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Man City move 11 points clear, Spurs close on top four

London (AFP) – Manchester City took another giant stride towards retaining the Premier League title with a controversial 2-1 win at 10-man Arsenal, as Tottenham also needed a late winner to see off lowly Watford 1-0.

City are now 11 points clear of Chelsea and 12 ahead of Liverpool, who face off on Sunday with precious little more room for error if they are to mount a title challenge despite having games in hand.

Liverpool will have to cope without manager Jurgen Klopp at Stamford Bridge after he returned a suspective positive test for coronavirus.

The Reds have also suffered three other positive cases among Klopp’s backroom staff and will be missing three unnamed players due to the virus.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was also absent from the dugout after testing positive for Covid-19 for the second time earlier this week.

But that had little impact on his side’s performance as the Gunners’ continued their impressive form by pinning the champions back for the first 45 minutes.

Arsenal took the lead when Bukayo Saka swept home Kieran Tierney’s pass, but felt they should have had more of a half-time advantage as Martin Odegaard was denied a penalty for a trip by Ederson.

The home side’s frustration at the officials boiled over after half-time as City were awarded a penalty after a VAR review for Granit Xhaka’s pull on Bernardo Silva, which Riyad Mahrez converted.

Gabriel Martinelli then missed an open goal with the chance to restore Arsenal’s lead and seconds later Gabriel Magalhaes was sent-off for two rapid yellow cards.

The 10 men nearly held out for a precious point, but City grabbed an 11th consecutive league win deep into stoppage time when Rodri poked home from close range.

“We saw our champions personality to go again,” said Rodri.

“You have to push always no matter what happens. We didn’t do a great game, but we push, we never drop and we always thought it was possible.”

– Sanchez saves Spurs –

Arsenal’s lead over the chasing pack for a place in next season’s Champions League is down to two points as Davinson Sanchez struck in stoppage time to save Spurs’ blushes at Vicarage Road.

Watford have now lost their last six games stretching back to November, but looked like holding out for a first clean sheet in the league this season till the Colombian flicked in Son Heung-min’s free-kick in the 96th minute.

West Ham can move to within a point of Arsenal and back above Tottenham into fifth if they win Saturday’s late game at Crystal Palace.

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  1. Vasil

    January 3, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    I do not know what VAR told the referee in the Arsenal penalty case and in the MC penalty case. The referee can not reverse his decision for one case by looking again and not looking for the other case. It should have been consistent: either by looking at both or by not looking again at any one of them no matter what VAR suggested.
    Probably in the games between the top four, top referees should be appointed.

  2. Nosferatu

    January 3, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    The thing people rarely actually took into account when they were excited about VAR fixing some of the poor officiating is that it would be the same clowns in the VAR booth making the same nonsensical, illogical decisions. VAR has just given them a new avenue for screwing up–and still with no accountability.

  3. Vasil

    January 2, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Yes, it was as you wrote a controversial win due to an incapable referee or a biased referee., or a non-consistent referee, you name it. The referees are making EPL less attractive due to an unfair help to Man City. MC got 6 undeserved points in the last two games. One offside goal in the previous game and one nonexistent penalty in this one. This has to stop if we want to watch a beautiful EPL.

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