In Depth

Premier League round-up: Man City boss Pep Guardiola gives up on the title race

Derby defeat leaves the defending champions 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and six behind Leicester

Pep Guardiola has all but given up on the Premier League title after his Manchester City side lost 2-1 at home to rivals Manchester United on Saturday. 

The Manchester derby defeat means the Sky Blues are third in the table, 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and six short of Leicester City, who thrashed Aston Villa 4-1 yesterday to make it a club-record eight Premier League wins in a row.

We may not be at the halfway stage of the season but it feels as if only Leicester can catch the Merseysiders, and that certainly seems to be Guardiola’s belief. 

“It is not realistic to think about catching up,” said City boss Guardiola, when asked about overhauling Liverpool between now and May. 

“Obviously it is so difficult because the opponents have had 16 games with 15 victories and they are on an incredible run and sometimes we have dropped points. But our duty, and what you have to do, is continue.”

As BBC Sport reports, City must win all their remaining 22 games to reach the 98-point mark that won them the title last season, and in the meantime they must hope Liverpool have a spectacular implosion.

Reds enjoy trip to the seaside

That doesn’t look likely given that Saturday’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run to 33 league games. This season the Reds have won 15 of 16 Premier League matches, with Man Utd the only side to take a point from them.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring on the south coast and Naby Keita made it 2-0 before the break before Mohamed Salah added a third in the second half. 

“It was a professional performance - controlled, scoring wonderful goals,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp. “It was a perfect game. All round, nearly perfect day.”

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Vardy inspires victory

Two goals from Jamie Vardy - his 15th and 16th of the season - helped Leicester beat Aston Villa 4-1 as the Foxes continued their winning streak. 

Jonny Evans and Kelechi Iheanacho also got on the scoresheet with Villa captain Jack Grealish scoring the hosts’ consolation goal. 

Leicester now have more points at this stage of the season than in their 2015-16 title-winning campaign, and manager Brendan Rodgers couldn’t hide his delight. 

“I thought they were amazing,” he said of his team. “We had to work for it, it was a tough game and we played with a lot of quality and hunger. A brilliant win.”

Nice one, Son

In other results, Everton reacted to the sacking of Marco Silva by beating Chelsea 3-1, a defeat that leaves the west London club in fourth place, but their lead over fifth-placed Man Utd is now five points. 

Tottenham, meanwhile, are up to sixth (a point behind United) after thumping Burnley 5-0.

Harry Kane scored twice for the hosts as Jose Mourinho’s men ran riot, but the goal of the game came from Son Heung-min, who raced the length of the pitch to score a stunner. 

“I don’t know what happened until the end!” exclaimed Son. “I think it is the best goal in my life.”

London derby 

There’s a Premier League London derby on Monday night as West Ham United host Arsenal. Kick-off at the London Stadium is 8pm (GMT) and the match is live on Sky Sports.

Today’s back pages 

Leicester are in the hunt for the Premier League title

Premier League results and fixtures 

Weekend results
  • Everton 3 Chelsea 1  
  • AFC Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 3 
  • Tottenham Hotspur 5 Burnley 0 
  • Watford 0 Crystal Palace 0 
  • Manchester City 1 Manchester United 2 
  • Aston Villa 1 Leicester City 4 
  • Newcastle United 2 Southampton 1  
  • Norwich City 1 Sheffield United 2  
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Monday’s fixture

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