Man City beats Everton, can clinch EPL by taking down United
LIVERPOOL, England — Manchester City cruised past Everton 3-1 to ensure Pep Guardiola can seal his first English Premier League title by beating Manchester United next Saturday.
Goals from Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling set up the chance for City to become the quickest side to clinch the Premier League with six matches remaining. A win next week will beat United’s 2000-01 season record by one game.
Guardiola has already won domestic titles with Barcelona and Bayern, but he’s won the Champions League only with the Catalan club.
European duties are next for City and a return to Merseyside for Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Liverpool, which inflicted City’s only league loss so far this season.
Last season, Everton was the scene of Guardiola’s heaviest league defeat at City but there was never any chance of that 4-0 reverse being repeated on Saturday.
City had 82 percent possession in the first half yet incredibly managed only three shots on target. Unfortunately for Everton three was all they needed.
Sam Allardyce’s tactics and team selection, with the pedestrian pair of Morgan Schneiderlin and Wayne Rooney on defensive midfield duties giving their mercurial visitors all the encouragement they needed, looked confused.
When they actually got out onto the pitch it was even more evident once City started pinging the passes around and Guardiola’s plan of having only three men in the penalty area for attacking corners resulted in plenty of head-scratching among Everton’s defensive ranks.
Less than four minutes had elapsed when they were exposed for the first of many occasions as Sane walloped home a left-footed volley from David Silva’s far-post cross.
The hosts had the chance for a quick response but Yannick Bolasie wastefully headed over from Theo Walcott’s cutback.
To emphasize just how significant a moment it was, City went straight down the other end with Kevin de Bruyne breaking forward to cross for Gabriel Jesus to head home.
For all the dominance, City’s greatest threat was on the counterattack. When City’s players burst forward again in a three-on-three in the 37th, Silva made the most of what was possibly a favorable offside decision to slide in a pass for Sterling’s 21st of the season.
Having seen Everton complete just 59 passes — City midfielder Fernandinho was successful with 62 just by himself — a number of fans in the Gwladys Street and Park End opted not to return for the second half with pockets of blue seats clearly visible.
They missed Bolasie beat goalkeeper Ederson from distance, via the foot of both posts just past the hour. It was also shortly after Tom Davies replaced Rooney to add some much-needed drive to midfield.
But City still coasted to victory despite never getting out of second gear after the break. A 13th away league victory of the season set a new club record for City. Now there’s just the trophy to secure.
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