The Ivorian midfield scored and provided an assist as Manuel Pellegrini's side took advantage of Liverpool's defeat with a 2-0 away win at Crystal Palace on Sunday.LONDON -- It sometimes feels as though Yaya Toure finds the game so easy that he is almost dismissive of his opponents.
That was demonstrated in a rather literal fashion as the Ivorian's wonderful goal here moved Manchester City to within three wins of the Premier League title.
Two minutes before halftime, Toure stormed in behind the Crystal Palace defense with frightening speed and power, dumped Damien Delaney on his backside and whipped a perfect left-footed finish into the top corner.
It was Toure's 19th league goal of the campaign - a sensational record for a midfielder - and was the highlight of a jaw-dropping individual display that also included an assist for Edin Dzeko's opener in the fourth minute.
The 30-year-old complained last week that, as an African, he had only received "proper recognition" from supporters. But this was a performance that highlighted why many consider Toure the finest midfielder in the world.
He strolled through the midfield, conducting the tempo of the game as City cruised to a comfortable victory to defy expectations against a Palace side which had just won five games in a row. Almost at will, he would crank through the gears and storm through Palace players to inject energy into attacks.
After two weeks out with a thigh injury, he was substituted in the 66th minute because of tired legs. By then his job was done.
"Toure being fit was a real big disappointment for me," Palace manager Tony Pulis said. "He can do things that cause havoc. He was absolutely wonderful today."
One of Toure's most notable traits is that he is the man for the big occasion, City's go-to guy when it finds itself in pressure situations.
He made sure Liverpool received double punishment for its defeat against Chelsea and ensured a some glum faces on the Reds' table at the PFA awards tonight, when Luis Suarez is expected to pick up the main prize.
In a season in which star striker Sergio Aguero has often been hampered by injuries, Toure has been the driving force behind City's title charge.
The title is now back in City's hands. If it wins its final three matches - against Everton, Aston Villa and West Ham - it will almost certainly beat Liverpool to the title on goal difference.
The club is now the clear favorite to win the main prize. Everton will present the last, albeit significant, challenge and City has a poor recent record at Goodison Park, where it lost last year.
It will remember well its title victory in 2012, and the twists and turns in the final weeks of the season. But that experience will hold it in good stead for the run-in. In one afternoon, the whole momentum of the title race has changed.
"We always trust that we can do it,"Pellegrini said. "In football, anything can happen. I told the players before the game not to think about the results between Chelsea and Liverpool. I think we did it in a very professional way."
He knows that with Yaya Toure in his side, City has the man who can power it to the title.