Haaland's absence fails to stop Man City from hammering Liverpool
Manchester City's tactics remain the same even if goal machine Erling Haaland is absent, manager Pep Guardiola said on Saturday after his side romped to a 4-1 win over Liverpool with the Norwegian striker cheering on the team from the sidelines.
Argentine World Cup winner Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish were on target for City, brushing aside any fears that they may struggle to score without Haaland.
"Nothing changed," Guardiola said after his 100th win at Etihad with City. "The quality, the football tactics is players, and when we have Erling we have something special, and Julian (Alvarez) is something special too.
"He was so clever with the ball, he's an exceptional player. The club made an exceptional signing with him – he's a world champion alongside Lionel Messi because he has something."
City's thrashing of Juergen Klopp's beleaguered side kept them eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal in the chase for the Premier League title.
Premier League top scorer Haaland, whose haul of 42 goals in all competitions includes 28 in the league, suffered a groin injury against Burnley on March 18. His fitness is unclear, although TV cameras caught him on his feet wildly celebrating Alvarez's goal.
However, Guardiola was criticised for his exuberant celebrations.
The City manager pumped his fists wildly after Alvarez's goal and then confronted Liverpool substitutes Kostas Tsimikas and Arthur Melo when they walked by him on the sidelines seconds later.
He grinned and shook his fists at Tsimikas before giving him a pat on the side, and then grabbed Melo in a handshake.
"I don't know how Tsimikas hasn't pushed him out of the way there," former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport.
"I celebrate a goal . . . the goal was nice," Guardiola said, wiping a hand over his face.
"You thought it was a lack of respect?" he asked a reporter. "I'm really sorry, I'm so sorry."
The club also issued a statement after chants of "Always the victim, it's never your fault," broke out around the stadium.
It was prompted by Liverpool's pleas to referee Simon Hooper to send Rodri off after a challenge on Cody Gakpo.
"Manchester City are disappointed to have heard inappropriate chants from home fans during today's game," the team said.
"We regret any offence these chants may have caused and will continue to work with supporters groups and officials from both clubs to eradicate hateful chanting."
Jesus at the double as Arsenal steam on towards title
Gabriel Jesus scored his first goals for six months as Arsenal maintained control of the Premier League title race with a 4-1 defeat of relegation-threatened Leeds United on Saturday.
Jesus, starting a league game for the first time since returning from a knee injury last month, converted a 35th-minute penalty after being clipped in the box by Luke Ayling.
Ben White doubled Arsenal's advantage from Gabriel Martinelli's pass before Brazilian Jesus, signed from Manchester City last summer, struck again from close range in the 55th minute from Leandro Trossard's assist.
Leeds had troubled Arsenal in the opening period but once Jesus put the hosts ahead it was relatively plain sailing as they restored their eight-point lead over champions Man City.
The visitors did raise a few jitters in the home crowd when Rasmus Kristensen's deflected shot gave Leeds a 76th-minute lifeline but Granit Xhaka's header secured another three points in Arsenal's quest for a first title since 2004.
City had earlier ramped up the pressure on Mikel Arteta's side with a 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool.
Arsenal's seventh successive league win moved them to 72 points from 29 games with City, who still have to play the London club at home, on 64 having played one game less.
Leeds remain in a precarious position in 16th place with 26 points, a point above 18th-placed Leicester City.
Jesus began the season in stunning fashion for Arsenal with a flurry of goals and assists and his return to the first team after being injured at the World Cup is perfectly timed.
"Everyone is playing so well. It is easy to come back. The most important thing is that everyone that has come in has played good," Jesus said.
His persistence and trickery earned Arsenal a nerve-settling penalty on Saturday as he jinked into the box and Ayling, rather unluckily, conceded the spot kick as Jesus tumbled.
It was a relief for the home side when he calmly struck the ball into the net past Illan Meslier.
Shortly before that Leeds had twice been denied by Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale, first when Crysencio Summerville fired in a low shot after a slick move and then when Summerville set up Jack Harrison for a powerful shot at goal.
Arsenal started the second half much sharper though and Martinelli did well down the left before playing the ball across the area for White to finish at the far post.
When Jesus made it 3-0 the atmosphere inside the Emirates Stadium was joyous and although Leeds briefly threatened a comeback the fans left for home in full voice.
Hodgson's second spell at Palace begins with first win of 2023
Roy Hodgson's second stint as Crystal Palace manager began with a 2-1 Premier League win over Leicester City on Saturday, as the London side registered their first victory in 2023 thanks to a late winner from Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Hodgson had been brought in to secure Palace's future in the top flight but with both teams looking likely to extend their winless runs, Jordan Ayew took matters into his hands in added time in the second half with a solo run into Leicester's half.
The Ghanaian fed late substitute Mateta with a through-ball as the French striker turned and finished with aplomb to lift the 12th-placed team up to 30 points and give their fans a long-awaited victory -- their first since Dec. 31.
"Finally, finally!" Mateta said. "I worked so hard for this goal and finally it's happened today. We needed this win – for the team, for the new manager... He's not really new!
"Everyone's just happy, we needed this win. Hopefully a lot more will come as well."
Palace, who had scored the fewest goals in the league this season, looked like a different team from the one that struggled under Patrick Vieira, firing in 20 shots against Leicester in the first half.
It was the most any Premier League side has managed in the same amount of time since 2015.
The change in style going forward gave the home fans reason to cheer but Palace could not find a way through a dogged Leicester defence.
Meanwhile, Ivorian winger and Palace's top scorer this season Wilfried Zaha was forced to limp off with a groin injury.
Palace keeper Vicente Guaita had been a spectator in the first half but was called into action early in the second when he was forced into a reflex save after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's run resulted in a James Maddison shot at the far post.
Leicester then struck first through second half substitute Ricardo Pereira, who received the ball at the edge of the box before blasting a shot into the top corner past the despairing dive of Guaita.
But Palace levelled from a free kick three minutes later when Eberechi Eze cleared the wall, saw his shot come off the crossbar and go in off goalkeeper Daniel Iversen for an own goal before Mateta wrapped up the win.
Bournemouth out of relegation zone with 2-1 win over Fulham
Marcus Tavernier and Dominick Solanke were both on target as Bournemouth earned a vital 2-1 win over high-flying Fulham on Saturday to breathe life into the south-coast club's fight for Premier League survival.
Solanke bundled home in the 79th minute to seal a remarkable comeback that lifted Bournemouth out of the relegation zone and dealt a blow to Fulham's hopes of playing in Europe next season.
Andreas Pereira gave Fulham the lead in the 16th minute after running on to Harrison Reed's layoff, but the visitors failed to build on that early momentum.
Tavernier, thrown on by manager Gary O'Neil as a halftime substitute after a dire opening 45 minutes for the home side, equalised with a curling left-footed shot from distance in the 50th minute following a corner.
Bournemouth struggled in the opening period, with Solanke only registering their first shot on target in the 42nd minute, and O'Neil rolled the dice at halftime, bringing on Ryan Christie as well as Tavernier.
The changes had an immediate effect, with Bournemouth carving out their equaliser after a spell of sustained pressure before Solanke sealed the three points with his first home Premier League goal of the season.
The victory lifted Bournemouth from second-bottom of the table to 15th place on 27 points, while Fulham stayed ninth.