Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of the Premier League title continued with a thumping 4-0 win at Norwich City but Manchester United’s troubles continued as a 1-1 draw with Southampton further damaged their top-four hopes on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick with Phil Foden also on target as City restored their 12-point lead over Liverpool who face bottom club Burnley away on Sunday.

After being held to a draw by Burnley in midweek, United desperately needed a win at home to Southampton, but despite taking the lead when Marcus Rashford set up Jadon Sancho in the 21st minute they were again found wanting.

Southampton, beaten 9-0 on their last trip to Old Trafford, responded three minutes after halftime when Che Adams slotted into the corner via the post.

The visitors could even have won the game as Armando Broja forced David de Gea into a save while Stuart Armstrong blazed a good opportunity over the bar.

United moved into fifth spot, level on 40 points with West Ham United, but Arsenal (39) have two games in hand while Tottenham Hotspur (36) have played three games fewer.

Everton claimed a first league win under Frank Lampard to ease their relegation fears, beating Leeds United 3-0 to move five points clear of third-from-bottom Norwich.

Roy Hodgson’s first home game in charge of Watford went badly as a 2-0 home defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion left them one place off the bottom of the table.

Brentford ended a five-match losing run in the league with a 0-0 home draw against Crystal Palace with the only real highlight coming before kickoff as new signing Christian Eriksen was presented to the crowd eight months after he suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

Sterling had failed to score in his last five appearances for City but curled home a fine finish to break Norwich’s resistance after 31 minutes at Carrow Road.

When Foden bundled in City’s second in the 48th minute the result was a formality but Sterling provided some gloss with a header and then converted a rebound after his penalty had been kept out by home keeper Angus Gunn.

City have now won 14 of their last 15 Premier League games, drawing the other.

“We need a lot of points. We know what rival we have, the closest one is Liverpool,” Guardiola, whose side have 63 of the 90 plus points he says they will need, said.

“(Liverpool) won’t drop many points for the quality they have. It’s the best squad they have in the last decade. We’ll have to win a lot of games.”

STUCK IN A RUT

While City motor on, United appear to be stuck in a rut under interim manager Ralf Rangnick who will soon have a decision to make about Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese has now failed to score in any of his last six appearances in all competitions — something he has not endured at club level since January 2009.

“He would have wished to score, I would have too,” Rangnick said. “Today he had his chances, with one cleared off the line, and had good moments in the second half.

“Again, it is not only Cristiano but as a team we create enough chances but cannot score. It is a major problem.”

Everton’s defeat by Newcastle United in midweek had left Lampard’s team in the relegation battle.

But they responded in resounding fashion on Saturday as goals by captain Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane and Anthony Gordon rewarded them for an impressive display.

“Relief is three points and the table looks slightly better this week but I’m just so proud of the performance,” Lampard said

Liverpool closed the gap at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Burnley in difficult conditions on Sunday while Tottenham Hotspur slipped to a third consecutive league defeat as they succumbed 2-0 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

West Ham United capitalised on Spurs dropping further points in the race for a spot in the top four as Craig Dawson snatched the Hammers a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Leicester City, while Newcastle United boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.

Liverpool’s trip to Burnley was a potential “banana skin”, as manager Jurgen Klopp put it after the match, despite the hosts coming into the contest having won just one of their previous 23 league games.

League leaders Manchester City’s 4-0 win at Norwich City on Saturday extended their advantage over second-placed Liverpool to 12 points, and with games running out the Reds knew they needed to close that gap.

The home side initially adapted better to the awful conditions in Lancashire, but their profligacy in front of goal cost them dear as Fabinho pounced to score what proved to be the winner in the 40th minute. It was the Brazilian’s fifth goal since the turn of the year.

Burnley continued to press in the second half, but Liverpool dug in to see out the win, with goalkeeper Alisson standing firm when called upon. The Brazilian made more saves at Turf Moor than in any other league match this season.

“It was so difficult to play here, but today especially because of the circumstances,” Klopp said. “The wind came from all directions and the boys had to play superbly to judge that. Burnley had their moments but Alisson was there.

“Next game is Leeds who are in a fight for survival as well. These are really difficult and that is why we don’t think about it (the title race)”

Burnley remain rooted to the bottom of the table on 14 points, now seven points from safety after 17th-placed Newcastle beat Villa at St James’ Park.

Kieran Trippier’s deflected free-kick was enough for Eddie Howe’s side to earn their third league win in a row.

SPURS’ STRUGGLES CONTINUE

Having lost their previous two league games before Wolves’ visit to North London, Antonio Conte’s Spurs needed to get back to winning ways if they were to keep pace with their rivals in the race for a top-four finish.

Spurs were up against from early in the game, with Raul Jimenez volleying Wolves into the lead inside six minutes.

Things quickly went from bad to worse as Leander Dendoncker doubled Wolves’ lead in the 19th minute.

Tottenham improved in the second half but the closest they came was a deflected Harry Winks shot against the post, allowing Wolves to leapfrog the London club into seventh place with 37 points, only four behind fourth-placed West Ham.

“We created many chances to score and we had the possession, but for sure it is very difficult to explain the way we started — I think the two goals are very difficult to comment (on),” Conte said. “In the end we are talking about another defeat.”

It is the first time Conte has lost three league games in a row since his days managing Atalanta in November 2009.

The major talking point of West Ham’s trip to Leicester occurred before the match, with Kurt Zouma named in the visitors’ starting XI despite widespread condemnation over a video on social media this week, in which the defender was seen abusing his pet cats, only for him to pull out in the pre-match warm-up.

Jarrod Bowen fired West Ham into a 10th minute lead, but goals from Youri Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira turned the match on its head and put Leicester on course for a first win in five games in all competitions.

Dawson, however, had the final say as he salvaged the draw West Ham from a corner in the 91st minute, moving his side onto 41 points from 25 matches, a point above Manchester United in fifth.

 

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