MANCHESTER, England – Manchester City beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 on Tuesday to move a step closer to clinching third place in the Premier League and a guaranteed berth in the 2017-2018 Champions League.
In London, meanwhile, fifth-place Arsenal had to work harder than expected in a 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland.
City, with 75 points, is in third place, two points ahead of Liverpool and three better than the Gunners. The Manchester side has a goal differential of +36, compared with +33 for the Reds and +31 for Arsenal.
The Citizens will finish third if they prevail over Watford next Sunday in the season’s final match. By beating relegated Middlesbrough, Liverpool can count on ending the season no lower than fourth place.
The scenario for Arsenal is more complicated, as the Gunners must not only win their match against Everton but also hope for Liverpool to lose or draw.
West Brom, which is usually sound on defense, found itself trailing 2-0 just a half-hour into Tuesday’s tie at the Etihad, conceding goals to Gabriel Jesus – in the 27th minute – and to Kevin de Bruyne, who scored just two minutes later.
Yaya Toure put the hosts ahead 3-0 in the 57th minute and Hal Robson-Kanu scored a consolation goal for West Brom with three minutes left in regulation.
Sunderland, following an abysmal performance last weekend against Swansea, did a credible job facing Arsenal at London’s Emirates Stadium, holding the Gunners at bay until the 72nd minute, when Alexis Sanchez hammered in a cross from Mesut Özil.
The Chilean international came through again nine minutes later with a decisive header to assure Arsenal of a 2-0 victory.