Ilkay Gundogan helped himself to a superb double as Manchester City edged closer to a fifth Premier League title in six seasons with a 3-0 win at Everton.
As a result of their victory on Merseyside and Arsenal’s 3-0 home defeat by Brighton, a maximum of three more points from their remaining three matches, the first of them at home to Chelsea next Sunday, will secure the trophy once again.
Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s men could be crowned champions on Saturday evening should the Gunners lose at Nottingham Forest, and even a draw at the City Ground would effectively end the race as a result of City’s superior goal difference after a straightforward afternoon at Goodison Park.
Gundogan took his tally to four in two matches with an expertly-executed over-the-shoulder volley and an exquisite curling free-kick.
In between, Erling Haaland scored his almost mandatory goal to make it 52 for the season, with former Everton centre-forward Dixie Dean’s record of 63 still realistically within his reach.
Arsenal, however, could not follow suit in a game boss Mikel Arteta admitted before kick-off was a must-win affair as second-half goals by Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan earned Brighton a stunning win at the Emirates Stadium.
After a keenly-contested first half, Arsenal fell behind to Enciso’s 51st-minute header and, as they desperately sought a way back into the game, the hosts were picked off by Undav and then Estupinan in a devastating display by the visitors, who are themselves on the brink of qualifying for Europe for the first time.
David Moyes made nine changes ahead of Thursday night’s Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against AZ Alkmaar but saw his side come up short against a Bees line-up deprived of the services of 20-goal striker Ivan Toney by injury, with Mbeumo and Wissa both scoring before half-time.
Danny Ings thought he had reduced the deficit after the break, but his tap-in was controversially disallowed for handball by Divin Mubama following a VAR review.