Updated April 14th, 2024 at 12:23 IST

Man City earns big win over Luton despite rotating squad; Newcastle routs Tottenham at home again

Jeremy Doku and Mateo Kovacic ensured that the reigning champion didn't lose a beat in the English Premier League title contest even though some of Manchester City's usual starters were rested.

Jeremy Doku celebrates after scoring his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Luton Town at Etihad stadium | Image: AP
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With some of Manchester City's regular starters rested, Jeremy Doku and Mateo Kovacic made sure the defending champion didn't miss a beat in the English Premier League title race.

Kovacic and Doku scored in the second half as Man City pulled away for a comfortable 5-1 win over relegation-threatened Luton on Saturday despite manager Pep Guardiola perhaps having one eye on Wednesday's game against Real Madrid.

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Gaurdiola rested a handful of players — including key midfielder Rodri — but saw the replacements fill in convincingly. Kovacic made it 2-0 in the 51st with a thunderous strike from the edge of the area, while Doku earned the penalty that led to the third goal, scored the fourth himself and assisted on the fifth.

“You cannot play the same people (in every game), it is impossible," Guardiola said. “Everyone has permission to score and it’s so important.”

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The win lifted City into first place, two points ahead of title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool, who both play on Sunday.

“For a few hours,” Guardiola said about being top of the table. “All we can do is win our games and if we cannot do it we congratulate them.”

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It was also a perfect preparation for Madrid's visit for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, after a 3-3 draw in Spain this week. Kevin de Bruyne missed that game with an illness but was back in the starting lineup against Luton, as was goalkeeper Ederson.

NEWCASTLE ROUTS SPURS

For the second year in a row, Newcastle handed Tottenham quite the drubbing at St. James' Park.

After beating Spurs 6-1 at home last April, Newcastle routed Ange Postecoglou's team 4-0 to damage the visitors' hopes of a top-four finish. Just like last year, Alexander Isak netted two of the goals to take his season tally to 17 in the league and 21 overall this season.

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Anthony Gordon made it 2-0 just 95 seconds after Isak opened the scoring, and added two assists.

“Playing football is really fun at the moment, especially when we have days like this,” Isak said.

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It wasn't a fun day for Tottenham defender Micky van de Ven, though. The center back was partially at fault for the first two goals as he slipped both times and let Isak and Gordon go past him inside the area.

The big loss meant Tottenham dropped below Aston Villa into fifth, behind on goal difference.

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Newcastle was sixth, 10 points behind Villa and Tottenham.

RELEGATION BATTLE TIGHTENS

The relegation battle tightened as Nottingham Forest and Burnley couldn't take full advantage of Luton's loss, with both settling for a draw.

Forest drew with Wolves 2-2 despite Morgan Gibbs-White scoring against his former club after being set up by a corner from U.S. international Gio Reyna, who made his first start for the club. Matheus Cunha scored twice for Wolves, including a 62nd-minute equalizer.

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A mistake by goalkeeper Aro Muric cost Burnley in a 1-1 draw with Brighton. Josh Brownhill capitalized on a poor back pass by Carlos Baleba in the 74th minute to give Burnley the lead but Muric then let a routine pass from Sander Berge slip in under his foot.

That left Burnley still six points from safety in 19th place while Forest was 17th, one point above Luton.

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Last-placed Sheffield United inched ever closer to relegation after losing 2-0 to Brentford, which ended a nine-game winless skid.

Brentford sat seven points above Luton with five games remaining.

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Manchester United was playing at Bournemouth in the late game.

 

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Published April 14th, 2024 at 12:23 IST