Wednesday 19 December, 2018

Understrength Man City rack up 6th straight win in EPL

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling controls the ball during the English Premier League football match against Bournemouth at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling controls the ball during the English Premier League football match against Bournemouth at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Even a subdued display by an understrength lineup didn't stop Manchester City racking up another win in the Premier League on Saturday.

And with Bournemouth the visitors to Etihad Stadium, it was no surprise to see Raheem Sterling on the scoresheet for the unbeaten leaders.

City won 3-1 for a sixth straight victory in the league to move five points clear, ramping up the pressure on second-place Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

City manager Pep Guardiola made five changes after his team's hard-fought midweek draw at Lyon in the Champions League and it showed in a lethargic display in a first half that ended with Bournemouth level at 1-1. City's only shot on target by that stage was Bernardo Silva's goal.

Only after Sterling put City in front in the 57th minute, scoring for the sixth straight game against Bournemouth, did the champions really start to exert any dominance. Ilkay Gundogan made sure of maximum points in the 79th.

City have won 12 of the first 14 games of their title defense and are still averaging more than three goals per game.

Manchester United were playing the late game at Southampton on a day dominated by matches between teams in the bottom half.

Crystal Palace ended an eight-game winless run in beating third-to-last Burnley 2-0 to move three points clear of the relegation zone.

Newcastle's three-match winning run was halted by a 3-0 home loss to West Ham, with Mexico striker Javier Hernandez scoring twice.

Brighton responded to conceding a goal after 55 seconds — the earliest strike in the Premier League this season — to win 2-1 at 10-man Huddersfield, and Leicester beat Watford 2-0.

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