Premier League: Four-goal Jesus stretches Man City’s lead over title rival Liverpool
Four goals from Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus earned Manchester City a 5-1 win over relegation-threatened Watford on Saturday, a victory that moved Pep Guardiola’s side four points clear at the top of the Premier League standings.
With title rival Liverpool not in action until Sunday against Everton, City was the overwhelming favourite to put Watford to the sword at the Etihad Stadium, with a double from Jesus’ edging them 2-0 in front inside 24 minutes.
Watford then briefly threatened to make a game of it as French defender Hassane Kamara’s first goal in English football five minutes later brought the visitors to within one of City.
However, a stunning strike from Spain international Rodri restored City’s two-goal advantage in the 34th minute before Jesus completed his first Premier League hat-trick early in the second half after converting from the penalty spot.
AS IT HAPPENED:
Man City 5-1 Watford Highlights: Jesus’ four goals cements City on top of Premier League
Not done there, the 25-year-old tapped home his fourth in the 53rd minute to complete the rout. City took their foot off the gas from there on in, with Tuesday’s Champions League semi final first-leg against Real Madrid in mind.
The comprehensive victory moved champions City on to 80 points from 33 matches played, four clear of Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby, while Watford head towards relegation, sitting 19th seven points from safety.
The visitors would have been fearing the worst on their trip north. Guardiola had won all 10 of his previous meetings with Watford in all competitions, and by an aggregate score of 42-4, before Saturday’s clash.
It did not take long for City to get on the scoresheet once again in the Etihad sunshine, as Jesus, who was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in the British media this week, reminded Guardiola of what he could do with a poacher’s finish just four minutes in.
City had more than 83 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes as they controlled proceedings, adding a second through Jesus again, on the end of a sumptuous cross from Kevin De Bruyne.
Kamara’s drilled finish offered Watford only a brief reprieve, from what was their own meaningful attempt on goal all match, with Rodri drawing gasps from all around as he rifled his fourth league goal of the season past helpless Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.
There was no slacking off from City, as just 15 seconds into the second half Jesus was fouled by Foster in the area before, after a lengthy VAR check, getting up to slot home from the penalty spot to complete his treble.
A familiar source created the fifth and final goal for City as De Bruyne laid the ball across for Jesus to cap a memorable afternoon for the Brazilian.
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Leicester held to goalless draw by Aston Villa
A below-par Leicester City played out a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa at home in the Premier League on Saturday, a result that ended a four-match losing streak for Steven Gerrard’s visiting side.
Leicester looked more likely to open the scoring in the early stages but fashioned few clear openings, with James Maddison’s curling freekick the Foxes’ best effort in an uninspiring first half from both sides.
Villa showed more adventure after the break as Ollie Watkins proved to be a constant threat with his darting runs beyond the Leicester backline but the visitors failed to trouble Kasper Schmeichel in goal.
Leicester sent on Jamie Vardy for Patson Daka in the 71st minute for his first appearance since early March but the striker barely made an impression as Villa held out for a point to move a step closer to safety.
Leicester are 10th in the standings on 42 points, while Villa are 15th, nine points clear of the relegation zone.
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Samba style propels Newcastle to 3-0 win over Norwich
Newcastle United’s Brazilian contingent sprung to the fore as Joelinton scored a brace and Bruno Guimaraes netted one more in an emphatic 3-0 Premier League victory over struggling Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The win moves Newcastle into the top half of the table and is another sign of their rapid improvement under manager Eddie Howe, who steered the side to their first league victory at Norwich in 28 years.
But their hosts slipped closer to relegation to the Championship and are now eight points from safety with five matches left to play.
After a bright start in which forward Teemu Pukki should have given them the lead, they capitulated with three pieces of poor defending.
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Joelinton opened the scoring on 35 minutes with his first goal since February as Norwich failed to clear a low pass across the box, leaving the midfielder to sweep the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards.
His second was a much simpler finish as Jacob Murphy burst into the Norwich box under little pressure and passed the ball to the back post for the Brazilian to tap in.
Any hopes of a home comeback were doused early in the second half as the home side were again their own worst enemies. Goalkeeper Tim Krul played a poor pass out of defence that was intercepted by Guimaraes, who chipped the ball back over the gloveman in style.