London: Manchester City brushed aside struggling Cardiff to leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday as Tottenham opened their glittering new stadium in style.
City’s 2-0 victory over Cardiff took Pep Guardiola’s quadruple-chasers to 80 points - one clear of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with both sides having six matches to go.
Tottenham marked their long-delayed move into their state-of-the-art new home with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Chelsea thumped Brighton 3-0.
Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead in the sixth minute, firing in from a tight angle after being played in by Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane doubled the lead for the defending champions with a sharp finish just before half-time.
Guardiola, whose team take on Brighton at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, made seven changes to his starting line-up, handing teenager Phil Foden his first Premier League start.
The defeat leaves Neil Warnock’s Cardiff third from bottom, five points from safety, with only relegated Huddersfield and Fulham below them.
Spurs, who were on the edge of the title race for a large chunk of the season, started their match at home to Palace in fourth spot, behind north London rivals Arsenal.
But Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen made sure the celebrations did not fall flat, scoring second-half goals that enabled Spurs to end a wretched run of four defeats in five league games.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri made multiple changes from the team that started Sunday’s tense 2-1 win at Cardiff, with Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante back in the starting XI.
But the main talking point was a first Premier League start for 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has already impressed for Gareth Southgate’s young England side.
Sarri has angered Chelsea fans with his refusal to start the winger and they vented their feelings at Cardiff on Sunday.
Hudson-Odoi was in the thick of the action, setting up Olivier Giroud for just his second Premier League goal of the season in the first half.
Hazard doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 60th minute and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek put the game beyond doubt just three minutes later.
City’s victory against Cardiff at the Etihad Stadium was their eighth consecutive Premier League win and puts them back in pole position in the Premier League.
With the League Cup already in the bag, City are struggling to quell growing talk of a historic quadruple even as Guardiola attempts to keep his players’ feet on the ground.
After this weekend’s match against Brighton at Wembley, they will take on Tottenham in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.
The race for the top four is tight, with just three points separating third-placed Spurs from Manchester United, in sixth position.