Man City on brink of EPL title
London, Apr. 16:
Rather than seeing if Manchester City wins the English Premier League, Pep Guardiola will be on the golf course. The manager plans to be playing a round with son Marius on Sunday when City will be crowned champions if West Bromwich Albion wins at Manchester United.
“Will I hear the scores? Bogey, double-bogey, birdie,” Guardiola said after a 3-1 victory at Tottenham on Saturday.
Even if United doesn’t lose to the league’s bottom team, City can still seal the trophy before playing again. That will be achieved by United losing at Bournemouth on Wednesday or if Jose Mourinho’s side draws with both West Brom and Bournemouth.
What is clear is City has its swagger back after a demoralizing week that saw the leaders fail to seal top spot by losing the Manchester derby and exiting the Champions League.
For now, City is 16 points in front of United with five games to go after impressively inflicting fourth-place Tottenham’s second home loss of the season. And City will secure its third title since 2012 by beating Swansea next Sunday.
Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling scored in a commanding display that shows why City has 28 wins from 33 matches in the league.
Juergen Klopp’s third-place side Liverpool looks set to seal a place in the continent’s top competition even if it doesn’t lift the European Cup after beating Bournemouth 3-0 to stay 10 points clear of fifth-place champion Chelsea.
Tottenham still occupies the fourth Champions League spot, although Chelsea closed the gap to seven points after coming from behind to beat Southampton 3-2.
By throwing away a two-goal lead, Southampton endangered its chances of avoiding the drop.
Crystal Palace and Huddersfield moved further clear of the drop zone with wins.
Wilfried Zaha scored twice as Palace beat Brighton 3-2 to move six points clear of Southampton, which occupies the final relegation place.
Huddersfield was a point above Palace after Tom Ince’s stoppage-time goal beat Watford 1-0.
Swansea moved five points ahead of Southampton after drawing with Everton 1-1.
Burnley’s unlikely pursuit of a Europa League spot continued with a 2-1 victory over Leicester thanks to goals from Chris Wood and Kevin Long. Burnley is seventh, two points behind Arsenal, which plays on Sunday at Newcastle.
Wolverhampton Wanderers will be returning to the Premier League next season after a six-year absence. Promotion was secured from the League Championship after Fulham drew with Brentford.
In front of more than 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, City signaled its intent when Leroy Sane hit the post inside three minutes.
The opener then came from a move not usually associated with a Guardiola side — with a long ball from Kyle Walker launched into the path of Gabriel Jesus, who outpaced Davinson Sanchez before netting in the 22nd minute.
Gundogan netted three minutes later from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rashly tackled Sterling on the edge of the area.
Tottenham appeared back in the game when Christian Eriksen was fed by Harry Kane to score before halftime but Sterling eased City to the win by netting in the 72nd, pouncing after Gabriel Jesus’ shot was parried by Lloris.
It ended a 14-game unbeaten run in the league for Tottenham that began after losing at City in December.
Mohamed Salah is now only the third Liverpool player to have scored 40 times in a season, and there’s still a month to go.
The Egypt forward headed in the landmark goal either of strikes from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on a day when the attacking might of Liverpool’s pacey front-three was felt by Bournemouth.
Liverpool has 121 goals in all competitions. Salah alone has 30 goals in the league, five more than Kane.