Man City surges clear of United but EPL title race wide open
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 12, 2018 07:05 AM
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
By Rob Harris, Associated Press
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — However strong Manchester City looks in its title defense, Pep Guardiola's leaders are facing more competition than anticipated in the Premier League.
It's not coming from Manchester United, which was beaten 3-1 by City in the derby on Sunday and is 12 points adrift in eighth place.
For the first time in 130 years of the English top flight, three teams are unbeaten after 12 games. Liverpool remains two points behind City after beating Fulham 2-0 on Sunday and Chelsea is two points further back after being held 0-0 by Everton.
"When you win 100 points (last season) to win the Premier League, the people can start to think will we maintain our level," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "I'm so satisfied we maintained our level."
Tottenham is still in the title mix, too. Despite losing three games, the London club's best-ever Premier League start means it is only five points behind City in fourth.
"They have numbers to be champions, not just Man City," City manager Pep Guardiola said of Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham — and Arsenal.
Resurgent under new manager Unai Emery after opening with losses to City and Chelsea, Arsenal extended its unbeaten run to 16 games in all competitions after a late comeback to draw 1-1 on Sunday with Wolverhampton.
The tight tussle at the top does not bode well for United, which is even seven points from the fourth and final Champions League place after around a third of the season.
Sunday's derby loss highlighted just how far Jose Mourinho's team is from dethroning its neighbor as champions.
As United was run ragged, and unable to disrupt City's passing, David Silva swept the hosts in front in the 12th minute at the Etihad Stadium.
United's sloppiness — with Jesse Lingard conceding possession on the halfway line — set Sergio Aguero on the run for a move he completed with City's second three minutes into the second half.
Although Anthony Martial reduced the deficit from the penalty spot, City remained ruthless and Ilkay Gundogan smoothed Pep Guardiola's passage to victory by netting from Bernardo Silva's cross in the 86th.
Runner-up last season, United managed just one shot on target and is now languishing in eighth place. In a league it was accustomed to dominating until 2013, the 20-time English champions are now further behind City than at any time in the Premier League after 12 games.
In six league games at home, Mohamed Salah has now scored in five of them — with the only blank coming against City
The Egypt forward capitalized on some quick thinking for the latest. There were just 14 seconds between the flag being raised for offside, with Fulham having a goal ruled out, and Salah finding the net at the other end of the field.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson took a quick free kick to find right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who played in Salah to race in on goal and put the hosts ahead in the 41st minute. Salah now has 34 goals in 36 appearances at Anfield since joining Liverpool in the offseason of 2017.
Xherdan Shaqiri doubled Liverpool's lead in the 53rd minute, a cushioned volley into the corner from Andrew Robertson's deep cross, as last-place Fulham slumped to a seventh straight loss in all competitions.
ARSENAL LATE LEVELER
Having already drawn against the Manchester clubs, Wolves was heading toward their biggest win of their first season back in the top flight since 2012.
Ivan Cavaleiro's 13th-minute strike put Wolves ahead after capitalizing on a mistake by Granit Xhaka. But Henrikh Mkhitaryan inswinging cross went over everyone in the penalty area and ended up in the far corner of the net to rescue a point for Arsenal.
Despite Chelsea failing to score in a match at Stamford Bridge for the first time this season, the draw with Chelsea was still a landmark for Mauricio Sarri. The Italian has now gone 12 matches unbeaten — a record start for a new manager in the Premier League.
Marcos Alonso struck the post and a slew of saves from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford also frustrated Chelsea, which came into the game with the second-most goals in the league under Sarri.