Manchester City kept the outcome of the Premier League title race in their hands with a 4-0 win over Leeds United.
After Liverpool claimed a 1-0 victory at Newcastle United earlier on Saturday, City needed a win to regain a one-point advantage in their hard-fought battle with the Reds.
City faced few problems in grinding out the result they needed, with Rodri and Nathan Ake converting from set-pieces in either half before Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho wrapped up the points late on.
Pep Guardiola’s men simply need to win each of their four remaining games to wrap up the Premier League title, while Leeds remain in danger of relegation after slipping to 17th.
The visitors rested several players, including Kevin De Bruyne, ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Real Madrid, and could have fallen behind early on when Rodrigo Moreno delayed his pass after capitalising on Joao Cancelo’s slip.
But City took the lead after 13 minutes when Rodri met Phil Foden’s left-wing free-kick with a glancing header, diverting the ball into the top-right corner.
23. First chance taken
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 30, 2022
Junior Firpo fired over when presented with the hosts’ best opening in a quiet first half, and Jesse Marsch’s men lost Stuart Dallas to a serious-looking injury shortly before the break.
Jack Grealish bent a shot narrowly wide of the top-right corner after Raheem Sterling danced through the home defence after 52 minutes, but Ake doubled their lead soon after, prodding home after Ruben Dias met a right-wing corner.
City made the points safe when Jesus latched onto Foden’s pass to fire past Illan Meslier after 78 minutes, before Fernandinho drilled a 25-yard strike into the bottom-left corner as the visitors cruised.
What does it mean? City keep title destiny in their hands
Despite Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool picking up 40 points from the last 42 available to them in the Premier League, City’s win means they remain in the driving seat to win consecutive titles after stretching their own unbeaten run in the competition to eight matches (six wins, two draws).
City swap Tiki-taka for set-piece strength
A consistent set-piece threat is not something typically associated with the calculated style of football played by Guardiola’s teams, but the defending champions have now scored 18 Premier League goals from set-pieces this season (excluding penalties), more than any other team.
Leeds, meanwhile, have conceded 18 goals from such situations, the worst record in the competition.
Foden steps up in De Bruyne’s absence
Having chosen to rest De Bruyne, Guardiola moved Foden into a creative midfield role and was rewarded for the switch when the England international teed up goals for Rodri and Jesus.
Foden now has 13 goals and 11 assists in all competitions this season, reaching double figures for both in back-to-back campaigns.
Key Opta facts
– City have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five away Premier League games – their longest ever run of consecutive shutouts on the road in their league history.
– Leeds have conceded 20 league goals against the Manchester clubs this season (11 vs Man City, nine vs Man Utd), setting a new top-flight record for goals conceded against United and City in a single season.
– City have scored 18 Premier League goals from set-pieces this season (excl. penalties), the most of any side. It is their highest such total in a single Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).
– Fernandinho became City’s oldest ever Premier League goalscorer (36y 361d), overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36y 338d), while he also became the highest Brazilian appearance maker in Premier League history (260 apps).
– Leeds have been shown 94 yellow cards in the Premier League this season, the joint-most recorded by a team in a single campaign in the competition’s history (also Sunderland in 2014-15).
Leeds travel to Arsenal next Sunday as they fight for Premier League survival, while Guardiola’s men go to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday after winning a captivating first leg 4-3.
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