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City go clear at top, quick-fire Nketiah brace sinks ten-man Leeds, Everton claim priceless three points

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8th May, 2022
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Manchester City have started their celebrations to mark a decade since their first Premier League title by trying to prevent the sixth success being as tense or dramatic – thanks to a rout started and ended by Raheem Sterling.

What had been a tight title race is now more firmly in City’s control after a 5-0 victory over Newcastle sent the champions three points clear of Liverpool on Sunday.

How costly Liverpool only drawing with Tottenham on Saturday could prove to be, with City now also holding a superior goal difference of plus-4 over their rivals with three games to go.

Between a pair of goals from Sterling, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden also found the net. 

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The stylish win ensured City could even have the luxury of dropping points in a remaining game and still win a sixth English title in 10 years.

Surely, City won’t take clinching the trophy down to injury time of the final game like they did in 2012 — a moment immortalised in T-shirts worn by the 2022 squad before kick-off on Sunday featuring “Agueroooo 93:20” to mark the exact time Sergio Aguero scored the title-winning goal.

What hasn’t changed in the 10 years – for all the Premier League titles won – is the search for Champions League glory. 

But after a collapse at Real Madrid on Wednesday denied City a spot in a second successive European final, Pep Guardiola’s side made an effortless return to domestic duties.

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The only downside to their win – and a potentially significant one – was that City will have to cope without injured defenders Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker and John Stones for the final three matches of the run-in because of injuries.

Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah has scored twice against Leeds to plunge his former club into EPL relegation strife but Everton gained relief with a win over Leicester.

But while Leeds had a miserable Sunday in the fight for survival, fellow strugglers Everton held on for a 2-1 victory over Leicester to give themselves renewed hope of avoiding the drop.

In the day’s other early game, West Ham brushed off their European exit and reignited the race for the top six with a thumping 4-0 win at Norwich.

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At the Emirates Stadium, Nketiah capitalised on an Illan Meslier error to put the Gunners in front and added a second just ten minutes into the game.

Leeds suffered another massive blow when captain Luke Ayling marked the 500th appearance of his career by getting sent off for a reckless 27th-minute lunge on Gabriel Martinelli.

Diego Llorente pulled a goal back in the second half, but Arsenal moved four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, while Jesse Marsch’s side dropped into the bottom three after Everton’s victory moved the Toffees up to 16th in the table.

Everton have 35 points, one more than Burnley and Leeds, and still with a game in hand over their relegation rivals. 

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Vitalii Mykolenko’s volley from the edge of the area put Everton in front but Leicester levelled in the 11th minute after poor defending allowed Patson Daka to run through and beat goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Everton regained the lead on the half hour when Mason Holgate nodded in after goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had saved Richarlison’s header.

At Carrow Road, West Ham were licking their wounds after their painful Europa League semi-final defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

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But Norwich, condemned to relegation by defeat at Aston Villa last weekend, provided no challenge with goalkeeper Tim Krul having a nightmare.

Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat at Brighton has left the door open for West Ham to snatch sixth place and qualify for the Europa League again next season.

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They are now three points behind United, with a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

Krul was badly at fault for goals from Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio to leave his side 2-0 down after half-an-hour.

West Ham were three up by halftime thanks to Benrahma’s second, and Manuel Lanzini added the fourth from the penalty spot.

© AAP

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