Manchester City closer to the title after a win over Crystal Palace

Manchester City could clinch the Premier League title on Sunday after two goals in the space of 83 seconds saw off a stubborn Crystal Palace.

City will secure a third title in four seasons if second-placed Manchester United lose at home to Liverpool.

After a scrappy first half at Selhurst Park, Sergio Aguero thumped City ahead with a clinical finish before Ferran Torres drilled in a low shot.

That ended the resistance of Palace, who stay in 13th place.

Roy Hodgson’s side had chances in the first half through Christian Benteke, who flicked a header wide and had a close-range shot blocked by City keeper Ederson.

But once City made their breakthrough when Aguero smashed high into the net, quickly followed by Torres’ precise finish, the result was not in doubt.

Now it is a question of when, not if, Pep Guardiola’s side will be crowned champions again after relinquishing the crown to Liverpool last season. 

“We can start to put the champagne in the fridge – not to open yet, but to think about it,” said Guardiola, whose side moved 13 points clear of United.

“The Premier League is already there – it is in our hands. We need one more victory, two more points.”

Not for the first time, but perhaps the last, Aguero provided the inspiration for City as they close in on another trophy.

The 32-year-old Argentine will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season after playing such an instrumental role in their success since arriving in 2011.

While he might no longer be deemed by Guardiola as a key starter in City’s biggest games, there was a sense of inevitability that Aguero would still have a significant impact in their chase for the Treble as his iconic spell at the club comes towards an end.

Playing slightly deeper behind Gabriel Jesus, Aguero was at the heart of City’s brighter attacking moments in a first half when they lacked quality in the final third of the field.

Yet they had not managed a shot on target until the ball came into the Palace box from the left and Aguero took a deft touch to create space and blast a powerful shot into the roof of the net.

It was a reminder of the quality he still possesses, which is leaving the leading clubs in the world reportedly eyeing a move for him in the summer.

“I’m so happy because it has been a long time since I played 90 minutes and the goal was good because maybe we can win the Premier League,” said Aguero, who said he did not know if he will watch United’s game against Liverpool.

“Always I’m ready. I am feeling good. I always want the opportunity to play like today.”

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