Manchester City edged closer to the Premier League title, while there was significant change at the bottom of the table on Sunday.

City were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid in midweek, but saw their domestic hopes boosted when Liverpool dropped points against Tottenham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side subsequently breezed past Newcastle United to move three points clear of the Reds with three games remaining, while West Ham hit relegated Norwich City for four.

Elsewhere, Arsenal continued their charge for Champions League qualification with a narrow victory over 10-man Leeds United, who ended the day in the relegation zone after Everton triumphed at Leicester City.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the Opta data from the day's top-flight fixtures.

Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United: Sterling provides as title charge continues 

Raheem Sterling was at the double as City strengthened their grasp on top spot with a 5-0 rout of Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling and Aymeric Laporte struck in the first half, with Joao Cancelo teeing up the England international's opener as the full-back became the fourth of Guardiola's players to reach 10 assists in all competitions this season (also Kevin de Bruyne with 13, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus - both 11).

City are the only team in Europe's big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this campaign, and Guardiola's men furthered their advantage after the interval.

Rodri then scored following a corner, as Laporte did in the first half, as City managed their 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this term in the league, excluding penalties. They have conceded just once from set-pieces themselves, with their plus-19 differential the best figure recorded in a single season in the Premier League since such records are available (2006-07 onwards).

Foden added a fourth before Sterling capped a fine victory with his 51st Premier League goal at the Etihad, becoming only the second player to pass 50 strikes for City at home in the competition after Sergio Aguero (106).

City have beaten Newcastle 28 times in the Premier League (D8 L8), more than they have any other side in the competition. In their league history, they have only beaten Everton (72 times) more often than the Magpies (68 times).

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with City – 10 of those against Guardiola – the worst 100 per cent losing record a manager has against a single opponent or against another boss in the competition.

Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Ill-tempered Whites fall into relegation zone

An Eddie Nketiah double kept Arsenal on course for Champions League qualification as they triumphed 2-1 against 10-man Leeds, who dropped into the bottom three for the first time since October 30.

Nketiah fired the Gunners into a 2-0 lead as he became just the second Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League game after Kanu (versus Sunderland in October 2002).

With Alexandre Lacazette out of favour, Nketiah has stepped up as Mikel Arteta's talisman, scoring four goals in his last four league games – just one fewer than he had managed in his first 52 top-flight appearances.

Luke Ayling was then dismissed for a mindless two-footed lunge on Gabriel Martinelli after 27 minutes, Leeds' earliest red card in the competition since April 1998 (when Lucas Radebe saw red after 17 minutes against Everton).

Tempers continued to flare before the interval as Leeds picked up their 95th and 96th yellow cards of the season, setting a new record for the most bookings for a club within a single Premier League campaign.

Diego Llorente offered Jesse Marsch's visitors brief hope as he poked home with Leeds' first shot on target, which marked the first home league goal Arsenal have conceded from a corner since February 2021 (also against Leeds).

However, Arsenal held on for victory to move four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who they face on Thursday knowing victory will secure Champions League football next campaign.

Leicester City 1-2 Everton: Toffees move out of bottom three

Mason Holgate's second-half header proved the difference as Everton climbed out of the relegation zone with a battling 2-1 victory at Leicester.

Before this game, Leicester had won eight of their last nine top-flight matches against sides starting the day inside the relegation zone (D1), but the Foxes were caught cold by Vitalii Mykolenko's early volley.

That made Mykolenko the first Ukrainian to score a Premier League goal for Everton, the 39th different nationality to find the net in the competition for the Toffees, the sixth most of all clubs.

Patson Daka restored parity five minutes later, with all five of the striker's Premier League goals coming at the King Power Stadium – only Jamie Vardy (6) has netted more often at home for the club in the top-flight in 2021-22.

Holgate delivered the decisive finish in the 30th minute with his second league goal in his last five matches, one more than he had managed across his previous 109 top-flight appearances beforehand (one).

Brendan Rodgers will be left frustrated by the nature of Holgate's goal, given it was the 15th Premier League strike Leicester have conceded from a corner this campaign – the most by a side in a single campaign since Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017-18 (16).

Victory marked the first away league win in 15 games for Everton, ending a seven-game losing streak on the road as Frank Lampard's side moved a point clear of Leeds and Burnley having played one game fewer.

Norwich City 0-4 West Ham: Bowen and Benrahma on song to down Canaries

Said Benrahma scored twice as West Ham responded to Thursday's Europa League semi-final heartbreak by cruising past relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road.

Benrahma struck after 12 minutes before Michail Antonio ended his joint-longest goal drought in the top-flight with his fifth Premier League strike against the Canaries, only against Tottenham (six) has he scored more in the competition. 

Algeria international Benrahma doubled his tally before the interval, taking him to 21 direct goal contributions in the competition (nine goals, 12 assists). Since his debut in 2020, Jarrod Bowen (30) and Antonio (28) are the only other Hammers to register 20+ top-flight goal involvements.

Bowen assisted both of Benrahma's strikes as the former Hull City man became just the second player for West Ham to register at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a Premier League season, and the first since Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00 (16 goals, 13 assists).

Indeed, only Harry Kane (32) has been involved in more goals among English Premier League players in all competitions than Bowen this season (27 – 16 goals, 11 assists).

Manuel Lanzini's second-half penalty rounded off the victory as West Ham won a Premier League away game by at least a four-goal margin for just the third time, while it was the first time the Hammers have put at least four goals past a side in consecutive league visits since doing so against Tottenham in November 1966.

Meanwhile, Norwich have failed to score in 20 different league games this season, becoming the first side to do so in at least 20 matches in three different Premier League campaigns (also in 1994-95 and 2019-20).

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will have "an extra level of motivation" when they face Tottenham on Thursday knowing a victory would seal Champions League qualification.

The Gunners extended their winning run to four Premier League matches at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, seeing off 10-man Leeds United 2-1 to go four points clear of Spurs.

Eddie Nketiah punished Illan Meslier's early howler to open the scoring and the striker doubled Arsenal's lead with a clinical finish only 10 minutes in.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds in a nightmare first half when Luke Ayling was sent off for a reckless two-footed lunge on Gabriel Martinelli.

Diego Llorente pulled a goal back in the second half, but Leeds dropped into the relegation zone as Arsenal strengthened their grip on fourth place with three games to play.

A North London derby win will guarantee them a place in the Champions League next season and the Spaniard is determined to make it mission accomplished in the home of their fierce rivals.

The Arsenal boss said: "We want to prepare and go for that match like we always do, with the same enthusiasm, but knowing obviously that this can be a defining moment and that’s an extra level of motivation and another layer for us to really go for it and I can't wait to play that game."

It appeared that Arsenal could run riot even before Whites captain Ayling was sent off and Arteta felt his side made hard work of securing three precious points two days after he signed a new contract.

Asked if they made seeing out the win more difficult than it ought to have been, he replied: "Yes, considering the way that we started I think we were electric, so determined, so incisive, we scored two good goals, created chances and didn’t allow anything to happen around our box.

"And after that, obviously, the red card presents a different match where they change completely their behaviour and how they set up and we have to manage the game in a different way.

"I think for a lot of phases we did well, but we needed to score the third goal and we had the chances to do so and then the accident happen when the first time that they were through at a set-piece we conceded a goal and it's game on and some nerves have to handled."

Arteta, who revealed Ben White is poised to return at Tottenham, says spirits are understandably high in the Arsenal dressing room but they know there is work to do.

"Really good, really positive, but at the same time really humble," he said of the mood in the camp. "We know that nothing has been achieved yet and still a lot of things and a lot of minutes to play to do what we want to achieve."

Jesse Marsch vowed his Leeds United side will "fight for our lives" after dropping into the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-1 loss to Arsenal on Sunday.

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier gifted Eddie Nketiah an early opener, and the Arsenal striker, who spent 2019-20 on loan at Elland Road, added a second with just 10 minutes played.

The visitors inflicted more damage on themselves after 27 minutes when Luke Ayling, making the 500th appearance of his career, was sent off for lunging in on Gabriel Martinelli.

Diego Llorente did manage to pull one back through Leeds' first effort on target in the 66th minute, but they were ultimately left with too much to do.

A second loss in a row for Leeds, coupled with Everton's 2-1 win at Leicester City, means they will end the day in the bottom three for the first time since October 30.

Leeds have spent 16 days in the relegation zone this – five fewer than Arsenal, who made a poor start to the season with three defeats in a row.

Marsch accepts Leeds were victims of their own mistakes at Emirates Stadium but is hopeful his side will respond in their remaining three fixtures.

"I think we had a really bad start and dug a hole for ourselves, which we didn't need to," Marsch, who succeeded Marcelo Bielsa in late February, told BBC Sport. 

"At half-time we talked about keeping our composure and treating the game like it was 0-0. That's what we did.

"We are in a difficult situation. We have to regroup and figure out what we can do. Our backs are against the wall. We are in the relegation zone, but we have to fight for our lives.

"When I arrived two months ago I knew this wasn't going to be easy. The group's stayed strong. Our second-half performance highlights the character of the people we have.

"The fans and the support at this club is unreal. We want to put a performance on the pitch that honours that support."

With their 95th and 96th yellow cards of the season, Leeds set a record for the most bookings for a club in a single Premier League campaign.

They now host Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion in successive home games before travelling to Brentford on the final day of the season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have won four successive league games while conceding at least once each time for the first time since a run of five in February and March 2012.

Following Tottenham's 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday, the Gunners now hold a four-point lead over their fierce rivals in the battle for fourth place.

Should Arsenal make it five top-flight wins a row by beating Spurs on Thursday, they will secure a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17.

"We know that, and we have earned the right to play that game in that context," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who signed a contract extension this week, told BBC Sport. 

"Winning any match is extremely difficult. We are going to prepare for the game as best as we can.

"We started extremely well today and were determined, creating chance after chance. And then playing against 10 men it is always more complicated.

"We controlled the game really well. It became nervy, and you start to defend that result."

Eddie Nketiah was non-committal over his future after his double consigned 10-man Leeds United to a 2-1 defeat and moved Arsenal a step closer to qualifying for the Champions League.

Nketiah pounced on a howler from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to open the scoring and added a second goal only 10 minutes into the Premier League encounter at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Luke Ayling was sent off for a reckless lunge on Gabriel Martinelli just 27 minutes in, and although Diego Llorente pulled one back in the second half, his close-range strike was in vain.

A fourth win in a row moved the Gunners four points clear of fierce rivals Tottenham with three games to play in the battle for a top-four finish ahead of a huge north London derby on Thursday.

Nketiah is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and the in-form striker, who has been linked with Crystal Palace, gave little away when asked about his future after plunging his former club Leeds into the relegation zone.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a great atmosphere throughout the whole season, it's been excellent.

"You really feel the connection between the players and the fans, it's amazing to be involved."

Nketiah's opportunities have been limited this season, but he has four goals in as many games after scoring twice in a recent victory at Chelsea.

The 22-year-old is relishing the chance to show what he is capable of as Mikel Arteta's side strive to seal a return to the premier club competition in Europe.

He said: "Any player just wants to be playing and get the opportunities. I've worked hard throughout the season to make sure that I was ready when I get my chance, and credit to my team-mates for helping me play and do well. I'm just happy in the team and helping."

Arsenal will be guaranteed a Champions League place if they beat Spurs in their own backyard, while Leeds are in the bottom three following Everton's 2-1 win at Leicester City.

Eddie Nketiah scored twice against his former club as Arsenal remained on course for the Champions League and plunged 10-man Leeds United into the relegation zone with a 2-1 win.

Nketiah capitalised on an Illan Meslier error to put the Gunners in front and added a second just 10 minutes into the Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Leeds suffered another massive blow when captain Luke Ayling marked the 500th appearance of his career by getting sent off for a reckless first-half lunge on Gabriel Martinelli with only 27 minutes played.

Diego Llorente pulled a goal back in the second half, but Arsenal moved four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham and Jesse Marsch's side dropped into the bottom three after Everton won at Leicester City.

Meslier gifted Arsenal the lead in the fifth minute, taking a heavy touch from Ayling's back pass to present Nketiah with a tap-in.

Nketiah doubled the Gunners' advantage five minutes later, finishing clinically with his left foot from close to the penalty spot after the excellent Martinelli picked him out with a cutback from the byline.

A nightmare start for Leeds took another huge turn for the worse when Ayling was given his marching orders for a mindless challenge, referee Chris Kavanagh whipping out a red card following a VAR check after initially booking the defender.

Llorente cleared off the line late in the first half and Martinelli forced a save from Meslier following the restart before blazing over the crossbar, with Leeds on the ropes.

Arsenal were coasting, but Llorente gave Leeds a lifeline when Junior Firpo flicked on a corner from the left and Llorente was on hand to tuck home with his right foot at the back post.

Martin Odegaard spurned a chance to restore Arsenal's two-goal advantage when he cut inside and drilled a left-foot drive just wide, but Nketiah's double extended the Gunners' winning run to four games.

Mikel Arteta believes his new contract will clear up any doubts over Arsenal's future direction and be a major factor in the club's recruitment and retention drive.

The manager has committed to a two-year contract extension at Emirates Stadium, with his previous deal having run to the end of next season.

It means he is now set to stay at Arsenal until 2025, ensuring stability at the club.

Arteta revealed a number of Arsenal stars had been asking him about his future before he committed to an extended stay, with the announcement coming from the club on Friday.

Asked when the players learned the news, Arteta said: "They found out this morning. Some of them had been asking me in the last few months because they had questions about their individual futures.

"I want zero distraction about that. It's clear for the future."

Arsenal sit fourth in the Premier League and are looking to lock down a top-four finish to ensure a return to the Champions League, having last featured in that competition in the 2016-17 season.

They face Leeds United on Sunday, with Arteta hoping a feel-good factor can carry Arsenal towards their goals.

"I'm delighted, because from both sides we have shown a real commitment of what we want to do together in this beautiful journey," he said of his new deal.

"The plans and the vision that we shared are the reason why I'm doing it, and I think the club is doing it because we share the same belief, the same passion, and the same level of trust about each other and how we're doing it, and I'm really excited about what we can do together."

Speaking in a news conference, Arteta said: "The club was so decisive and committed to do it now.

"They wanted to bring clarity starting from ownership about what we were doing and show the stability and commitment to the project, and don't have to worry in the summer about any of that. When we want to recruit players or keep the players we want, they can see a clear path in the future and there is no question mark.

"I'm extremely happy here, and this job is still a lot to do."

Arteta indicated he was offered his new deal after the run of losses to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton in April.

That has been followed by wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham, and now lowly Leeds await, with Jesse Marsch's team battling to avoid sliding into the Championship.

The Emirates Stadium clash is therefore a high-stakes affair for both sides.

"It's a lot to play for, and obviously the situation they are in, they're going to show how much they want to get out of that zone as quick as possible," Arteta said.

"For us, it's the defining moment in the season, after everything we've done, so we want to capitalise on what we've done in the last nine or 10 months."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola asserted that his side's Premier League title destiny is in their hands, and they will need to remain consistent to ward off Liverpool.

City remain a point clear of Liverpool after both sides won their respective games against Leeds and Newcastle.

Guardiola's side took the lead via Rodri in the 13th minute at Elland Road before going on to win 4-0, moving to 83 points with four games remaining.

While the 51-year-old respects the gravity of the situation, he believes the equation is ultimately simple for City – keep winning, because Liverpool will push them.

"It's in our hands," Guardiola said post-match. “Wolves, Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa. We win (them all), we will be champions. We drop points, Liverpool will be champions.

“We know exactly what we need to do - win our games.

“Still it is a privilege and an honour to try win back-to-back titles and four Premier Leagues in five years.

“Right now it's not too much complicated, they are going to win their games.”

Despite the scoreline, City's win was not necessarily routine, eventually doubling the margin through Nathan Ake from a set piece.

Asked whether the characteristically boisterous atmosphere at Elland Road compared to those they face in Europe, Guardiola added he was impressed by how the relegation-threatened Leeds were supported.

It meant his side had to display character to eventually see the game out.

“I don’t want to compare or I’ll be in trouble," Guardiola joked. “Since I arrived in England, I heard about Elland Road - last year it was behind closed doors, today i experienced it and why it’s so special.

“Fighting to stay in the Premier League – singing, chanting and how the people get behind them. Leeds is one of greatest teams in England, and I have sympathy for the fans. I said today it would be hard.

“We stuck together and in the end it’s important to close that (goal difference) gap a little more.”

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

Pep Guardiola insisted he is enjoying the pressure that comes with Manchester City's bid for the Premier League and Champions League titles after his team thrashed Leeds United 4-0.

Rodri and Nathan Ake converted from set pieces to put City in control of their Premier League clash at Elland Road, as the visitors reached 18 set-piece goals in the league this season (excluding penalties) – the highest tally in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho added some gloss to the scoreline late on as City returned to the Premier League summit, having been overtaken by Liverpool after the Reds' 1-0 win over Newcastle United earlier on Saturday. 

City are now unbeaten in eight league games, while title rivals Liverpool have dropped just two points in their last 14 games in the competition, but Guardiola insisted he was relishing the pressure of the title race after securing an "incredible" victory.

"I prefer to feel the pressure than to not feel it! It means we have a chance to do it," he told Sky Sports. 

"It's a long season but now it's the last effort, we have a final in Madrid in four days and after, the last four games of the Premier League.

"Today was so important, you know, to make our chances to be champions alive again.

"We suffered a lot in the first half, but after the second goal we had control and we could have scored more goals. It's an incredible result for us, so important. 

"We defended well, sometimes set pieces are so important, with Nathan Ake on the pitch we are really strong. What a game [Aymeric] Laporte played. He played an incredible game. We have five games, potentially six [if City make the Champions League final], to end the season."

In completing their first league double over Leeds since 1981-82 – a season that saw the Yorkshire club relegated from the top flight – City recorded their fifth successive away clean sheet in the Premier League.

That sequence represents the longest such run in City's history, and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said the team overcame a "huge test" in their quest for consecutive Premier League titles.

"Leeds started with a lot of intensity and made our lives difficult," Gundogan added. "Obviously the first goal helped us a lot, but still in the first half they were more than in the game.

"After the second we were able to move the ball better, quicker, and create more chances. At the end of the day, it was a very good result for us."

City and Liverpool have set a relentless pace in another absorbing race between the duo, and Gundogan echoed his manager's sentiments in claiming the players were enjoying the pressure that competition brings.

"It's only as tough as you make it, we are all competitors, and we need to be able to manage these kinds of situations," he said. "It's normal that sometimes they will play first and sometimes we're going to play first.

"But the pressure is always on, and the responsibility is always there to win all the games. It looks like both teams might not struggle until the end, that's what we want obviously, and every game is a final."

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.

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.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has Benfica striker Darwin Nunez at the top of his shopping list in the upcoming transfer window.

The Uruguayan striker is in the midst of a breakout season in both Portugal and Europe, scoring 25 goals in 24 Primeira Liga fixtures, and a Benfica-record six Champions League goals in 10 appearances.

Darwin finished his Champions League campaign by scoring a goal in three consecutive games, including in back-to-back fixtures against Liverpool.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS MAKE DARWIN NUMBER-ONE TARGET

Fichajes and Calcio In Pillole reporter Ekrem Konur claims United have made Darwin their priority target, stating he is "at the top of Erik ten Hag's short transfer list" and they are "considering paying" his release clause.

ESPN has also said United are "leading the chase" for the striker though they face competition from Arsenal, and reported along with The Sun that the 22-year-old's release clause is in the region of €150million.

As well as Darwin, Napoli's Victor Osimhen and Juventus' Paulo Dybala, who will be a free agent, are also serious targets management would like to bring to Old Trafford.

ROUND-UP

– Marca is reporting that Barcelona will turn to Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku as their "plan C" after failing to land Erling Haaland or Robert Lewandowski.

– According to The Express, Arsenal are willing to listen to offers of £25m for Nicolas Pepe after signing him for a club-record £72m in 2019. West Ham are said to be one of the Premier League teams interested.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that Manchester City are focused on extending Phil Foden's contract until 2027.

– Leeds United midfielder and England international Kalvin Phillips will change his agent as he looks to secure a move away from the club, with the Manchester Evening News reporting that United will be in the box seat.

– Todofichajes is claiming that Arsenal have agreed a £50m deal for City striker Gabriel Jesus.

As the 2021-22 Premier League season enters its final weeks, plenty remains for the taking – not least the thrilling title race between Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City.

Both teams are in imperious form and, while City lead the way by a single point heading into the weekend, one slip might be all it takes.

Chelsea seem relatively secure in third place, but behind them the battle for the final Champions League spot is raging on. Just two points separate north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, who meet in a potentially decisive derby in mid-May. 

Manchester United have played two games more than those two sides and look like they will have to settle for sixth, assuming they can fend off West Ham.

At the bottom, Everton are in real danger of losing their Premier League status for the first time but will hold out hope in their dogfight against Burnley and Leeds United, though Watford and Norwich City appear destined for the drop.

But just how will it all unfold? Well, using the Stats Perform League Prediction Model, we can try and forecast the final standings.

Created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, the model has analysed the division to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The rest of the matches are then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

Let's take a look...

PEP PIPS KLOPP TO THE POST... AGAIN

City won the Premier League title by a margin of just one point in the 2018-19 campaign. The gap has been much wider over the past two seasons, with Liverpool triumphing in 2020 and City winning last year.

But just like in 2019, the model suggests Liverpool will fall just short once again, with City predicted to stay on top. It gives Pep Guardiola's team a 66 per cent chance of winning their fourth title in five seasons, with the Reds given a 34 per cent chance.

Neither side are predicted to drop out of the top two – that seems a safe bet. Liverpool have a tough trip to in-form Newcastle United on Saturday, while City face Leeds United.

Newcastle will then have the chance to have another say in the title race when they visit City on May 8, with trips to Wolves and West Ham coming for the leaders before they round off their domestic season against Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa. 

Liverpool, who also face Villa along with Spurs, Southampton and Wolves, will be wanting a favour from their club great on the last day of the season if they are to prove the model wrong.

GUNNERS CLINCH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACE

Chelsea, according to the model, have a 98.7 chance of staying in third place, and are certain to be playing in UEFA's elite competition next season.

Below them, it is predicted that Arsenal will just nip into the top four rather than Spurs. Mikel Arteta's team have a 75.2 per cent chance of qualifying for the Champions League, and just 24.8 of finishing in a Europa League place.

While Stats Perform AI only gives Arsenal a minuscule opportunity of taking third off Chelsea, they have a 73.9 per cent chance of securing fourth place and featuring in the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17.

It seems likely that much will be decided on May 12, when Spurs welcome Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Antonio Conte's team are predicted to finish fifth (72.4 per cent), and only have a 24.7 per cent likelihood of clinching fourth.

United are forecast to finish sixth (65 per cent), albeit there is the possibility they could even end 2021-22 in seventh. That position, however, seems set to be filled by West Ham, who have to win against Eintracht Frankfurt next week to keep their hopes of a Europa League triumph alive – success in that competition would take them into the Champions League, regardless of where they finish domestically.

TOFFEES CHAMPIONSHIP-BOUND

It has been a dismal season for Everton, who head into Sunday's clash with Frank Lampard's former club Chelsea sitting in the bottom three for the first time since 2019 (when, ironically, they beat a Chelsea side managed by Lampard).

Lampard has taken 10 points from his 12 games in charge, and they are now predicted to finish in 18th place. The model gives them a 29.8 per cent chance of escaping the drop and finishing 17th and just a 17.4 per cent likelihood of coming 16th. Their run-in includes three away games, and Everton have the worst away record in the competition – 12 of their 19 defeats coming on the road and they have taken just six points on their travels all season.

Burnley sit two points clear of Everton in 17th after two successive victories and are given a 39.4 per cent chance of staying put, although the likelihood of the Clarets' finishing 18th is not dissimilar (36.5 per cent).

Leeds have tough fixtures against City, Arsenal and Chelsea coming up before they host Brighton and Hove Albion and visit Brentford, though Stats Perform AI gives them only a 12.9 per cent chance of relegation.

Watford are heavily predicted to stay put in 19th too, with Norwich given a 67.4 per cent probability of finishing bottom – the model reckons they have a 0.1 per cent chance of avoiding the drop.

Jack Grealish has been left out of Manchester City's biggest matches in recent weeks purely due to tactical reasons, Pep Guardiola has explained.

Grealish, signed for a record-breaking £100million last off-season, has started just three of City's eight games so far in April.

The Premier League leaders bookend what has been a hectic month with a trip to Leeds United on Saturday, and may well start the match at Elland Road in second place, should Liverpool get a result against in-form Newcastle United.

Grealish featured from the off in last week's 5-1 rout of Watford, but did not play against Real Madrid in Tuesday's thrilling Champions League encounter as City won the first leg of their semi-final 4-3.

The 26-year-old also started against Burnley at the start of April and in the FA Cup semi-final to Liverpool, scoring City's first goal in a 3-2 defeat at Wembley. However, he was a substitute against the Reds in the 2-2 league draw on April 10, and only featured from the bench in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie with Atletico Madrid. He also did not appear against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Only Bruno Fernandes (77) created more chances from open play in the Premier League than Grealish (70) last season, with the England international managing to craft 42 goalscoring chances from open play for City across 22 top-flight appearances this term. 

That is still the third-best figure in City's squad, behind Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva (both 52), and Guardiola has insisted the playmaker's recent omissions were purely tactical and not down to a disappointment in Grealish's level of performance.

"He can play," Guardiola replied when asked in a news conference why Grealish had been left out of the biggest matches.

"Nothing changes. In that position, in important games Riyad [Mahrez] gives something unique, special and Phil [Foden] is so determined, his will and his impact on the game is huge as well. Just for that reason.

"Raheem [Sterling], everybody knows how important he is for me. Always have the feeling with Phil and Riyad that the goal is there, they have the sense to score the goal. 

"Sometimes you need more control, maybe Jack. Most of the time it is a tactical decision, not because I'm unsatisfied or that they're not playing good."

While Grealish could be in line to play against Leeds, Kyle Walker remains sidelined through injury, with Guardiola unsure if the full-back will return before the end of the season. John Stones will also be absent in West Yorkshire.

City did not beat Leeds in either match last season, drawing at Elland Road before losing to 10 men at the Etihad Stadium. Indeed, the Whites have lost just two of their last nine home league games against City (W6 D1), doing so in consecutive meetings in December 1995 (0-1) and September 2000 (1-2).

But City did win the reverse fixture 7-0 this season and are looking to complete their first league double over Leeds since 1981-82. Guardiola, though, knows Jesse Marsch's team, who are five points clear of the relegation zone after a five-game unbeaten run that has included three victories, stand in the way of what could be a crucial win.

"Last season we dropped five points against Marcelo [Bielsa]," he said. "Jesse Marsch did an incredible job in Salzburg, [RB] Leipzig wasn't the perfect place maybe, but many teams in England play that way, I have a lot of respect.

"This is the most important game that we have for the position we will be in between the Champions League games, after Madrid we have just four games all in the league. We accept the challenge, know exactly what we have to do and we will try to do it."

Pep Guardiola sees no reason why Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool contract extension should play a factor in whether to prolong his own stay at rivals Manchester City.

Klopp confirmed on Thursday he had signed fresh terms with the Reds to keep him at Anfield until at least 2026, with his previous deal set to have expired in 2024.

Guardiola will soon enter the final 12 months of his own contract, though most neutrals will hope he stays on to continue a fascinating rivalry that has been established between City and Liverpool over the past few seasons.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, though, said his immediate focus is on Saturday's Premier League clash with Leeds United, a match in which they could find themselves starting two points behind title rivals Liverpool, who play Newcastle United in the early kick-off.

"I don't know, Leeds is the focus. I congratulate Jurgen and Liverpool, I think it's really good for the Premier League, and I wish him all the best in the future," Guardiola said.

"My future is Leeds, our future is Leeds and the end of the season. Why should it make an impact [on my future]? 

"Everyone has their situation. If we decide to stay longer it won't be because Jurgen extended his contract or not, I don't see this relation, honestly.

"All my career as a manager always I've had rivals. I think it's really good for the Premier League that he decided to extend the contract, because he and the club decided to stick together, there's nothing to add."

Guardiola added no further talks are in the pipeline with City, though he acknowledged the club is the ideal place for him to work at this stage of his career.

He added: "No, no. I'm so concerned about the last three weeks, one month of the season. One year is a long time, six seasons together, many years. I am enjoying this part of the season, after we have time. 

"I have an incredible relationship with the club. You know my opinion, I'm incredibly happy, I could not be in a better place in my life right now to work than here, I could not visualise a better place, but it's not just about me. We are going to take the decision."

While Guardiola was complimentary of Klopp's work at Liverpool, he appeared a little more terse when asked about the fact Mohamed Salah had won the Football Writers' Association Men's Footballer of the Year for 2021-2022, an award his own star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne would have held legitimate claims to win.

"Congratulations to Salah," he said, before adding: "I was not in contention, I played good! 

"[De Bruyne] won already. Congratulations to Salah. Jurgen said that they have the best goalkeeper, the best second keeper, in the world, the best central defender, the best holding midfielder, the best striker. 

"So, it's normal they [Liverpool] win all the awards."

Ousmane Dembele's signing for Barcelona had become emblematic of Josep Maria Bartomeu's turbulent presidency.

An untenably ballooning wage bill saw the club face bankruptcy in the aftermath of Covid-19 restrictions and in a need to cut wages, the French attacker has become an expendable asset.

However, Dembele is reportedly determined to make keeping him at Barcelona more feasible, despite being set to leave at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE OPEN TO BARCELONA WAGE CUT

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Ousmane Dembele is prepared to reduce his salary in order to sign a new contract at Barcelona, Sport reports.

Dembele's agent Moussa Sissoko and the Barcelona board reportedly met and the assertion was made that the France international was willing to take a pay cut to continue playing under Xavi.

Return on investment has always lingered over the 24-year-old attacker following his €140million transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. 

Dembele has provided one goal in all competitions this season for the Blaugrana, but leads the team in assists with 11 from 28 appearances.

 

ROUND-UP

- Roma are looking to the Premier League to bolster their squad for next season, with Granit Xhaka, Douglas Luiz and Nemanja Matic all being considered, Calciomercato reports.

- Barcelona are also keen to sign Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski but no opening bid has been made yet, per Fabrizio Romano.

- The Athletic is reporting Manchester United are considering a £50m move for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

- Wayne Rooney has become to top candidate to replace the dismissed  Sean Dyche at Burnley on a permanent basis, according to the Sun.

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