Premier League: Sane and Mahrez send Man City five points clear

Bournemouth’s mojo returns and Brighton beat Crystal Palace in a thriller

Leroy Sane scored Manchester City’s opening goal in the win against Watford
Leroy Sane scored Manchester City’s opening goal in the win against Watford
(Image credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Watford 1 Manchester City 2

Manchester City moved five points clear of their Premier League rivals last night with a nervy 2-1 win at Watford.

The result throws down the gauntlet to Liverpool, who travel to Burnley this evening, while Chelsea and Arsenal also face awkward away games at Wolves and Manchester United respectively.

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City’s win was built on goals from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez but Abdoulaye Doucoure’s strike for the Hornets five minutes from time ensured that the defending champions faced a torrid end to an entertaining encounter.

“We were much the better side, we deserved to win but you have to kill [the game off],” was how City manager Pep Guardiola summed up the victory. “It is never over at 2-0, you need the third goal. In the last few minutes they had chances… you can never relax in the Premier League, that’s why it is nice.”

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No more voices

Less nice, however, is the speculation that City may be severely punished for allegedly breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules in 2014.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has promised action “very soon” after accusations that the Sky Blues used sponsorship deals to circumvent FFP regulations.

A ban from playing in the Champions Leagues looms if City are found guilty, but Guardiola struck a defiant note when asked about the possibility of a punishment.

“Uefa is doing what they are doing,” he told Sky Sports. “If we did something irregular we will know it, and if we didn’t do something irregular, so the people will finish talking about it.

“So we are going to wait… the club will make a statement. And I like to do that because we will know exactly when we are going to finish with these voices.”

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Return of the ‘mojo’

In other results, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his side’s 2-1 win at home against Huddersfield Town had brought back their “mojo”.

The win ends a run of four consecutive defeats and move the Cherries up to sixth, although that could change this evening if Everton beat Newcastle at Goodison Park and Manchester United see off Arsenal at Old Trafford.

“A few weeks ago we were playing champagne football but we lost our mojo and hopefully this will bring it back,” said Howe.

Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were on target for Bournemouth while Terence Kongolo scored for Huddersfield.

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Perez on target

West Ham had Lucas Perez to thank for their 3-1 win over Cardiff City, a result that moves the Hammers into 12th spot, nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Perez came off the bench to score twice, a good return for a player who has barely been seen by Hammers’ fans since joining from Arsenal in August.

“Lucas played very well,” said West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini. “I don’t think he must prove anything. We know why we brought him here.”

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Four-goal thriller

Brighton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in a pulsating encounter under a seaside downpour to move into tenth spot.

The Seagulls’ victory was made all the more memorable by the fact they played an hour with only ten men after defender Shane Duffy was sent off for aiming his head at Patrick van Aanholt.

Brighton’s response was to dig deep and goals from Glenn Murray, Leon Balogun and a splendid solo effort from Florin Andone saw them home.

“We thoroughly deserved it,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton, who was in no mood to forgive Duffy. “There is no hiding place for what Duffy did. He knows better than that because he is an experienced international player.”

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Premier League results and fixtures

Tuesday 4 December

  • AFC Bournemouth 2 Huddersfield Town 1
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Crystal Palace 1
  • West Ham United 3 Cardiff City 1
  • Watford 1 Manchester City 2

Wednesday 5 December (7.45pm unless stated)

  • Burnley vs. Liverpool
  • Everton vs. Newcastle United
  • Fulham vs. Leicester City
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea
  • Manchester United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on BT Sport)
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton (8pm)
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