De Bruyne lauds Man City's response to rare wobble after slaying Spurs

Toby Alderweireld on his first league start since October tries to tackle Jose Izquierdo

Just before the goal came up, the visitors had tried Spurs keeper a couple of times but Lloris had no problem dusting Kevin De Bruyne's effort just four minutes into the game.

One week ago, Manchester City looked destined to lock up the 2017-18 Premier League title in emphatic fashion, holding a 2-0 first half lead over rival United.

Sergio Aguero was pushed through the pain barrier in midweek against Liverpool, but that was with a Champions League semi-final place on the line.

"We congratulate them because they are very close to winning the Premier League and after 14 games unbeaten for us, today was a hard game to play".

John Moss pointed to the spot after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Hugo Lloris but the challenge appeared to come outside the box, with Ilkay Gundogan making no mistake from 12 yards. The title will be theirs if Manchester United loses to West Brom on Sunday.

As the half wore down, Spurs slightly improved and pulled a fortuitous goal back three minutes before the break when Aymeric Laporte's attempted clearance cannoned off the shins of Christian Eriksen and into the corner of the net.

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But the Catalan produced the ideal counter by introducing Nicolas Otamendi as a second half substitute to tighten up the City defence. Exclaimed manager Jurgen Klopp on hearing Salah is the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush 31 years ago to score 40 in a season.

Heads did not clear in the home defence and, after Jesus failed to capitalise on the referee's advantage with a second goal, play was brought back for Lloris's indiscretion.

Having been awarded a 25th goal of the season on appeal, Harry Kane will be looking to close on Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot. That, and the fact that they overcame the setback of those losses, and put themselves in position to clinch the league easily, bodes well for their future as a team, and shows Pep Guardiola has them making great strides in the right direction and that they would be the team to beat in the Premier League and one of the best in Europe next season as well. Though the foul was right on the edge of the box, the referee pointed to the spot and Gündogan hit a ideal penalty kick to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute.

"As long as it is mathematically possible we will believe we can reach the top four", said Giroud.

To make matters worse for Saints, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace secured vital wins later in the day to leave Southampton five points adrift of safety with just five games left to save themselves. The Citizens needed to eradicate these doubts, and they did, putting in a brilliant performance, that led to their comprehensive win.

City's 3-1 win means they can become champions against Swansea next week.

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