LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City swept back to the top of the Premier League as Gabriel Jesus struck twice in the champions’ 3-1 win over Everton, while Christian Eriksen kept Tottenham in the title hunt in a last-gasp 1-0 victory against Burnley on Saturday (Dec 15).
Jesus hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since August, but the Brazilian striker ended that drought to put Everton to the sword at the Etihad Stadium.
The 21-year-old’s goals and a strike from Raheem Sterling put City two points ahead of second-placed Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp’s team can regain top spot if they beat bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
City coach Pep Guardiola, whose team had surrendered pole position with their loss at Chelsea last weekend, was pleased to see Jesus get back on track.
“It is so important for him, strikers need to score goals,” said Guardiola.
“What he has done today, he has done in other games but the difference is he has scored goals.
“He has done it in a fantastic way. It was so valuable, his performance.”
Jesus opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a cool finish from a tight angle after Leroy Sane’s pass opened up the Everton defence.
Guardiola’s side had to wait just five minutes after the break to make it 2-0, when patient build-up found Sane on the left and the German’s cross was met by a bullet header from Jesus.
Everton got back into the game in the 65th minute when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header from a high-hanging Digne cross flicking off Fabian Delph and past the helpless Ederson.
But Sterling came off the bench to end the contest four minutes later when the City winger met Fernandinho’s cross with a firm header.
City were also cheered by the return of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne as a 75th minute substitute after a six-week lay-off with his second knee injury of the season.
Late show for Spurs
At Wembley, Tottenham left it until stoppage-time before finally breaking Burnley’s stubborn resistance as the north London club moved within five points of the leaders.
Mauricio Pochettino’s third-placed side featured a first league start for 18-year-old midfielder Oliver Skipp, with Eriksen and Son Heung-Min on the bench.
Joe Hart kept fourth-from-bottom Burnley level when the former England keeper plunged low to his right to save Erik Lamela’s low shot.
But Denmark playmaker Eriksen came on in the second half and he provided the match-winning moment with a clipped finish after Fernando Llorente and Harry Kane battered down the Burnley barricades in the 90th minute.
Eriksen’s winner capped a fine few days for Tottenham, who qualified for the Champions League last 16 in midweek after drawing 1-1 at Barcelona.
“It is a very good week for us, a fantastic win for us today, it is so important to be focused and try to keep our energy,” Pochettino said.
“After the Barcelona game it is difficult to find the way to perform like this.”
Wolves are up to seventh as Raul Jimenez and Ivan Cavaleiro wrapped up a 2-0 win at Molineux that condemned Bournemouth to a sixth defeat in their last seven games.
West Ham’s fourth straight win moved Manuel Pellegrini’s side into ninth and inflicted more pain on bottom club Fulham as Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio struck in the opening half hour for a 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage.
Watford are just behind the Hammers on goal difference thanks to a stylish 3-2 win over Cardiff at Vicarage Road.
Javi Gracia’s team were cruising thanks to three wonder goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and teenager Domingos Quina with his first Premier League goal.
But Cardiff set up a tense finish through Junior Hoilett in the 80th minute before Bobby Reid’s strike two minutes later.
Luka Milivojevic lifted Crystal Palace five points away from the bottom three as the Serbia midfielder’s superb strike clinched a 1-0 victory against Leicester for the Eagles’ first Premier League victory without suspended talisman Wilfried Zaha since September 2016.
Newcastle also eased their relegation worries as Salomon Rondon’s 55th minute goal earned a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield, who remain in the bottom three.