Premier League: Guardiola hails ‘legend’ Aguero as Man City close in on title
Defending champions are a point clear of Liverpool with just two games remaining
Premier League: Burnley 0 Manchester City 1
Manchester City are two victories from retaining their Premier League title after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Sky Blues had Sergio Aguero to thank for a goal in the second half that took them back to the top of the Premier League at the expense of Liverpool.
City are now a point clear of the Reds and providing they beat Leicester at the Etihad next Monday and then win at Brighton on the last day of the season the title will be theirs.
In contrast to the scintillating manner in which Liverpool hammered Huddersfield 5-0 on Friday night, City were sluggish against Burnley and Aguero’s goal on 64 minutes characterised a scrappy encounter.
The Argentine bundled the ball over the line for the only goal of a lacklustre game, although goal-line technology was required to confirm the ball had crossed the whitewash. The Premier League confirmed the ball was just 29.51mm over the line.
“Without technology maybe it is not given,” said City boss Pep Guardiola. “There was a penalty not given but that is why I like [technology].”
Aguero’s goal means he is only the second player after Thierry Henry to score at least 20 Premier League goals in five consecutive seasons, and Guardiola hailed his phenomenal striker. “He is a legend,” he said. “He does that all the time, important goals.”
Aguero was also chipper about his day’s work, saying: “I am very happy with the goal because the first half we had chances. I was happy for the technology - I thought it was over the line.”
Man Utd 1 Chelsea 1: De Gea under pressure
Another howler from David de Gea was a factor in Manchester United’s inability to beat Chelsea, a result that leaves the Red Devils in sixth spot, a point behind Arsenal and three shy of Chelsea, who are fourth and also boast a vastly superior goal difference.
United started strongly, and deservedly took the lead when Juan Mata guided Luke Shaw’s clever cross into the Chelsea goal. But the visitors levelled just before the break after another blunder from the desperately out-of-form De Gea.
The Spanish gloveman fumbled Antonio Rudiger’s innocuous 30-yard shot and Marcos Alonso buried the rebound as the United No.1 looked on in horror.
“It was a good game of football, both could have won it but probably a draw is a fair result,” reflected United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “They’re probably more happy than we are with the draw, it’s one of those days and we must dust ourselves down and win the next two - you never know as points are being dropped left, right and centre.”
Asked whether he should have axed De Gea given his slump in form this year, Solskjaer said: “No. David has been a fantastic keeper at this club, his reaction after [Man] City was good and I was confident in him. He knows he could do better with their goal but it’s one of those things again.”
Leicester City 3 Arsenal 0: Gunners implode
It’s not only David de Gea who has lost form and confidence recently. Arsenal are in freefall as they lost their third league match in a week, this time a 3-0 thrashing at Leicester.
Having leaked three goals to Wolves in midweek, and three at home to Crystal Palace last Sunday, the Gunners defence is now best described as a bad joke - one that almost certainly has cost them a top-four finish.
Jamie Vardy scored twice for the Foxes after Youri Tielemans had put Leicester in front, and Arsenal also had the disadvantage of playing with ten men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off.
Emery feeling the heat
Clueless and headless against Leicester, Arsenal registered just 32.8% possession, which is the lowest they’ve recorded in the Premier League, surpassing their previous worst of 35% possession against Liverpool in 2014.
The defeat increases the pressure on manager Unai Emery who, after a bright start at the Emirates, is beginning to remind Arsenal fans of what life was like under Arsene Wenger.
“The players worked very well and I am proud of them,” said Emery in his post-match press conference, an analysis that left Arsenal fans unsure whether to laugh or cry.
Premier League results
- Liverpool 5 Huddersfield Town 0
- Tottenham Hotspur 0 West Ham United 1
- Crystal Palace 0 Everton 0
- Fulham 1 Cardiff City 0
- Southampton 3 AFC Bournemouth 3
- Watford 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
- Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Newcastle United 1
- Leicester City 3 Arsenal 0
- Burnley 0 Manchester City 1
- Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1