Manchester City hurdled its last big obstacle en route to the English Premier League title by winning 3-2 at Everton, while heavy defeats condemned Fulham and Cardiff to relegation on Saturday.
home wins, against Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham on Sunday,
separate City from a second championship in three years after coming
from behind to win at Goodison Park — a stadium where it has
traditionally struggled with just one victory from its last 15 visits.
Aguero's goal cancelled out Ross Barkley's brilliant 11th-minute opener
for Everton, then Edin Dzeko scored twice in a five-minute span
bridging halftime to help City go top — for a day at least — on goal
difference from Liverpool, and two points clear of Chelsea.
All three teams have two games left, with Chelsea playing Norwich on Sunday and Liverpool at Crystal Palace on Monday.
points is a huge step for us," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said.
"It's a decisive moment, but we haven't finished yet."
City a scare by limping off in the 28th minute — soon after scoring his
equalizer — but said on Twitter that he came off as a precaution and he
Everton's defeat dealt a major blow to the title
hopes of neighbor Liverpool, and ensured Arsenal clinched fourth spot
and Champions League qualification for the 17th straight season.
Sunderland's surprise 1-0 win at Manchester United pulled the team
three points clear of third-from-bottom Norwich, gave interim United
manager Ryan Giggs a reality check, and also consigned Fulham and
Cardiff to the second tier.
Fulham lost 4-1 at Stoke, and Cardiff
was defeated 3-0 at Newcastle, leaving both sides unable to climb out of
the relegation zone.
"I have to apologize for not managing the
situation. The club asked me to come — I tried," said Fulham manager
Felix Magath, who was hired in February in an attempt to keep the club
in the top division for a 14th straight season. "You can never say any
player would like to see relegation, but they didn't fight enough,
Cardiff goes down after spending just one year
in the Premier League, having also changed managers midway through the
season in a bid to prevent the drop.
"I knew what I was coming
into," Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "I didn't make the
impact I hoped for and I believed in."
Sunderland has taken seven
points from trips to Man City, Chelsea and United in the past three
weeks, with Sebastian Larsson's 30th-minute goal clinching a first
league victory at Old Trafford since 1968.
United turned in a
performance reminiscent of David Moyes' woeful 10-month tenure that was
brought to an end last month, puncturing the optimism created by the
team's 4-0 win over Norwich last Saturday in Giggs' first match in
"I feel flat," Giggs said. "The players were flat
and I don't know why. . We were putting five- or 10-yard passes astray
and if you do that in the Premier League you get punished. We've had a
problem at home all season — it's not been good enough."
out of contention to qualify for the Champions League, United is also
struggling to make the Europa League as it is six points behind
sixth-place Tottenham, which lost 2-0 at West Ham.
Spurs went down
to 10 men in the 25th minute when Younes Kaboul was given a straight
red card for a professional foul, before an own goal by Harry Kane and
Stewart Downing's free kick secured a victory that preserved West Ham's
Premier League status for another season.
Aston Villa moved six
points clear of Norwich after beating Hull 3-1 thanks to Ashley
Westwood's goal after 58 seconds and a pair of headers from Andreas
Weimann just before halftime.
Hull, a point behind Villa, was also
unlikely to be hauled in by Norwich but its three-game winless run
bodes ill for the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 17. Regardless of
that result, however, Hull will get the Europa League spot offered by
the FA Cup courtesy of Arsenal securing fourth place in the league.
Southampton beat Swansea 1-0 away thanks to Rickie Lambert's injury-time goal.