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Man City show how to deal with title pressure at Fulham

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Man City show how to deal with title pressure at Fulham
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Google News Recentlyheard

LONDON — Look on the Premier League desk and it appears like there is a title race occurring, but it surely’s days like this when Manchester Metropolis make it look extra like a forgone conclusion.

Heading into the ultimate week of the season, Metropolis are forward of Arsenal by two factors with two video games remaining. All to play for, then, as an exhilarating marketing campaign reaches its dramatic climax? Most likely not. Metropolis are squeezing the life out of the battle for the trophy and took one other step in direction of a report fourth-consecutive title with a 4-0 win over Fulham on Saturday.

An early kickoff, away from residence, towards a crew with nothing to lose; there ought to have been no less than some jeopardy within the journey to Craven Cottage. However Pep Guardiola’s serial winners do not do jeopardy when there’s silverware on the road, and after amassing three extra factors, they will sit again and watch Arsenal attempt to sustain after they go to Manchester United on Sunday.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

Arsenal have solely gained as soon as at Previous Trafford prior to now 18 years, and something lower than victory this weekend will give Metropolis the prospect to wrap up the title after they return to London to play Tottenham on Tuesday. It is inside touching distance.

“It was efficiency apart from 5 or 10 minutes,” mentioned Guardiola afterwards. “We’ve two video games left, so return to Manchester and shortly come again to London to play Spurs. Now simply concentrate on restoration. Taking part in now could be good as a result of we play early. Monday we put together, sleep at residence after which Tuesday come right here. Since [Arsenal] misplaced towards Villa [2-0 on April 14], future is in our arms. It is what we would like.”

Large moments can generally throw up unlikely heroes, and Josko Gvardiol has stepped up for Metropolis within the run-in. The 22-year-old defender had gone greater than a 12 months and not using a objective, however after scoring twice towards Fulham, it is now 4 in his previous 5 league video games.

He settled any nerves at Nottingham Forest two weeks in the past with the primary objective of the sport and did the identical right here. Reducing inside from left-back, he bounced the ball off Kevin De Bruyne, took an knowledgeable contact previous Issa Diop and calmly rolled his end into the nook. That is what €90 million will get you, even when he’s speculated to be a defender.

“After the primary lengthy possession with the ball, our winger Josko scores a implausible objective,” mentioned Guardiola with a smile. Because the ball hit the web, Guardiola did not change his stoney expression and as an alternative solely acknowledged the significance of the objective with a clenched fist. Sporting a thick wool sweater within the London solar, he was nonetheless the best man inside Craven Cottage.

Such was Metropolis’s management that it took Fulham practically an hour to register a shot and nearly instantly afterwards, Phil Foden made it 2-0. His twenty fifth objective of the season owed every part to Bernardo Silva’s skilful flip previous Antonee Robinson and driving run inside, however Foden’s end was calm and exact — very similar to Metropolis’s efficiency. It was solely after that objective that Guardiola allowed himself a smile. Two extra video games like this and there might be a couple of extra come the top of the season.

“I’ve the sensation they prefer to play with stress,” mentioned Guardiola. “They’ve unimaginable personalities. Gamers who take pleasure in enjoying with that stress. Should you lose the sport you lose the Premier League, they realize it. Do not take into consideration something apart from the subsequent recreation. See what occurs. Go to London, carry out effectively, attempt to win the sport.”

When Gvardiol bought his second from Silva’s cross, the Metropolis followers behind the objective broke right into a full Poznan, normally an indication that the sport is over and the enjoyable has began. With the rating at 3-0, Guardiola started to show his consideration to Spurs and — relying on Arsenal’s end result at United — a possible title social gathering. De Bruyne was rapidly substituted, with Foden and Erling Haaland following quickly afterwards.

By the top, the Fulham followers had been so demoralised by Metropolis’s relentlessness that when the board went as much as present seven minutes of stoppage time, there have been loud groans from the stands. They needed it over as rapidly as doable, and after an train of ruthless effectivity from Guardiola’s crew, who may blame them? They had been proper to need a speedy conclusion, and within the 96th minute, substitute Julián Álvarez was introduced down within the space by Diop — who was proven a second yellow card and despatched off — then tucked away the penalty.

If ever there was a end result to empty any remaining optimism from Arsenal, this was it. When the ultimate whistle finally blew, the Metropolis gamers strolled over to applaud their followers and had been serenaded with a refrain of “champions once more.” It is onerous to make a case for anything.

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