European football a ‘driving force’ for Newcastle, says Howe

European football a ‘driving force’ for Newcastle, says Howe
European football a ‘driving force’ for Newcastle, says Howe

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Two more wins.

That’s all that separates Manchester City from becoming English champion for an unprecedented fourth straight year.

The game is up, though, for Burnley, whose relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Saturday with a game to spare.

On a significant day at both ends of the standings, City racked up another big victory by routing Fulham 4-0 to climb above Arsenal into a two-point lead. The top two each have two games left, and Arsenal face Manchester United next on Sunday.

However Arsenal finish the season, the title will be City’s if Pep Guardiola’s team beat both Tottenham away on Tuesday and West Ham at home in the final round on May 19.

“My players like to play with pressure. They are used to it,” said Guardiola, whose team have won five of the last six Premier Leagues. “The players enjoy this feeling.

“This season is the same — don’t think about anything other than the next game. Focus on winning the next game and then we will see what happens.”

Josko Gvardiol scored twice for City to enhance his status as an unlikely goal-getter for Guardiola, with the left back making it five in his last seven games. Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez also netted at Craven Cottage as City extended its unbeaten run in all competitions to 33 matches.

No team in the 136-year history of English soccer has won the top division for four successive years. It’s the latest record in touching distance of Guardiola’s City, which have also reached the FA Cup final against Man United on May 25.

Burnley down

Two of the three teams which came up to the Premier League for this season are sure to be heading back down to the Championship after one year.

It’s not looking great for the third one, either.

Burnley needed to beat Tottenham to stand a chance of a second straight season in the league but lost 2-1 to join already-relegated Sheffield United in going down.

Luton lost at West Ham 3-1 to stand on the brink of being the third team relegated. It was given a reprieve, however, when fourth-from-last Nottingham Forest squandered a lead and lost at home to Chelsea 3-2.

Forest was three points above Luton and has a superior goal difference of 12. In the final round of games next weekend, Forest visits Burnley and Luton hosts Fulham — and there has to be a huge, and improbable, swing in goal difference for Luton to survive.

Last season, all three promoted teams staved off relegation for the first time since 2018.

Spurs retain hope

Tottenham kept alive its Champions League qualification hopes with the come-from behind win over Burnley, which was secured by Micky van de Ven’s 82nd minute goal.

Spurs’ first goal was also scored by a defender — right back Pedro Porro — to begin the fightback.

Spurs trimmed the gap to fourth-placed Aston Villa to four points, with both teams having two games left. Villa can secure fourth spot and the final automatic Champions League spot from the Premier League by beating Liverpool on Monday.

Other results

In the fight to qualify for the minor European competitions, Newcastle stayed in sixth place — but dropped six points behind Tottenham — by drawing at home with Brighton 1-1. Newcastle are tied on points with Chelsea, with both teams three points ahead of eighth-placed Man United.

Brentford won at Bournemouth 2-1, Crystal Palace beat Wolverhampton 3-1, and Everton defeated Sheffield United 1-0 for a fifth straight home win.

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