Manchester City need just one more win to take a third successive Premier League title with a resounding victory at Goodison Park. Ilkay Gundogan’s brace and Erling Haaland’s 52nd goal of the season, and Arsenal’s 3-0 loss to Brighton took the blues to the brink of retaining their crown, and can be confirmed as champions if they beat Chelsea next weekend.
However, they may well take the title before kicking another ball in the Premier League if relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest pull off a surprise win over the Gunners next Saturday evening.
With an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid, all pre-match thoughts centred on the team that manager Pep Guardiola would put out on Merseyside. The Catalan boss left Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva on the bench, with Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden all starting.
Everton received a huge boost in their relegation battle by winning 5-1 at Brighton in midweek, and looked to follow up by putting a dent in City’s title hopes. Victory for the Toffees would have meant taking a huge step towards Premier League safety, and the Mersey blues set up to frustrate City as much as possible.
And the home side could, and maybe should have taken the lead with the score at 0-0. Mason Holgate hooked his shot over the bar form just a few yards out when unmarked at the far post. It was a period where Everton were on top but couldn’t take advantage and were made to pay as a result.
City tightened up and took the lead with a clever finish from Gundogan in the 37th minute A cross by Mahrez found the German inside the penalty area with his back to goal. Gundo controlled with his thigh, before hooking home with his right foot.
Two minutes later, scorer turned provider as his cross from the right found the head of Haaland, and the big Norwegian powered his header beyond Pickford in the Everton goal to make it 2-0. The striker was left completely unmarked, unchallenged and given the time and space to pick his spot.
That knocked the wind out of Everton’s sails and any thoughts of claiming the three points, which was compounded five minutes after the break. Foden’s charging run was abruptly ended on the edge of the penalty area and Gundogan curled a delightful free-kick over the wall and into the goal to make the game safe.
City were in complete control and, although Ederson was called into action late on, the result was never in doubt following the third goal and City can now look ahead to their tie with Real, knowing they have three matches to secure the title.
Final Score: Everton 0-3 Manchester City