Thursday, February 29, 2024

Manchester City consolidate EPL lead


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MANCHESTER, Jan 31: A last-minute consolation and a bundled effort from a long throw-in are the only goals Manchester City has conceded in nine games across all competitions in 2021.
Pep Guardiola, one of the most attack-minded coaches in soccer history, has constructed a virtually impenetrable defensive unit in his fifth season at City and it is providing the platform for the team’s latest run at the Premier League title.
City’s lead grew to three points on Saturday after its battling 1-0 win over last-place Sheffield United.
That’s five straight shutouts for City in the league.
Indeed, since a 5-2 loss to Leicester in City’s second league game the team has kept 20 clean sheets in 29 games in all competitions, conceding just 10 goals.
On a day when Guardiola rotated his lineup and City’s attack was never at its free-flowing best, a close-range effort from Gabriel Jesus in the ninth minute was enough to earn an eighth straight league win and see off a hard-working Sheffield United side looking far from the worst side in the division.
City’s defense, marshalled by the excellent Ruben Dias, was barely troubled. When is it ever these days?
City’s 13 goals conceded is by far the fewest in the league heading into the second half of the campaign. Tottenham and Arsenal are tied for the next best record, with 20.
United slip-up
Manchester United lost vital ground in the title race after drawing 0-0 against Arsenal in the Premier League.
United had a string of clear chances throughout the match, but the visitors couldn’t convert and grab the three points on Saturday.
Instead, the Red Devils dropped two and remained in second place with 41 points, three behind rival Manchester City — which has a game in hand — at the top.
Slumping Saints
After a strong start to the season, Southampton is slipping down the standings and lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa to make it three defeats in a row.
Ross Barkley scored the first-half winner by heading in a cross from Jack Grealish.
Southampton were denied two opportunities to score when VAR ruled against them on both occasions.
Blues win
Thomas Tuchel secured his first win as Chelsea manager as his team beat Burnley 2-0 in the Premier League thanks to goals by Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso on Sunday.
After beginning his tenure with a draw 0-0 against Wolvesrhampton, Tuchel again saw his Chelsea players dominate possession against another team that struggles to score goals. (AP)


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