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However, they now enjoy a six-point cushion over Southampton thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win over Brighton at Selhurst Park with Wilfried Zaha scoring twice.

Manchester City's victory restores their 16-point lead over second-placed Manchester United.

The runaway leaders have seen their Champions League hopes torn to shreds by Liverpool and were denied, if only temporarily, their title celebrations by derby rivals Manchester United last Saturday evening. However, as the Harry Kane and Dele Alli led side head down the stretch, they are tied with Liverpool in points and are behind only on goal differential.

Their flamboyant style of play has been key to them overwhelming their opponents all season, but opponents have realised now that they can be attacked and exploited. The latter won't happen and City will likely be crowned champions on April 22 or 29.

"The players have my total respect". They are awesome, they are incredible. Three successive defeats, something they have not experienced since February 2016 during Manuel Pellegrini's reign, have thrown a spanner in the works of the City machine.

The former MK Dons midfielder has come in for regular criticism this season having largely struggled to hit the heights that saw him net 18 league goals last term.

When Chelsea eased their way to last season's title by a clear seven points, few could have expected manager Antonio Conte's second season to pan out so uneventfully.

City go into this off the back of three consecutive defeats and appearing vulnerable for the first time under Guardiola.

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When Sterling weaved his way towards the Tottenham area, Lloris raced off his line to make a crude lunge that sent the City winger flying.

Replays subsequently showed contact was made outside of the area, but that did not stop Gundogan converting with a brilliant penalty.

It was nearly too easy for City and they slipped up in the 42nd minute.

Spurs were left chasing shadows as the Blues knocked the ball around purposefully and with speed and after just four minutes, the visitors' superiority was so almost rewarded as Leroy Sane's sumptuous volley smacked against the inside of the post from Raheem Sterling's cross.

City regained control after half-time and should have been out of sight as Jesus scuffed badly wide and Sterling fared no better with a woeful close-range miss.

Sterling teed up Gundogan for a shot that was deflected behind in the 19th minute and Spurs barely left their own half for an extended passage of play after the resulting corner.

But they moved within touching distance of the title in the 72nd minute.