Man City close to EPL title after win at Spurs

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Manchester City are on the verge of a fourth successive Premier League title after Tottenham failed to do arch-rivals Arsenal a favour, losing 2-0 to Pep Guardiola’s side in a game which ended their own Champions League hopes.

City knew beating Spurs and West Ham on the final day would see them crowned Premier League champions yet again and they have done half the job after winning at a subdued Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The reigning champions were uncharacteristically poor in the opening 45 minutes but took the lead through Erling Haaland’s tap-in six minutes after the restart.

Tottenham, hoping to keep their Champions League chances alive and battling with the prospect of handing Arsenal the title, came close to an equaliser on numerous occasions – Son Heung-min missing a huge chance when going through one-on-one.

But Man City put a crucial win to bed in injury-time as Haaland emphatically converted a penalty won by Jeremy Doku, the Norwegian up to 26 goals as he closes in on back-to-back Golden Boot awards.

The win means Man City will sit top of the Premier League – two points above title rivals Arsenal – on the final day of the season and will defend the title if they beat West Ham at the Etihad Stadium.

A draw will only be enough if Arsenal, who have mounted another impressive title challenge under Mikel Arteta, fail to beat Everton at home as the Gunners have a superior goal difference.

For Tottenham, a spirited but awkward defeat to Manchester City means they cannot catch Aston Villa, who have qualified for the Champions League for the first time under Unai Emery.

Spurs will finish fifth ahead of in-form Newcastle United and Chelsea if they avoid defeat at bottom-placed Sheffield United on the final day.

City travelled to north London for their game in hand against Spurs sitting second in the Premier League, one point behind title rivals Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola made just one change from the side that thumped Fulham last time out, while Ange Postecoglou made three changes from the Burnley win, bringing in Radu Dragusin, Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for Oliver Skipp, Dejan Kulsevski and Yves Bissouma.

Postecoglou insisted his Spurs team would do everything in their power to beat Tottenham despite the ramifications in the title race and his side started well, Bentancur forcing Ederson to make an early save with the first shot on target.

City were struggling to get going in a subdued and flat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but were almost gifted an opener when Hojbjerg’s terrible attempted clearance fell to Phil Foden, but the England star was denied by Guglielmo Vicario’s strong right arm.

Despite former Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker regularly finding space down the right flank, Foden’s effort was Man City’s only chance of note in the opening half an hour, with the reigning champions struggling for fluency in the final third.

Josko Gvardiol, who has scored five goals in his last seven games, shinned a Walker cross over the bar and shots from Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva were both blocked before the offside flag was raised as the score remained goalless at half-time.

After an uncharacteristically poor and unthreatening opening 45 minutes, it was no surprise to see Man City improve after the break and they almost broke the deadlock immediately through Kevin de Bruyne, who swivelled from the edge of the box before seeing a strong effort denied by the diving Vicario.

Spurs also came close to an early second-half goal, Son’s attempt at a delicate chip from Brennan Johnson’s cross blocked by Ederson from close range, but soon enough Manchester City were in front courtesy of Golden Boot leader Haaland.

Foden had the Spurs players rushing back with a run down the left flank and his cross eventually found its way to Silva and then De Bruyne who put it on a plate for Haaland with a simple ball across goal.

City’s biggest problem in the next 15 minutes came through injury scares to Ederson and De Bruyne, the former causing real concern to the medical staff following a nasty collision with Cristian Romero and then replaced by Stefan Ortega.

Kulusevski’s close-range strike, while De Bruyne’s replacement Jeremy Doku threatened on the counter.

Kulusevski had another shot saved by Ortega before Son fluffed his lines with the defining moment in the match and perhaps this season’s title race, the Tottenham captain bearing down on goal only to be denied by Ortega, who spread himself to spare Manuel Akanji’s blushes.

With their next attack Man City won a penalty as Doku was felled by Pedro Porro and Haaland made no mistake from the spot to send Guardiola’s side top of the Premier League ahead of the final day.

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