De Bruyne masterclass sets Manchester City on the way to the title Premier League

Kevin De Bruyne’s four-goal haul kept Manchester City on course for the Premier League title as the defending champions thrashed Wolves 5-1 at Molineux on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s men move three points clear of Liverpool with two games to play and boosted their goal difference to seven superior to the Reds.

City need just four points from Sunday’s trip to West Ham and the visit of Aston Villa on the final day of the season to be crowned champions for the fourth time in five years.

And with De Bruyne on this form, they will take some stopping as the Belgian produced his brilliant best to blow away the hosts with a hat-trick inside 24 minutes.

City broke the news on Tuesday that they have beaten Europe’s top clubs to the signature of Erling Haaland.

However, even the Norwegian goalscoring phenomenon would struggle to match the range of finishes off both feet dispatched by De Bruyne.

In keeping with their form in recent weeks, City looked to have dispelled any early nerves by scoring first as Bernardo Silva teed up De Bruyne to fire first time across Jose Sa.

The visitors, though, were without three key defenders in Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias through injury and it showed.

Aymeric Laporte had to make a desperate last-ditch challenge to deny Chiquinho before Wolves levelled on 11 minutes.

Pedro Neto was allowed to gallop clear into the City box and picked out Leander Dendoncker to slot past Ederson.

Parity only lasted another five minutes as De Bruyne was both creator and executioner of City’s second.

Raheem Sterling failed to connect with his pass through the heart of the Wolves defence, but Sa could only turn the ball back into De Bruyne’s path and he made no mistake.

The best was yet to come from the 30-year-old as he took aim from outside the box and arrowed a shot into the bottom corner to complete a hat-trick, with all three goals scored by his supposedly weaker left foot.

De Bruyne’s was the third quickest hat-trick in Premier League history and his first since he played for Genk 11 years ago.

But there was even more to come after the break as he slotted home on his right foot after Phil Foden’s cross was deflected into his path.

An injury to Laporte was the only negative of the night for City as he limped off after a heavy challenge from Raul Jimenez.

Yet, any defensive deficiencies are being masked by the firepower of Guardiola’s men at the moment.

Since a 2-2 draw with Liverpool left the title race still on a knife edge last month, City have scored 23 goals in five games.

Foden hit the post and Sterling missed a sitter with the goal gaping at the back post.

But he could not miss another open goal when Joao Cancelo’s deflected cross fell his way six minutes from time.

De Bruyne nearly had time for a fifth of his own in the final minute as he curled off the post.

However, another five-star performance was more than enough for City to give Liverpool little sign of encouragement they will cede ground down the home straight.

Manchester City are now three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table with just two games remaining, after a 5-1 win away at Wolves.

Pep Guardiola’s side had Kevin de Bruyne to thank for a left-footed first-half hat-trick at Molineux and a fourth in the second half, to give themselves breathing room at the summit of England’s top flight.

City got off to the perfect start when Bernardo Silva set up De Bruyne for his first, a strike across Jose Sa into the bottom corner.

But they were quickly pegged back as Pedro Neto cut the ball back to Leandro Dendoncker who slotted home the equaliser.

However, De Bruyne was a man on a mission and swiftly put City back ahead after Sa’s fumble fell kindly into his path.

The third was pure brilliance, with the Belgian lashing home from outside the area with his weaker foot to seal the hat-trick.

On the hour-mark, the same player would score again, this time with his right. Phil Foden’s cross was cleared only as far as De Bruyne who buried the finish and seal the game once and for all.

Raheem Sterling then added a fifth for City on 84 minutes from close range.

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In this live blog, we’ll bring you all the latest updates from Molineux, from the pre-match build-up to minute-by-minute text commentary once the first whistle is blown.

City are now three points ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s men with two games left, as well as a far superior goal difference to their rivals.

Manchester City may have missed out on the Champions League final, but Pep Guardiola has described Wednesday night’s clash with Wolves as a final in its own right, given its significance on their Premier League title push. City are level with Liverpool (top via goal difference) after the Reds’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa, but this game in hand would see them move three points clear with two matches left for each. Stay up to date with all the action from this vital fixture on our live blog.

City have won the last three league meetings between the two sides, although they will also remember the 3-2 defeat they suffered at Molineux in dramatic fashion in 2019.

Guardiola will be without right-back Kyle Walker for the trip to Wolves, as well as centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias. All three players are expected to be out for the rest of the season.

As for Wolves, they will be without right-back Nelson Semedo and centre-back Max Kilman, while forward Daniel Podence is doubtful.

Chiquinho came off the bench away at Chelsea and provided two assists as Wolves fought back to secure a point, so he could feature again, although likely from the bench.

 

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