Man United collapse allows City to go 13 points clear in EPL
LEICESTER, England — Perhaps Jose Mourinho should have listened to the advice from Manchester United’s crosstown rivals.
That’s the unbeaten Manchester City team now 13 points clear at the top of the English Premier League.
A week ago, City players were filmed in their dressing room celebrating their latest victory by singing “park the bus,” mocking the term for Mourinho’s propensity to grind out results by stifling opponents with an unambitious setup.
Which was just what United required in the closing moments at Leicester on Saturday, holding a 2-1 lead secured by Juan Mata’s double. Instead United imploded. Another lapse in concentration allowed Harry Maguire to stun United and grab a 2-2 draw for Leicester
It was especially costly as City surged to a 17th successive victory with Sergio Aguero scoring twice in a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Chelsea’s title defense faltered again in a 0-0 draw at resurgent Everton. The third-place champion fell 16 points adrift of City.
Tottenham has challenged for the trophy in the last two seasons but it was far from a contender this time. In the north London club’s first away win since September, Harry Kane’s hat trick secured a 3-0 win at Burnley and a rise into fifth place.
At the other end of the standings, Stoke manager Mark Hughes claimed only a second victory in nine games. A 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion took Stoke three points clear of the relegation zone to ease the pressure on Hughes.
West Brom is only a point above last-place Swansea, which drew with Crystal Palace 1-1 in the first game since Paul Clement was fired by the south Wales club.
Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone by beating fellow struggler West Ham 3-2 for a first win in 10 games. In other results around mid-table, Brighton defeated Watford 1-0, while Southampton and Huddersfield drew 1-1.
With a threat in front of goal not seen in England’s top-fight in 35 years, Man City has surpassed a century of goals in 2017.
And Pep Guardiola’s 101-goal team still has another two games to overhaul Liverpool’s top-flight record of 106 goals in 1982.
As well as two headers from Augero, Raheem Sterling and Danilo also netted for the leaders who are running away with a third title since 2012.
This season, City has collected 55 points from a possible 57 and scored 60 while conceding only 12 times.
MAN UNITED COLLAPSES
Juan Mata spearheaded United’s recovery with a double that canceled out Jamie Vardy’s opener at the culmination of a lightning counterattack. But Mourinho’s side spurned chances to extend its lead and couldn’t even exploit Leicester going a man down in the 73rd minute when substitute Daniel Amartey was booked for the second time in four minutes.
Then in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Maguire got ahead of United defender Chris Smalling at the far post to latch onto Marc Albrighton’s cross and stab the ball into the net.
Mourinho was fuming.
“I cannot stop the game and give a team talk,” the United manager said. “For the last two minutes the players had to immediately adapt, to read the game, which they didn’t so we had childish decisions in front of goal and bad decisions as it was not just about the goals we missed, or dribbling or hitting the post. It was not just about missing chances with an open goal, it was also about decisions. Easy decisions.”
KANE CHASES RECORD
Kane took his 2017 goal tally to 36 Premier League goals, matching Alan Shearer’s calendar-year record set 1995. And Tottenham still has another game to go against Southampton on Tuesday.
Kane’s first came from the penalty spot after only seven minutes, with Dele Alli earning himself pantomime villain status for tumbling under a clumsy challenge from Kevin Long. Two further strikes came in the second half as Tottenham quickly recovered from a 4-1 loss to Man City a week earlier.
“His contribution not only with goals, with attitude, professional, ethic, how he works, I think it’s fantastic,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
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