April 19, 2024

Ilkay Gundogan starred again for Manchester City, with two goals and an assist from the German helping his side to a 3-0 victory at Everton, which extends their advantage over Arsenal to four points in the Premier League title race.

Mikel Arteta’s side can cut that deficit when they host Brighton but City now effectively need just five points from their final three league games to clinch a fifth title in six seasons, given their much better goal difference – and Gundogan is leading the way.

Last week he scored twice in the win at Leeds. He then got an assist at Real Madrid in midweek. And at Goodison Park, there was another demonstration of why Pep Guardiola is desperate for the 32-year-old to extend his contract with the club beyond its expiry this summer.

His first goal was breathtaking – a wonderful piece of skill to break Everton’s resistance on 37 minutes. Moments later he turned provider, crossing for Erling Haaland to head in with just his third touch of the match. Then came a wonderful Gundogan free-kick on 51 minutes to end the contest. It was some way to mark his 300th appearance for the club.

The Premier League title is almost within touching distance now for City, who have won 11 in a row in this competition. They could be crowned at Brighton on May 24 if they win their next two. But first, they must refocus their attentions on European matters, with the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid coming up at the Etihad on Wednesday.

Everton had gone close themselves moments before falling behind, with Mason Holgate just unable to turn in at the back post from a corner and James Tarkowski saw a header pushed onto the bar by Ederson from another set-piece as they searched for a consolation. But a tough afternoon was made worse by key man Dominic Calvert-Lewin being forced off at the break. They stay 17th, just a point clear of the relegation zone.

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