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City eye fourth successive title after rout of Fulham, Burnley relegated

City eye fourth successive title after rout of Fulham, Burnley relegated

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Resurgent Chelsea boosted their European hopes with a 3-2 victory at Nottingham Forest

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LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City took another decisive step toward an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title with a 4-0 demolition of Fulham on Saturday that lifted them two points clear of Arsenal on top of the table with one week remaining.

Burnley were relegated after a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, while Luton Town are on the brink of going down after a 3-1 defeat at West Ham United.

Resurgent Chelsea boosted their European hopes with a 3-2 victory at Nottingham Forest to move level with a sixth-placed Newcastle United who drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Defeat for Forest meant they could still mathematically finish below Luton although they head to the final day three points better off and with a big goal difference advantage.

Josko Gvardiol scored twice with Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez also on target as City won a seventh successive league game to hit the top of the table with two games left to play.

Pep Guardiola's men have 85 points from 36 games, with Arsenal on 83 from 36. Arsenal can regain top spot by beating Manchester United on Sunday but should they fail to do so, City can win the title with victory at Tottenham on Tuesday.

"The great players enjoy playing with great pressure," Guardiola said. "These players in the last few years have been able to do it and we are again in the latter stages.

"Our dream is, as we said a few weeks ago when they (Arsenal) lost against Aston Villa, to arrive in the last games with it in our hands, to play West Ham at home (season-finale on May 19) with the destiny belonging to us."

City made it 16 successive wins against Fulham in all competitions – an English record for one club against another – with a ruthless display in the Craven Cottage sunshine.

Gvardiol slotted City in front in the 13th minute and Foden doubled their lead in the 59th minute. Gvardiol then slid in to touch home Bernardo Silva's cross and Alvarez rounded it off with a stoppage-time penalty as City's fans, including former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, celebrated what could be a pivotal win.

City are now 21 games unbeaten in the league and will win the title with victories against Tottenham and West Ham, irrespective of how Arsenal fare in their last two games.

BURNLEY RELEGATED

Tottenham's victory kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League and put 19th-placed Burnley down.

Jacob Bruun Larsen put Burnley ahead but Pedro Porro equalised just after the half-hour mark and Micky van de Ven netted the winner in the 82nd minute.

"Today the Premier League is over but tomorrow we start day one of doing everything we can to get back to the Premier League," manager Vincent Kompany said.

Like Burnley, Luton also took the lead at West Ham when Albert Sambi Lokonga scored in the sixth minute and victory would have sent them in to the last weekend with genuine hope.

But West Ham, in the final home game for David Moyes, hit back in the second half with goals by James Ward-Prowse, Tomas Soucek and substitute George Earthy.

Luton could still match Forest's points total of 29 but their goal difference is worse by 12.

Forest could have made 100 per cent sure of survival by avoiding defeat at home to Chelsea and looked on course for a win when goals by Willy Boly and Callum Hudson-Odoi put them 2-1 ahead after Mykhailo Mudryk had put the visitors in front.

But substitute Raheem Sterling equalised before Nicolas Jackson struck a late winner.

Chelsea's third successive win means they have 57 points from 36 games, the same as sixth-placed Newcastle who have a better goal difference.

Newcastle fell behind to Brighton for whom Joel Veltman scored but Sean Longstaff's equaliser in first-half stoppage time proved enough for Eddie Howe's side to draw their final home game.

Brentford won 2-1 at Bournemouth thanks to a late goal by Yoane Wissa while Everton signed off at home with a 1-0 defeat of bottom club Sheffield United.

Strikes from Michael Olise, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Eberechi Eze earned Crystal Palace a 3-1 victory at Wolverhamton Wanderers – their fifth win in six league games moving them above Wolves into 12th in the table.