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Man City crush Crystal Palace; Man U draw at Liverpool

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City Manager

Manchester (UK), Jan. 17, 2021

Manchester City stormed into second place in the English Premier League (EPL) with defender John Stones scoring an unlikely double in a 4-0 demolition of visiting Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Stones, closing in on 100 Premier League appearances for Manchester City, headed his first league goal for the club after a sublime cross by Kevin de Bruyne in the 26th minute.

Ilkay Gundogan curled in a delightful second goal 11 minutes after the interval, before Stones was in the right place to fire home a loose ball with his left foot in the 68th minute.

Raheem Stirling crowned a superb second half Manchester City display with an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner late on.

The earlier draw between leaders Manchester United and champions Liverpool was a pre-match boost for Pep Guardiola’s side.

They capitalised with a fifth successive league win to move within two points of Manchester United and with a game in hand.

They have 35 points from 17 games and are ahead of Leicester City on goal difference, with Liverpool fourth on 34 points.

Crystal Palace remain in 13th place on 23 from 19 matches.

Manchester United held on to top spot in the ongoing 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) after a 0-0 draw at champions Liverpool on Sunday.

Alisson made two good saves for Liverpool while Thiago and Roberto Firmino went close for the hosts as Manchester United remained top, two points clear of Leicester and three ahead of Liverpool.

Manchester City became second after beating Crystal Palace 4-0 in the day’s late match.

Tottenham Hotspur are fourth after a 3-1 win at bottom side Sheffield United.

Victory for Liverpool would have taken them back to the top.

With Joel Matip not fit to return, Juergen Klopp played midfielder Jordan Henderson in the centre of defence and he and Fabinho kept Marcus Rashford largely at bay.

Firmino had a couple of half chances as Liverpool were the better side in the opening 45 minutes.

The second half was more open and Alisson saved well from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba late on.

At the other end, Liverpool failed to score for the third game in a row.

Earlier, Tottenham moved back into the top four, thanks to a comfortable win.

Serge Aurier, Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele, with a stunning third goal, secured victory for Jose Mourinho’s side, after David McGoldrick had given Sheffield United hope.

They remain bottom with just five points from 19 games, 11 points from safety at the halfway point in the season.

“Fantastic performance from everyone today – started really well, aggressive with our press and were clinical to go 2-0 up,” Tottenham striker Kane said.

“Even in the second half, when they scored, we didn’t panic. Tanguy scored a fantastic goal and we saw the game out well, which we haven’t done in the past few weeks.”

Ndombele’s goal was the pick of the four, flicking the ball over the goalkeeper with the outside of his foot from the corner of the penalty area.

“Tanguy’s goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the goalkeeper was truly special,” Kane said.

“There were a couple of chances I could have done better with, the most important thing is winning games.”

McGoldrick said Sheffield United would continue to fight.

“We knew at half time we had to come out. We thought we had a bit of momentum and conceded a sloppy goal. From there they saw the game out,” he said.

“We took a backward step today, but there are a lot of games to go, we have to go again. We aren’t throwing in the towel, we keep on going.”

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