PL: Stones scores brace as Manchester City cruise past Crystal Palace
John Stones scored his first Premier League goals for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s side climbed to second with a convincing 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Etihad.
Stones had gone 93 Premier League games without a goal for Man City, but the in-form centre-back produced two very tidy finishes in his 94th league appearance for the club to help put away a spirited but thoroughly outplayed Palace team.
City largely dominated the first half, but it took a moment of world-class quality to unlock Palace’s packed defence, when Kevin de Bruyne’s delightful cross with the outside of his boot put it on a plate for Stones to head home.
And the hosts picked up where they left off after the break, completely dominating the game and converting that pressure through a curling strike from range by Ilkay Gundogan and a second penalty-box finish from Stones before Raheem Sterling capped off a lively individual display with a peach of a free-kick late on.
The result sees City leapfrog Spurs, Liverpool and Leicester in the Premier League table, with Guardiola’s side now just two points behind league leaders Manchester United and with a game in hand over the rest of that top five.
Palace’s first loss in four league games sees them stay 13th in the table, yet Hodgson’s team remain closer to the Champions League spots than the relegation zone.