Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Man City increase lead in EPL race

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Manchester City's Jamaica-born forward Raheem Sterling (left) and Tottenham's Danny Rose battle for the ball during the English Premier League match at the Etihad stadium yesterday. Sterling scored twice in Manchester City's 4-1 win.

MANCHESTER, England (AP):

Raheem Sterling scored twice as Manchester City swept to a 4-1 victory over Tottenham yesterday that sent the runaway Premier League leaders 14 points clear and exacerbated the London club's domestic decline.

A 16th successive victory - extending the English top-flight record - was delivered with a typically electrifying display from Pep Guardiola's team while overcoming rough treatment by the visitors.

Kevin De Bruyne was kicked around the pitch, but City's creative spark was not impeded. The Belgian doubled the lead in the 70th minute - building on Ilkay Gundogan's first-half header - and he started the counterattack that led to the first of Sterling's two goals.

"Everybody who comes in, even Ilkay, who didn't play a lot, is doing an incredible job," De Bruyne said. "We had an incredible game."

Sterling compounded Tottenham's misery in the 90th minute when he rounded goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to tap in the fourth.

"If you provide a lot of space," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said, " ... they have unbelievable quality on the transition."

HUMILIATING

Christian Eriksen scored a stoppage-time consolation, but this was humiliating for a Tottenham side that beat European champion Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage.

Having finished above City in the previous two seasons, last season's Premier League runners-up are now in seventh place. Before the season has even reached its halfway point, Tottenham are 21 points behind City and are closer in points to the relegation zone than the summit.

"It was solid, it was good against a team demanding to be so intense without the ball because they play so good," Guardiola said. "We've beaten one of the strongest teams in the Premier League."

One, though, that struggles against leading teams. Pochettino has only one win in 18 games against the teams who finished alongside Spurs in the top six last season. That success on the road came at City in February 2016. There was little prospect of a repeat yesterday. Not when the gulf between these sides has grown so considerably, and goals are gifted so easily as the opener.

Tottenham had only been spared by Sergio Aguero's inability to direct a header on target when Gundogan was left unmarked to drift into the penalty area to meet Leroy Sane's corner in the 14th minute.

"We were not only poor, but the way we conceded the first goal was a massive mistake for us," Pochettino said.

Tottenham's inability to contain City was highlighted by the way De Bruyne waltzed around Dele Alli, who was struggling on his recall to the team and appeared irritated.

Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal limited the damage, twice blocking shots from Aguero.

Other results: Leicester 0 Crystal Palace 3; Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0; Brighton 0 Burnley 0; Chelsea 1 Southampton 0; Watford 1 Huddrsfield 4; Stoke 0 West ham 3.