the post with Bravo scrambling, as City left south London with all the points.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Tomkins, Kelly (Sako 85), McArthur, Cabaye, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend (Wickham 46), C. Benteke (Lee 80). Subs not used: Speroni, Delaney, Flamini, Mutch.
Manchester City: Bravo, Sagna, Kompany (Zabaleta 37), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Nolito (Silva 67), Aguero (Fernando 85). Subs not used: Caballero, Navas, Sane, Iheanacho.