Everton 0 – 3 Manchester City. Manchester City are one victory away from retaining the Premier League title after despatching relegation-threatened Everton at Goodison Park.
Pep Guardiola’s side can guarantee their third consecutive title with three points at home to Chelsea next Sunday, with games remaining against Brighton and Brentford as back-up.
City moved four points clear at the head of the table and are on the cusp of more top-flight glory after challengers Arsenal were beaten 3-0 by Brighton.
Everton were made to pay a heavy price for Mason Holgate’s glaring miss when unmarked at the far post, the defender somehow hooking over from a couple of yards.
City were second best up until that point but showcased how clinical they are in front of goal, going on to net twice in the space of two minutes.
Ilkay Gundogan was the star of the show, involved in all three of City’s goals with a sublime flicked finish before providing the cross for Erling Haaland’s close range header.
The midfielder also curled in a glorious free-kick from the edge of the area in the second half as City claimed a routine victory.
The loss for Everton leaves them looking nervously over their shoulders with two games remaining, hovering just one point above the relegation zone.
Cross-city rivals Manchester United are the only English team to complete the Treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup with their unforgettable success in 1999.
The next few days will determine how close City can get to emulating that feat.
A fifth title triumph in the past six years is in close reach having cruised to a comfortable victory over Everton, but United will be aiming to stop them from matching their unprecedented achievement in next month’s FA Cup final at Wembley.
Europe’s elite club competition is the win City crave most and they will again face holders Real Madrid on Wednesday, with the semi-final tantalisingly poised at 1-1 after the first leg.
Guardiola’s side are in fine form too, with 12 consecutive league wins and an unbeaten run in all competitions stretching to 22.
“It was a brilliant performance at the end of a season. We need two more victories to be champions. Step by step recovery,” said Guardiola.
City’s slick operators had not managed to create a chance until captain Gundogan, on his 300th appearance for the club, controlled a pass from Riyad Mahrez and hooked in a delightful finish with his back to goal, as well as converting a stunning free-kick.
In between, striker Haaland had only touched the ball twice before nodding in his 52nd goal of an astonishing campaign, as he continues to chase down Everton great Dixie Dean’s record of 63 in a single campaign.
A spectacular scissor kick went awry in the second half, but the damage had long been done and the Norwegian has potentially six games remaining to break Dean’s record, which has remained untouched for 96 years.
Everton’s stunning 5-1 victory at Brighton on Monday took Sean Dyche’s side out of the drop zone and raised optimism for another season in the top flight.
But they may fall back down on Monday evening should 19th-placed Leicester manage to spring a surprise victory on top-four-chasing Liverpool.
The Toffees faithful face a nervous end to another miserable campaign, with games remaining against Wolves at Molineux next Saturday before rounding off the season at Goodison Park against Bournemouth.
The defeat by City marks Everton’s 10th Premier League loss at home, setting a new club record, while they have netted just 15 times on their own turf, the fewest in the league.
Another major concern will be the half-time withdrawal of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who impressed in the opening 45 minutes but was replaced by Neal Maupay – a striker with one goal to his past 39 appearances.
Dyche said afterwards Calvert-Lewin had been taken off at the break after complaining of a tight groin muscle.
The Toffees boss added: “There were some good performances today but City find that way. You’d be amazed if they don’t win the league. They’ve got a big guy who keeps knocking it into the net.”
source – BBC