Man City close in on Premier League coronation, Chelsea end losing streak
LONDON, United Kingdom, (AFP) – Manchester City moved a step closer to being crowned Premier League champions with a 2-1 win against Leeds on Saturday as Chelsea finally won for the first time under caretaker boss Frank Lampard.
Just hours after the pomp and ceremony of the coronation of King Charles III in London’s Westminster Abbey, City underlined their desire to extend their own reign as they chase a fifth Premier League title in six seasons.
Ilkay Gundogan scored City’s goals in the first half, before missing a late penalty that set up a tense finale when Rodrigo got one back for Leeds.
City held on to climb four points clear of second placed Arsenal.
In tribute to the King, the national anthem was played before kick-off at all four afternoon Premier League games.
But it is Pep Guardiola who lords it over the Premier League and the City boss is on the brink of a leading his team to a third successive title.
Arsenal can close the gap on City to one point if they win their tricky trip to third placed Newcastle on Sunday.
However, Guardiola’s men will have a game in hand on Arsenal after that fixture and need three wins from their last four matches to be certain of retaining the title.
Relentless City have won their last 10 league games and are unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions.
Defeat in Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge left Leeds one place above the relegation zone on goal difference.
With Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Real Madrid on Tuesday in mind, Guardiola made seven changes to his starting line-up.
City went ahead in the 19th minute after pinning Leeds deep inside their own half in a blistering start.
Riyad Mahrez was the catalyst with an incisive pass that picked out Gundogan and the German midfielder netted with a fine low finish from just inside the penalty area.
It was the same pair at the heart of City’s second goal eight minutes later.
Mahrez cut his pass back to Gundogan, who took a touch before sweeping a clinical strike into the far corner from 20 yards.
After Gundogan hit the post with a penalty awarded for Pascal Struijk’s foul on Phil Foden, Guardiola was furious that Erling Haaland did not take the spot-kick.
Guardiola’s angst grew when Rodrigo punished a mistake from Manuel Akanji to slot home in the 85th minute, but Leeds couldn’t complete the comeback.
– Chelsea end losing streak –
Chelsea won for first time in Lampard’s second spell in charge, beating Bournemouth 3-1 to end a six-match losing streak.
Conor Gallagher headed Chelsea into a ninth minute lead, diverting N’Golo Kante’s cross beyond Neto.
Chelsea’s fans responded with ironic chants of ‘we are staying up’ in reference to their unusually low league position.