LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Manchester City’s seemingly relentless march toward the Premier League title continued with a 3-0 win against Everton on Sunday.
And Arsenal’s loss to Brighton by the same score later in the day means Pep Guardiola’s team needs just one more victory to be crowned champions for the third season in a row.
Two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and another from Erling Haaland — his 52nd of the season — secured the points at Goodison Park and stretched City’s unbeaten run to 21 games in all competitions.
It was an 11th straight win in the league, which has seen the defending champions overhaul long-time leader Arsenal at the top of the table and put Guardiola on the brink of a fifth title in six seasons.
“Every time we win a game we’re a bit closer but Chelsea (May 21) and Brighton (May 24) will be tough games,” Guardiola said. “Now we know two wins from the last three games will be enough.”
In fact, now just one win is necessary after Arsenal later conceded second-half goals from Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan at Emirates Stadium to leave City three points away from lifting the Premier League trophy.
A win against Chelsea would secure the title.
Defeat for Everton, meanwhile, leaves the Merseyside club just one point above the relegation zone and in a desperate fight for survival after 69 years in the top flight.
If Leicester beats Liverpool on Monday, Everton would drop into the bottom three with two games to play.
“We just need to get it over the line, that’s the priority, not Manchester City,” Everton manager Sean Dyche said.
Few expected Everton to cause an upset against City, even after its shock 5-1 win against Brighton on Monday.
And despite holding the visitors for a long period of the first half, the game was effectively settled inside two minutes before the break.
Gundogan fired City ahead with a moment of improvisation that seemed to come from nothing in the 37th minute.
With his back to goal, the Germany international controlled Riyad Mahrez’ cross from the right with one touch before flicking a shot over his shoulder and past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Two minutes later City’s lead was doubled, with Gundogan the provider this time when crossing for Haaland to head in a second goal.
It was only the Norway striker’s third touch of the match to that point.
Gundogan struck his second after the break with a curling free kick from the edge of the area to continue his outstanding campaign.
While Haaland’s goal-scoring feats has earned him the majority of the praise this season, and saw him named Footballer of the Year on Friday, Gundogan has been a key part of City’s three-pronged trophy pursuit of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
Gundogan’s two goals at Goodison came after his double against Leeds last week and took his total for the season to nine in all competitions.
He is widely expected to leave in the summer when his contract expires and has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona.
That would leave Guardiola with a hole to fill in his midfield, with one potential replacement, Jude Bellingham, reportedly closing in on a transfer to Real Madrid.
City’s attentions will now turn to Madrid, with the teams playing each other in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday.
With that game finely poised at 1-1 after the first game in Madrid, Guardiola was concerned about the impact the Eurovision Song Contest would have on his preparations for that match.
He would have preferred the Everton game to be played a day earlier to give his players more rest time, but said the staging of Eurovision in Liverpool on Saturday had meant that was impossible.
It mattered little to the outcome of this game, with City a comfortable winner in the end, but it remains to be seen what effect it will have on the performance against Madrid.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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