LONDON: Manchester City moved a step closer to retaining the Premier League title with a 5-0 demolition of Newcastle United, while Arsenal beat relegation-threatened Leeds United 2-1 to boost their bid for a top four finish on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s side took control before half-time at the Etihad Stadium thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte.
Rodri got City’s third after the break before Phil Foden and Sterling struck in stoppage time as they stormed back to the top of the table.
City’s stroll against Newcastle was the ideal way to recover from their painful Champions League semi-final exit against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
In the 19th minute, Joao Cancelo nodded an Ilkay Gundogan cross towards Sterling and he dived to head in from close-range.
City doubled their lead after 38 minutes when Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka was unable to hold onto Gundogan’s volley and Laporte scrambled home.
Rodri scored with a 61st minute header from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner, then Foden diverted Oleksandr Zinchenko’s shot into the net in the 90th minute.
Sterling rounded off the rout in stoppage-time with a cool finish from Jack Grealish’s pass.
Eddie Nketiah netted twice in the first 10 minutes at the Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta’s side earned their fourth successive win.
Leeds had skipper Luke Ayling sent off and, although Diego Llorente got one back in the 66th minute, it was too little, too late for Jesse Marsch’s strugglers.
Fourth placed Arsenal are four points clear of fifth placed Tottenham, with three games left for both teams in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish.
In the fifth minute, Nketiah punished a poor touch from Illan Meslier, closing down the Leeds keeper and tapping into the empty net.
Nketiah struck again five minutes later, this time meeting Gabriel Martinelli’s cross with a fine finish from 12 yards.
Ayling was sent off after a VAR review of his crude lunge on Martinelli in the 27th minute.
Leeds slump into the relegation zone, sitting third bottom due to having a worse goal difference than Burnley.
Everton made the most of Leeds’ stumble to climb out of the bottom three as they won 2-1 at Leicester — their first away success in the league since August.
Ukrainian left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko ran onto Alex Iwobi’s flick and netted with a stunning volley from the edge of the area in the sixth minute.
Everton surrendered the lead five minutes later as Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman went up for a header, only to collide and allow Patson Daka to run through and beat Jordan Pickford.
However, Mason Holgate won it for Everton in the 30th minute, the defender converting the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel saved Richarlison’s header.
West Ham crushed relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road to ease the pain of their Europa League semi-final defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
What had been a joyous week for Liverpool went flat on Saturday as they stumbled in the title race, dropping two crucial points in a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur, while Manchester United’s season can hardly end soon enough after a 4-0 hammering by Brighton and Hove Albion.
Liverpool reached the Champions League final on Tuesday with victory over Villarreal but the mood was gloomy as they were unable to ratchet up the pressure on Manchester City at Anfield.
They had won their last 12 Premier League home games and were unbeaten at Anfield in the league for 14 months but trailed to Son Heung-min’s 56th-minute goal.
Son’s 20th league goal of the season looked like earning Tottenham the win they needed to move fourth but Luis Diaz equalised with a deflected shot in the 74th minute.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s soon-to-be ex interim manager Ralf Rangnick apologised after a display he described as “humiliating” on the south coast.
Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard were all on target for Brighton as United suffered a fifth successive away defeat in the league to end any remaining hope of a top-four finish.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2022