The Ivorian joins Samuel Eto’o as the only players to win the continent’s top individual award four times.
Yaya Toure has won three years in a row since 2011, beating Seydou Keita (Mali) to second place in 2011.
If successful, the Ivory Coast midfielder will match the feat achieved by Samuel Eto’o.
David Silva eased an increasingly tense atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium when he broke the deadlock.
Champions Manchester City took full advantage of Chelsea's surprise reverse to cut the gap at the top.
Toure heads a list of five players from the English Premier League among 25 nominated.