City outgun Palace to remain in title hunt, Everton edge Burnley

Published April 7, 2024
LONDON: Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (third R) scores past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson during their Premier League match at the Selhurst Park on Saturday.—Reuters
LONDON: Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (third R) scores past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson during their Premier League match at the Selhurst Park on Saturday.—Reuters

LONDON: Manchester City pulled level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League on Saturday after beating Crystal Palace 4-2 as Everton secured a vital 1-0 win against Burnley in their bid to avoid relegation.

City’s Kevin De Bruyne netted twice and top-scorer Erling Haaland hit his 19th league goal of the season, with Rico Lewis also on the scoresheet.

The win lifts City to 70 points — behind leaders Liverpool on goal difference.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool face a trip to mercurial Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday in the next chapter of a thrilling title race.

Jean-Philippe Mateta gave Crystal Palace a shock early lead at Selhurst Park in the early kick-off but De Bruyne levelled in the 13th minute with a curler into the top corner to quell any nerves from the visitors.

Palace carried an attacking threat but Lewis put City ahead just after half-time and De Bruyne and Haaland combined for the third.

Midfielder De Bruyne added his second with a solo effort in the 70th minute — his 100th goal for the club — to make the game safe, before substitute Odsonne Edouard scored a consolation.

City boss Pep Guardiola hailed the Belgium international, who missed five months of the season with a hamstring injury he sustained in the opening match at Burnley.

“Sometimes it’s Phil (Foden), Erling or Julian (Alvarez), today it was Kevin,” he said. “Without him we would not be able to win this. You talk about managers but players like Kevin make this game easy.”

In Saturday’s later match, Everton went into their match against second-from-bottom Burnley desperately searching for a spark of inspiration after a run of 13 Premier League matches without a win.

They struggled to impose themselves but benefited from a huge error from visiting goalkeeper Arijanet Muric in first-half stoppage time.

Muric took too much time to clear the ball and when he did it was straight at Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with the ball rebounding off the forward into the net.

“Its a massive result, it was a must-win in many ways,” Calvert-Lewin told Sky Sports. “We’re happy with the 1-0 but we thought we could improve in the second half.

“We knew Burley overplay at times, so if we could set traps like we did for the goal, wed have a chance. A few games ago I might not have scored a goal like that, but thats how it goes.”

The win means Everton are now four points above the relegation zone.

But the club need everything they can get as they wait nervously to find out if they will be handed a second points deduction this season for breaking Premier League financial rules.

Meanwhile, fourth-placed Aston Villa, beaten in midweek by City, will rue a second-half collapse that could prove costly in their chase to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Unai Emery’s men drew 3-3 against Brentford but only after tossing away a 2-0 lead.

Villa led 2-0 moments into the second half after goals from Ollie Watkins and Morgan Rodgers but three goals in nine minutes from Mathias Jorgensen, Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa turned the match on its head.

Watkins scored his second goal of the game in the 80th minute but Villa could not find a winner and they are just three points above fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who have two games in hand.

“It’s frustrating, we lacked that big team mentality where they kill games off which is really disappointing,” Watkins told BBC.

“I’m not belittling my team. I’m part of it. I feel we need to somehow figure out when we’re 2-0 up how to just shut up shop.

“There is a lot of football to be played. We’re battling with Tottenham who have got a great squad. It’s going to be tight. We need to win the next six games.”

Elsewhere, Carlton Morris scored a 90th-minute goal in Luton Town’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth — a result that leaves them in the relegation zone but now level on points with 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

Newcastle United beat Fulham 1-0 courtesy of a late goal from Bruno Guimaraes to keep alive their hopes of European football next season while West Ham United came from behind to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2024

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