EPL PIX: City four points clear at top; Chelsea finally win!

Images from the English Premier League matches on Saturday.

Hard-charging Manchester City went four points clear of Arsenal at the top the Premier League on Saturday, beating Leeds United 2-1 with a pair of near-identical goals from Ilkay Gundogan, stretching their winning league run to 10 games.

City’s prolific striker Erling Haaland graciously handed the ball to Gundogan to take a penalty kick in the 84th minute for what would have been a hat trick, but Leeds keeper Joel Robles had no trouble turning aside his shot.

City had run circles around Leeds with numerous excellent scoring chances before Gundogan struck in the 19th minute from the edge of the 18-yard box off a pass from Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez teed up Gundogan again eight minutes later in a carbon copy of his first goal.

Rodrigo Moreno pulled one back for Leeds in the 85th minute.

With four games left, Pep Guardiola’s side have 82 points to Arsenal’s 78, and if the Gunners lose to Newcastle on Sunday, City will have all but locked up an illustrious third consecutive title.

Leeds, playing their first game under interim manager Sam Allardyce who was parachuted in in a last-ditch effort to avoid relegation, are teetering in 17th place – and all three teams below them have a game in hand.

Despite numerous scoring chances, and with the Etihad Stadium crowd cheering him on, Haaland was unable to extend the Premier League single-season record of 35 goals he set on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Norwegian, who is running roughshod over the record books in his debut Premier League season, could have had at least a couple of goals on Saturday, clanging one shot off the crossbar, another off the post, and narrowly missing a couple of others that left him shaking his head in frustration.

Treble-chasing Manchester City, who play Real Madrid on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, are unbeaten in 20 games through all competitions.

The odds were stacked against Leeds, who have been in freefall for weeks and have the leakiest defence in the top flight, with 69 goals conceded in 35 games.

Chelsea stop the rot with first win under Lampard

Chelsea claimed their first win under interim manager Frank Lampard with a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday to snap a nine-match winless run in all competitions.

Late goals from Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix helped Chelsea move up to 11th with 42 points while Bournemouth slipped to 14th, three points behind the London side having played a game more.

It was a welcome win for Lampard who had lost his first five games in charge during his second stint while it was also Chelsea’s first win since early March.

“It feels great, we just wanted to put in a performance today. We haven’t been good enough recently so this was an important game for us. I think we performed well and deserved the win,” Conor Gallagher told Premier League Productions.

“Hopefully we can move forward and take confidence from it. It felt much better, everyone seemed more confident and we controlled the game. It was a good team performance and we just need to carry it on now.”

Bournemouth had two opportunities to take the lead in the first five minutes but the Chelsea defence stood firm before Gallagher scored with a well-timed run and header to give the visitors the lead.

But Chelsea were pegged back when Bournemouth played a delightful sequence of one-touch passes for Ryan Christie to set up Matias Vina, who curled his shot from the edge of the box past Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the top corner.

With Chelsea dominating early in the second half, Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke went down in the box after a challenge from Thiago Silva but they were denied a penalty after VAR ruled the Brazilian got the ball first.

The decision not to award a penalty seemed to galvanise the home side who forced Kepa into a save moments later from another flowing move while an unmarked Dango Ouattara saw his header from a corner go over the bar.

But in the 82nd minute, Chelsea capitalised on Bournemouth’s weakness on set-pieces this season when Hakim Ziyech delivered the ball from a free kick to the far post where Badiashile beat Neto to score his first goal for the club.

That gave Chelsea a lift and they quickly made it 3-1 to seal the three points when Raheem Sterling went on a driving run into the box before poking the ball to fellow substitute Felix who finished with ease.

Kane grabs winner as Tottenham edge Palace

Harry Kane moved up to second place in the all-time Premier League goalscorers list as he helped ailing Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, securing their first victory in five games.

Kane headed Tottenham in front in first-half injury time to score his 209th Premier League goal, one more than Wayne Rooney but still some way behind record-holder Alan Shearer’s tally of 260.   

Tottenham’s victory lifted them to sixth in the table with 57 points from 35 games. They are six points behind fourth-placed Manchester United who occupy the last of the Champions League qualification places having played two games more. Palace are in 12th with 40 points.

Tottenham had conceded 15 goals in their previous four games, but there was no danger of that in a flat opening period from both sides that was lacking in clear-cut chances until it sprung to life in injury-time.

Club captain Kane started the move that led to the winning goal as he sent the ball out wide to Pedro Porro in acres of space on the right wing and the Spaniard then sent a cross to the back post, leaving the striker to head the ball in.

“It was tough but really important to get the three points and a clean sheet,” Kane told reporters. “Palace are in a good vein of form, so we knew it would be difficult.

“Scoring just on halftime helped and we defended well in the second (period). So overall, a good three points.”

Tottenham hit the crossbar before their goal from a Cristian Romero header and dominated the second half in terms of possession, as Son Heung-min wasted a superb chance to make it 2-0 but could not beat Sam Johnstone in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Kane scored twice in Tottenham’s 4-0 win at Selhurst Park earlier in the season but had a quiet afternoon bar his goal, with his other major contribution a scrambled clearance in his own box late on.

Johnstone made a smart save to beat away Porro’s deflected effort, but too often the home side were wasteful in the Palace half as the final pass, cross or shot was wayward and promising positions led to nothing.

“We know how good he (Kane) is in the air and he showed it again. His moment of brilliance won the game,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who gave Kane his England debut in 2015, told the BBC.

“He’s a fine player. What he has done for this club has been enormous. Since he made his debut for England when we were with the England team he has gone from strength to strength.

“He is still a young man and I’m pretty certain Alan (Shearer) needs to be concerned because Harry will be breathing down his neck.”

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