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Premier League - Football: City strengthen title grip

08 May 2022 15:46:34 EST
Pep Guardiola's Man City have taken control of the title race

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table thanks to a comfortable 5-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.

The Citizens started the day in second after Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday put the Reds on top on goal difference, but they now have their destiny in their own hands with just a few weeks of the season remaining.

Pep Guardiola's side are 1.14 to win the title, while Liverpool are 6.00 as they now need City to slip up before the end of the month.

Improving Newcastle no match for the Citizens

City endured a difficult few days earlier this week as they came within minutes of a second successive Champions League final.

Guardiola's men thought they had done enough to beat Real Madrid on Wednesday, but they conceded two late goals, which allowed the Spanish giants to force the match into extra time. Los Blancos then took full advantage, winning 3-1 after 120 minutes of pulsating action.

The defending Premier League champions could have been forgiven if they had felt sorry for themselves, but they had a job to do at the Etihad Stadium, especially with Liverpool having fluffed their lines at Anfield.

The Citizens wasted little time as they scored the opener through Raheem Sterling in the 19th minute, with the England international eventually grabbing a second in stoppage time.

Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden also got in on the act, with Newcastle unable to do anything about City's onslaught.

Thankfully for Guardiola, he was able to rest some of his key players towards the end, but he still expects a nail-biting battle this month.

He told Match of the Day: "The margin between us and Liverpool is so tight, and goal difference can happen. It was important we win.

"What impressed me the most? Everything. We made it a perfect afternoon. The fans know we gave everything in both games [against Real Madrid], but unfortunately, we are out.

"I have said many times, when we play away, we feel so incredibly close to our fans, and today we are with them, and hopefully, we can arrive at the Aston Villa game on the final day of the season with the destiny of the Premier League in our hands.

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"But before that, we have incredibly tough games. We are going to try."

City will have no time to rest on their laurels as they face Wolves on Wednesday night, with Bruno Lage's side 10.00 to win at Molineux. The draw is 5.75, while Guardiola's side can be backed at 1.28 to pick up all three points.

The league leaders then travel to West Ham United on Sunday, before ending the campaign at home against Aston Villa.

Liverpool waiting in the wings

Liverpool's inability to beat Tottenham is not something Jurgen Klopp's squad should be ashamed about, especially when considering the improvements that Spurs have made under Antonio Conte.

The London club are still competing for fourth spot under the Italian, although they will need to beat Arsenal on Thursday to have any real chance of climbing above the Gunners, with Mikel Arteta's men now four points clear of them after beating Leeds United 2-1 on Sunday.

Spurs did enough to frustrate the Reds, but Klopp's troops have extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches. To lift the Premier League trophy for a second time, the Reds need City to slip up, although that looks unlikely right now, especially with Guardiola's side now out of the Champions League.

Liverpool will try to apply the pressure once again when they take on Aston Villa on Tuesday night, and they are 1.50 to win on their visit to Villa Park.

The Reds then head to Wembley to play Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday before finishing the league campaign against Southampton away and Wolves at Anfield.

Klopp also has the Champions League final in his sights, so he may have rotation issues to sort out before the campaign is over.

Liverpool have the squad needed to compete on all fronts, but after handing the advantage to City, they need a huge stroke of luck if they are to have something to play for against Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season.

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