In a real showdown at opposite ends of the Premier League table, Manchester City once again extended their buffer over the chasing pack with a 4-0 romp away at Norwich on Saturday evening.
While the runaway English giants might have faced a rugged test during the early exchanges at Carrow Road, the relegation scrappers failed to end what has become a remarkable purple patch from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Hoping that Burnley can do them a favour when Liverpool make the trip to Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon, we have taken a look at the key talking points as Manchester City took another step closer to this season’s Premier League crown.
Sterling steals the show
While the red-hot Riyad Mahrez might have found the net in seven consecutive appearances heading into Saturday’s showdown in east Anglia, there is no doubt that Raheem Sterling stole the show here.
With Jack Grealish not involved in Guardiola’s matchday squad and Kevin De Bruyne having to settle for a spot as an unused substitute, the England international underlined why he has become such an important part of City’s run this season.
Opening the scoring just after the half-hour mark with a wonderful whipped effort from the edge of the box, the one-time Liverpool starlet has come on leaps and bounds since questions over his future last summer.
With no signs of signing a new deal at the Etihad and linked with a move to Barcelona, Sterling now finds himself in the midst of a free-scoring run.
Tapping home from close range after Ruben Dias’ guided header with 20 minutes left on the clock, the 27-year-old was handed a golden chance to bag his first senior hat-trick in two years with just seconds left at Carrow Road.
Despite seeing his last-gasp penalty denied by Angus Gunn, Sterling saw the ball fall kindly back into his path as he completed a Man of the Match display in east Anglia.
Always a tough test for Norwich
Watching Grant Hanley’s header crash off of the post with 18 minutes on the clock, some around Carrow Road might have thought that they could produce another famous victory on home soil.
However, knowing that they faced a huge task in east Anglia here, Norwich were really facing an uphill battle when Sterling opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark.
Despite being blown away in the second-half, Dean Smith was quick to praise his side’s display and will be desperate for his side to quickly brush themselves down as they bid to extend on their Premier League status.
Dropping back into the relegation zone following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat, the Yellows have still managed to find some much-needed form over the past month.
Previously enjoying a three-match Premier League unbeaten run before welcoming the runaway leaders to town here, the former Aston Villa boss also saw his side extend on their FA Cup adventure with an impressive 2-0 win away at Wolves.
Certainly breathing life back into their charge for survival, Norwich will be next seen in seven days time when they make the trip to another heavyweight in Liverpool.
Three more points in the bag for City
Making the trip to East Anglia on Saturday evening tipped as a landslide favourite to once widen their buffer to double digits, Manchester City were simply looking to avoid another public slip-up at Carrow Road.
While Guardiola’s men might have dodged a bullet as Hanley’s header rebounded back off of Ederson’s post earlier in the first-half, the Sky Blues largely didn’t have to get out of second-gear.
With the mood in their camp appearing to be at a red-hot high, all signs are pointing towards the runaway leaders on claiming another Premier League trophy this season.
Breezing past Brentford earlier in the week and claiming a deserved 2-0 victory at the Etihad, the former Bayern Munich boss now finds his side enjoying a remarkable domestic unbeaten run that stems all the way back to the end of October.
With their sights firmly set on completing a real silverware sweep this season, there is no doubt that City will be desperate to keep up this momentum when they turn their attention back to European duties in a few days time.
Still looking to fully recover from last year’s Champions League final heartbreak at the hands of Chelsea, Guardiola’s side will be next seen on Tuesday night when they make the trip to Sporting Lisbon.
Norwich: Gunn, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, McLean, Lees Melou, Gilmour, Sargent, Pukki, Rashica
Subs: Dowell, Byram, Normaann
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva, Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Subs: Delap, Kayky, McAtee
Goals: Sterling 31′, 70′, 90′, Foden 48′
Yellow Cards: Dias, Sterling
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Andre Marriner
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