HUDDERSFIELD, January 20: Manchester City reduced Liverpool’s lead at the top of the English Premier League table to four points as they eventually found top gear to win 3-0 away to basement club Huddersfield Town on Sunday.
This was by no means City’s most outstanding display of the season but, ultimately, goals from Danilo, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane ensured they did not trip up in the latest leg of their quest to keep the Premier League title-race alive.
Liverpool’s captivating 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday ensured this was a crunch fixture for Pep Guardiola’s side, yet any hopes Huddersfield could pull off a shock win never materialised.
The embarrassment of riches available to City manager Guardiola meant Gabriel Jesus, who had scored seven goals in three matches, dropped to the bench alongside David Silva while Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero returned to his starting line-up.
That depth of quality would be difficult for any side to counter, especially a team struggling as much as Huddersfield are at present.
They parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday, a mutual decision but a sad one for Terriers’ fans who will always remember him as the man who not only secured promotion to the Premier League for the Yorkshire club but also kept them in the top-flight last term.
Lacazette, Koscielny score as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0
Arsenal blew the race for a top-four Premier League finish wide open as first-half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny saw the Gunners beat Chelsea 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Chelsea remain in pole position for a return to Champions League football next season in fourth, but are now just three points ahead of Arsenal and a surging Manchester United, who beat Brighton earlier on Saturday to stretch caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winning streak to seven games in all competitions.
Maurizio Sarri’s men risk being caught after a fourth defeat in 11 league matches that underlined the need for a striker, as the club close in on signing Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus.
Sarri again opted to start without a recognised centre-forward, with a largely anonymous Eden Hazard preferred in middle of a front three against an Arsenal defence that had kept just one Premier League clean sheet since September.
By contrast Arsenal boss Unai Emery’s selection was vindicated, with Mesut Ozil on the bench for the whole match and a switch to a 4-4-2 that allowed Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to form a potent partnership up front.
Aubameyang should have opened the scoring after just five minutes when perfectly picked out by Lacazette’s low cross, but he dragged his shot wide. (AFP)