Manchester City emerged from a trough of despair to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 and move to within three points of the Premier League title at Wembley on Saturday.
After they were beaten by arch-rivals Manchester United a week earlier from two goals up when victory would have crowned them kings of England, then knocked out of Europe by Liverpool, some suggested that City were beginning to flag.
But Pep Guardiola’s side made a mockery of such talk to outclass a Spurs side unbeaten in the league since December.
Victory, sealed with goals by Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling, lifted them to 87 points from 33 games.
An unlikely defeat for Manchester United at home to bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Sunday would secure City’s third title in seven seasons but a win against Swansea City next week will be enough to put them out of reach.
“After 15 minutes I said we’d be champions, after what happened and we reacted,” said Guardiola, who will be on the golf course with his son when United play on Sunday.
“These guys are fantastic and awesome. What’s happened in the last week is so unfair. The important thing is that we know we depend on ourselves. We have to win it at home. I am excited to be champions with our fans.”
Third-placed Liverpool beat Bournemouth 3-0 at home with Mohamed Salah taking his goal tally for the season to 40 in all competitions — making him only the third Liverpool player to achieve that mark in a single campaign.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were also on target as Liverpool moved three points above Tottenham.
Liverpool are 10 points above fifth-placed Chelsea who hit back from two goals down at relegation-haunted Southampton to win 3-2 and keep alive their hopes of a top-four finish.
Third-from-bottom Southampton are five points from the safety zone after relegation rivals Crystal Palace beat Brighton & Hove Albion by the same score at Selhurst Park and Huddersfield Town beat Watford 1-0.
Swansea City are directly above Southampton after drawing 1-1 at home to Everton.
City’s fans celebrated long and loud after the final whistle at Wembley after a dazzling display by their team.
They dominated the first half and went ahead in the 22nd minute when captain Vincent Kompany’s long pass released Jesus to score in clinical fashion