Manchester City a step closer to Premier League crown

Pep Guardiola’s men can wrap up the title if they win at Crystal Palace on May 1 and United loses to Liverpool.

Timo Werner ended his 15-game goal drought across competitions to lead Chelsea to a 1-0 win over West Ham United.   -  AP

Manchester City edged closer to the English Premier League title as second-placed Manchester United dropped points away to Leeds United on April 25. City, which leads by 10 points, can wrap up the title if it wins at Crystal Palace on May 1 and United loses to Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s men will have the chance to clinch two titles inside a week as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to win the League Cup on April 25.

Elsewhere, Timo Werner ended his 15-game goal drought across competitions to lead Chelsea to a 1-0 win over West Ham United. The victory, which extends Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten away run to 10 games across competitions, saw fourth-placed Chelsea open up a three-point lead over West Ham.

Leicester City earned a comfortable 3-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion to remain third, while defending champion Liverpool’s quest for a Champions League berth suffered a dent as it drew 1-1 with Newcastle United to stay in sixth.

Everton further solidified its chances of playing in the Europa League next season as it beat Arsenal. The eighth-placed Toffees, who have a game in hand, could potentially leapfrog Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to sixth place.

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La Liga

The La Liga title race saw another dramatic twist in the last fortnight. Real Madrid was in the driver’s seat after its El Clasico win over Barcelona, which pushed the Blaugrana to third. But Madrid’s goalless draws against Getafe and Real Betis allowed neighbour Atletico Madrid to return to the top of the table with wins over Eibar and Huesca.

Barcelona bounced back from the Clasico defeat with Lionel Messi steering the club to three successive wins. Atleti then succumbed to a late defeat to Athletic Bilbao, which has now put Barca, which remains third with a game in hand, in control of its own destiny in its quest for the title. With seven wins in eight matches, fourth-placed Sevilla has kept itself just three points adrift off the top and has thrown itself in the mix as well. The scenario has set up potential title deciders in the second week of May when Barca hosts Atleti and Madrid faces Sevilla.

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In the bottom half, Eibar may have run out of miracles as its fairytale six-season run in the top division looks to come to an end. With six games left, Los Armeros remain seven points from safety.

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich will now have to wait until May 8 to lift its 31st Bundesliga title. The Bavarians blew their first chance to seal the title as they were stunned 2-1 by Mainz 05 on April 25. However, there was something to cheer for Hansi Flick’s side as star striker Robert Lewandowski returned from a month-long injury layoff and scored his 36th goal of the season. The Pole, who was named the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2020, is in pursuit of Gerd Mueller’s all-time Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season, which was set in 1971-72.

Second-placed RB Leipzig returned to winning ways as it beat 10-man VfB Stuttgart 2-0 to cut Bayern’s lead to seven points.

Erling Haaland continued his rich goal-scoring form as he netted twice in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg.   -  AP

 

Erling Haaland continued his rich goal-scoring form as he netted twice in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg. The Norwegian striker has scored 38 goals in his first 41 Bundesliga matches, a run matched only by Uwe Seeler back in the 1950s. Dortmund, currently fifth, trails fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt by a sole point.

Serie A

Right-back Matteo Darmian’s low angled shot in the 76th minute against Hellas Verona, assisted by Achraf Hakimi, proved to be enough for Inter Milan to cement its position at the top of the table with 70 points, 13 clear of rival AC Milan. Dark horse Atalanta overpowered Bologna with a 5-0 victory as Gian Piero Gasperini’s men sit on second in the table with 68 points, two ahead of Milan, which has a game in hand.

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Juventus’ woeful season continued as it only managed a draw against relegation-threatened Fiorentina. Andrea Pirlo’s men find themselves in fourth with 66 points, with Napoli breathing down their neck on 63 points but having played a game less.

There was surprise in the bottom half of the table as Cagliari stunned Roma 3-2 to move out of the relegation zone. Cagliari with 31 is equal on points with Benevento, which makes their upcoming clash in two weeks a mouthwatering fixture.