Ilkay Gundogan scored two brilliant goals and teed up Erling Haaland for another to inspire Manchester City to a 3-0 win at Everton on Sunday as they moved four points clear of Arsenal atop the Premier League table with an 11th consecutive victory.
With three games remaining, Pep Guardiola’s treble-chasing side have 85 points and have a match in hand on Arsenal, who suffered a 3-0 home drubbing to Brighton & Hove Albion later on Sunday.
Arsenal have 81 points from 36 games.
Everton remained deep in trouble, just above the relegation zone in 17th place with 32 points.
Guardiola crossed the Goodison Park pitch to the raucous City fans and held up two fingers to denote the number of wins he thought his side would need to clinch the title.
Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton, however, means they will wrap it up with victory over Chelsea next Sunday or even before if their title rivals lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“From minute one we took the game in our hands,” the Spaniard told the BBC. “It was a brilliant performance at the end of a season…
“We controlled the game. We were patient and attacked the spaces. Gundogan arriving in the box is amazing. Really, really important.”
Gundogan netted in the 37th minute when he brought down Riyad Mahrez’s cross in a crowd of Everton defenders and with his back to goal flicked a blind shot past keeper Jordan Pickford. Haaland headed in Gundogan’s cross two minutes later to extend his single-season Premier League scoring record to 36 goals.
Gundogan extended City’s lead soon after halftime with a curling free kick that sailed over Everton’s wall into the net.
City, who had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Everton at the Etihad Stadium this season, have won seven in a row at Goodison Park.
The champions created several scoring chances in the first half including two quick corners that failed to produce shots before they were rewarded for their hard work.
Haaland had a late chance for a second goal but sent his spectacular bicycle kick wide.
Everton also had opportunities. James Tarkowski struck the crossbar and Mason Holgate sent a close-range shot just wide, burying his face with his hands in frustration.
Guardiola’s team, who are also seeking their first Champions League title and have reached the FA Cup final, have a quick turnaround before they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
The teams drew 1-1 draw in Madrid last week.
(Reporting by L