Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan continued his scoring streak with another two goals as Manchester City edged closer to a fifth Premier League title in six seasons following a 3-0 win over Everton.
Pep Guardiola’s side now need a maximum of six points from their last three games to extend their hold on the Championship trophy after a simple afternoon at Goodison Park.
Gundogan made it four scores in two games, with a superb double, one with a brilliant over the shoulder volley and the other with a superb curling free kick up and over the wall.
Meanwhile, Erling Haaland took his near-obligatory goal to 52 for the season, with former Everton striker Dixie Dean’s record of 63 still realistically within reach.
His 36 league goals are the most in England’s top flight since Southampton’s Ron Davies got 37 in 1966-67 and to further underline his quality – if it was ever needed – 100 league appearances for former club Borussia Dortmund and the Norwegian international scored for City. 98 times.
Even a City side that made four changes – Kevin De Bruyne was one of those omitted in view of Wednesday’s delicate Champions League semi-final at home to Real Madrid – was hardly tested in registering an 11th straight league win in 21 games. undefeated run.
The sight of injured striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin substituted at half-time would worry 17th-placed Everton as they now rely on neighbors Liverpool to do them a favor to prevent them from dropping into the bottom three. denied 19th Leicester victory on Monday.
The change could be precautionary or even a case of damage limitation with vital games against Wolves looming ahead of the final day at home to Bournemouth.
The worst-case scenario would face those two games without the England international, who despite just one goal in five games since returning from a two-and-a-half-month layoff with a hamstring injury, provides a much-needed point of contact.
City have no such worries as this match served only as a semi-competitive practice session before the visit of Real, who they drew 1-1 with at the Bernabeu.
Everton’s deep-lying 4-5-1 formation often left Calvert-Lewin far from his midfield, but the hosts flew out of the blocks, booing a Goodison crowd present more in hope than expectation.
Despite an impressive work rate from the likes of Dwight McNeil, it was mostly bluff and bluster as their only real chance came in the 34th minute when Mason Holgate curled over a difficult chance from four yards following a James Tarkowski knockdown.
City were ahead less than three minutes later and doubled their lead within seven, with Gundogan providing both goals.
As Riyad Mahrez swung in down the right wing, the Germany international touched his thigh gently before promptly firing over his shoulder with the outside of his right foot, which caught Nathan Patterson and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford by surprise.
Haaland’s goal was more primitive when Gundogan pounced on Patterson’s weak header to cross for the Norwegian to leap higher than makeshift left-back Holgate to head home the injured Vitalii Mykolenko.
Man City player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Mis-hit a clearance early on but didn’t have a whole lot to do otherwise.
RB: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – Had to make a number of blocks and last-ditch challenges in the first half to ensure City remained on top.
CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Didn’t need to be at his best to offer his effortless level of control.
CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Pushed forwards into midfield to help overload the middle third of the pitch. Great passing.
LB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Joined Laporte in that advanced role in a weird inverted setup. Not as impactful as the Spaniard but nothing wrong either.
DM: Rodri – 7/10 – A nervy start but soon settled himself down to anchor City’s midfield.
DM: Ilkay Gundogan – 9/10 – Two sensational goals and a quality assist from the scary, title-chasing version of Gundogan. A real star.
RM: Riyad Mahrez – 8/10 – Dangerous with the ball at his feet and a delightful cross for Gundogan’s opening goal.
AM: Julian Alvarez – 5/10 – A noticeable level below those around him. Struggled to link midfield and attack.
LM: Phil Foden – 7/10 – A real menace up against Patterson. Looked a constant threat.
ST: Erling Haaland – 7/10 – Another of those games in which Haaland barely did anything apart from celebrate a goal. Ruthlessly efficient.
Bernardo Silva (77′ for Gundogan) – 6/10 – Didn’t really get involved but didn’t need to anyway.
Jack Grealish (77′ for Haaland) – 6/10 – A cameo which was more about keeping his legs warm.
Kalvin Phillips (87′ for Rodri) – N/A
Sergio Gomez (90′ for Dias) – N/A
Pep Guardiola – 6/10 – City struggled early on but were willed ahead through individual quality. Guardiola did make a handful of tweaks to keep City in front but, surprisingly, didn’t make the most of the chance to rest his heavy hitters.