Manchester City moved a big step closer to the Premier League title thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s midweek masterclass at Wolves, while Leeds remain in big trouble at the bottom following a damaging home defeat to Chelsea.
On what could turn out to be a pivotal evening, City overpowered and outclassed Wolves to make a mockery of suggestions their trip to Molineux represented a tricky test for the title favourites as they responded to Liverpool’s edgy 2-1 win at Aston Villa the night before with a comprehensive 5-1 stuffing of Bruno Lage’s side.
De Bruyne was sensational as he struck four goals while Raheem Sterling’s late fifth moved Pep Guardiola’s side seven goals clear of the Reds in the goal difference stakes – something which could still prove vital in the final reckoning. City are now 1/33 to retain the title, with just four points needed from their final two games, while Liverpool are 10/1.
Guardiola’s assessment of De Bruyne afterwards was: “Unstoppable, brilliant, awesome, outstanding, perfect”. His words aptly described the Belgian’s night but it could also have applied to his team’s overall performance as they blew Wolves away to move three points clear of Liverpool at the top with the two teams both having just two games to play.
There will be claims by some people that the Citizens’ trip to West Ham on Sunday (West Ham 13/2, draw 4/1, Man City 4/11 – Match odds) is another tough outing for the leaders but, on this evidence, another victory – and another title – surely now beckons.
At the bottom, Leeds sit in the final relegation place after a 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea. The Whites were already 1-0 down to Mason Mount’s early effort when Dan James’ red card gave them a huge mountain to climb as Jesse Marsch’s side were reduced to 10 men inside the first half an hour for the second Premier League match in a row. Chelsea underlined their dominance with further goals from Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku to leave them on the verge of sealing a top-four place.
The only slight positive for Leeds (8/13 – To be relegated) to cling to on a fairly grim night for the West Yorkshire club was the fact Everton, who are two points and two places above in 16th with a game in hand, could only manage a dull 0-0 draw at already-relegated Watford.
In what’s looking like an increasingly desperate bid to stay up, Leeds must now try to get a victory at home to Brighton on Sunday, when Everton (12/1 – To be relegated) are also back in action at Goodison Park against Brentford, while Burnley (6/4 – To be relegated), who sit in-between in 17th, level on points with Marsch’s side, travel to Tottenham.