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Remembering when Yaya Toure was the most unstoppable force in the universe

Yaya Toure's 2013/14 season was one of the best individual campaigns to grace England's top flight

What happened when the unstoppable force met the immovable object?

Yaya Toure picked up the ball in his own half, rumbled past three tackles and smashed straight through, that’s what.

Between 2013 and 2014 there was no better sight on a football pitch than Yaya in full flight.


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Hold on tight

PA:Empics Sport
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Hold on tight

Going by pure numbers- for all you xG merchants out there- gives you a clinical look at just how good Yaya was that season.

The Ivorian scored 20 Premier League goals, more than Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Edin Dzeko, Olivier Giroud and Romelu Lukaku could manage.

This from a converted centre-back playing in midfield, who’d never reached double figures in the league before.

He also hit the winner in the League Cup final with a moment that could only be described as Yayaesque.

Did someone forget to take the bins out?

AFP
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Did someone forget to take the bins out?

City were trailing Sunderland after a tenth minute Fabio Borini goal.

Sunderland had nine men behind the ball, seven of whom were in the box by the time Pablo Zabaleta rolled a pass back to Yaya.

Most players would have crossed the ball, especially with Dzeko in the box. Not Yaya.

With an easy whip of his right foot he flashed a ballistic missile into the top corner from 35-yards out.

But Yaya’s season was more than just pure numbers.

In the history of the Premier League we’ve never seen a variety of goals the likes of which Yaya was scoring on a regular basis.

He could pick the ball up in his own half, weave through tackles before clinically finishing like a seasoned striker, as he did against Aston Villa and West Ham.

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He was brutally efficient from set pieces, scoring six out of six from the penalty spot and converting four out of seven direct free-kicks.

Take David Beckham’s 90 degree run up, Didier Drogba’s open foot striking and Roberto Carlos’ power and you’ve got yourself Yaya’s free-kick technique.

Players took to running back and trying to stand on the line but Yaya just went through them. He turned Ahmed Elmohamady into the invisible man against Hull.

Top corners were ruthlessly exposed. David Stockdale still suffers from PTSD every time he has to take the bins out after Yaya’s strike in the 5-0 win against Fulham.

But there was subtlety as well.

He went to the Frank Lampard School For Late Runs Into The Box and passed with flying colours thanks to displays against Stoke and West Brom.

The way he shimmied to receive the ball during the Manchester derby, taking Patrice Evra out of the game with one touch, before sliding a finish into the side netting showed a level of class only reserved for Paul Merson’s top, top, top players.

Missile launcher

Action Images - Reuters
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Missile launcher

Yaya was nominated for the 2014 Ballon d’Or for his displays during the 2013/14 season, although he didn’t pick up a single Player of the Month award in the Premier League.

Justice was done when he was named in the PFA Team of the Year as City won the title on the final day of the season.

It was a near-perfect campaign for Yaya, spoiled only by a birthday cake, or lack of, that nearly cut the Ivorian’s stay in Manchester short.

So thanks for the memories, Yaya. We’re going to miss you.


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