Burnley: Sergio Aguero’s 20th Premier League goal of the season left Manchester City just two wins from the title after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.
Aguero, who has now scored nine times in his past eight appearances against Burnley, struck in the 63rd minute, with a shot that only just crossed the line despite the best efforts of defender Matt Lowton to keep it out, although goal-line technology was needed to award the goal.
The win takes City on to 92 points, one ahead of Liverpool, with two games to play.
Victories at home to Leicester a week on Monday, and away at Brighton the following Sunday will see Pep Guardiola’s side retain their English title.
For the first time in months, City’s elimination from the Champions League means they will crucially have a free midweek to prepare for those key matches.
By contrast, Liverpool must travel to Newcastle next weekend, either side of the two legs of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, before hosting Wolves on May 12.
City have now won 12 consecutive Premier League games but they had to work to maintain their composure against the Clarets.
Earlier, Arsenal manager Unai Emery insisted he was “proud” of his players after they were humbled for the third time in a week, losing 3-0 at Leicester.
The Gunners conceded three goals in three successive top-flight matches for the first time since 1967 in defeats to Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester leaving their top-four hopes hanging by a thread.
Guardiola’s side enjoyed the bulk of possession, but found creating clear chances difficult. When they did, Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton was in excellent form.
Heaton, a former Manchester United reserve, made two excellent saves in the opening minutes of the second half. He was alert at his near post to beat away Aguero’s shot, after Raheem Sterling’s neat flick had created the opening, before beating out Bernardo Silva’s snap shot at the end of a goalmouth scramble.
In the closing moments of the first half, Aguero over-hit a pass down the left for Leroy Sane, resulting in the ball rolling out of play, and the German responded by turning to his teammate and flinging his arms out in despair.
Eventually, though, City’s patience was rewarded. Bernardo Silva’s low ball into the middle found Aguero, who, with his back to goal and minimal space to work with, managed to fashion a shot that beat Heaton.
Lowton, on the line, looked to have blocked the shot with his chest, but the ball looped up and just crossed the line before he could recover to clear it.
Praising his players, Emery nevertheless blamed the first-half red card shown to defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the latest loss.
Maitland-Niles was booked for a shove on Ben Chilwell before collecting a second yellow card for a foul on James Maddison at the King Power Stadium.
“I don’t agree with the first yellow card,” said Emery. “I don’t think it was a yellow card.
Jamie Vardy scored twice as Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football suffered another serious setback as familiar failings saw the 10-man Gunners lose 3-0.
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans opened the scoring at the King Power Stadium in the second half and Vardy netted twice for the Foxes after the visitors had defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles dismissed for two bookable offences before half-time.