Kevin De Bruyne and Son Heung-min have joined Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold in being nominated for the Premier League's Player of the Season award.

De Bruyne, who won the award in 2019-20 despite Manchester City missing out on the title to Liverpool that season, is enjoying his best goalscoring campaign for the club.

He netted four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Wolves on Wednesday, taking him to 19 in all competitions.

Salah is the only other past winner to be up for the award, having scored 22 goals and provided 13 assists (both league-high tallies) in another outstanding campaign as Liverpool battle City for the title.

Fellow Reds star Alexander-Arnold is also on the shortlist after racking up 12 assists in 31 appearances, as is Tottenham forward Son, who scored his 21st league goal of the campaign in Spurs' 3-0 win over Arsenal on Thursday.

Despite hitting 18 and 15 league goals respectively this season, Manchester United and Spurs strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane are among the highest-profile players to miss out being nominated.

The other players on the eight-man shortlist are City defender Joao Cancelo, Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka, Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

Bowen is one of just three Premier League players to record double figures for goals and assists this season (both 10, along with Salah and Chelsea's Mason Mount).

Meanwhile, both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are in contention to be named Manager of the Season at the end of another enthralling title race between their teams.

Guardiola has already won the award on three occasions (in 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2020-21), the same amount as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. Only Alex Ferguson, with 11, has won it more often.

Klopp won the award when he led Liverpool to their first Premier League title in 2019-20, while the other three nominees all manage sides currently in the bottom half of the table.

Brentford's Thomas Frank is among them after leading the Bees to safety in their first top-flight season since 1946-47, as is Patrick Viera after an impressive first campaign with Crystal Palace.

Newcastle United's Eddie Howe is the final boss on the five-man shortlist, after the Magpies became the first side to go winless through their first 14 games in a Premier League campaign and avoid relegation (three had done so and gone down - Swindon Town in 1993-94, QPR in 2012-13, and Sheffield United in 2020-21).

Public votes will contribute towards deciding the winner of each award, with Premier League club captains also getting a vote on the players' award and a "panel of football experts" helping to choose the winning manager.

Pep Guardiola says any extension to his Manchester City contract will not be agreed until next year, insisting now is not the time to discuss his future.

City require just four points from their final two games to secure the fourth Premier League title of Guardiola's reign at the Etihad Stadium after thrashing Wolves 5-1 on Wednesday.

Title rivals Liverpool extended manager Jurgen Klopp's contract until 2026 last month, sparking speculation City could look to do the same with Guardiola, whose current deal expires at the end of next season.

But Guardiola says any new contract will have to wait until next year, even though he revealed he would be happy to stay for another decade if he was certain City would continue to perform at their current level.

"If I extend the contract, it will be at the end of the next season," he told Sky Sports. "Before then, it's not going to happen. 

"It's many years and I have to see how the team and ourselves, how we are together. Knowing it, I would stay 10 more years. 

"But we have to take time for that, absolutely. It's not time, absolutely in this season, or during the next season."

City look increasingly likely to wrap up another domestic title after becoming the first team in English top-flight history to win five consecutive league games by at least three goals.

However, their European woes continued when they fell to a stunning 6-5 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals earlier in May.

Guardiola will have gone 12 years without winning European football's biggest prize by the time he gets another opportunity to win the competition, but insists continental success will not dictate his future.

Asked whether he would only stay if City win the Champions League next term, he responded: "Absolutely not. We compete, for the margins, extremely well in the Champions League. 

"In my life, we won the Champions League in Barcelona with seven players who came from the academy. Nothing changed my life. I was happy for that.

"Yes, I'm disappointed, we wanted to play the final, but it's not going to change my future or my past. The reason why we came here to England, it's already done. We wanted to do it, we did it."

Sergio Aguero said it was the goal that "changed everything" as he returned to Manchester City on Friday for the unveiling of a statue to recognise his famous title-winning strike.

The Argentinian hit City's stoppage-time winner against QPR on May 13, 2012, earning a 3-2 win that delivered a first top-flight title for the club since the 1967-68 season.

It marked the beginning of a spell of dominance for City, who are on the cusp of achieving a sixth Premier League crown in 11 seasons.

Aguero, who went on to become City's record scorer, left the club at the end of last season to join Barcelona and has since retired after a heart condition was detected.

He was guest of honour at the Etihad Stadium as a statue in his likeness was revealed, a full 10 years to the day since the goal against QPR.

The 33-year-old described that as the standout goal of his career.

Speaking to Sky Sports News and BBC Sport, Aguero said of his latest honour: "For me, it is fantastic. I'm very happy for the statue. Now I'm enjoying it, you know.

"It's special. For me, that moment changed my life, it changed the club, everything. It's the best moment in my life. That moment will always be in my heart."

"We don't know what [would have] happened if we lost the Premier League that year, so that year changed everything."

When the Premier League asked its Twitter followers on Friday whether Aguero's goal was "the most iconic moment" in its 30-year history, Aguero replied to say, "Of course", adding a laughter emoji.

A little over two minutes before the moment that will forever define his career, Manchester City hero Sergio Aguero showed sharpness in the QPR goalmouth that would not have been out of place at Old Trafford.

Old Trafford cricket ground that is, just down the road from City's bitter rivals Manchester United and their home of the same name.

As Edin Dzeko's equaliser from David Silva's right-wing corner bounced back off the netting, Aguero pounced, snaffling it like a short-leg fielder and darting back to the centre circle for City's final tilt at the improbable. It was 2-2, the Premier League title could still be won.

There was certainly nothing wrong with striker Aguero's movement after Joey Barton brazenly tried to dead leg him – one of many surreal and key incidents that fed into a frenzied and famous race against the clock on May 13, 2012.

Ten years on, as a statue of Aguero is revealed, this is a reminder of the special moment that brought City their first top-flight league title in 44 years.

The whole story is now as well-worn as any in football history.

On the cusp of a first top-flight title for 44 years, Robert Mancini's Manchester City faced relegation-threatened QPR on the final day of the season. In their previous 18 Premier League home matches that season, they had won 17 and drawn the other – the most recent of those being a 1-0 win over United that tipped a titanic Mancunian tussle back towards the blue side of town.

City simply needed to match United's result at Sunderland and led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Pablo Zabaleta, only for second-half goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie to turn the contest on its head.

It remained 2-1 heading into stoppage time despite QPR operating with 10 men. City youth product Barton was dismissed for tussling with Carlos Tevez and responded to Mike Dean's red card by thumping his knee into Aguero's thigh before aiming a headbutt at Vincent Kompany. Fireworks enthusiast Mario Balotelli poured some petrol on this particular bonfire by confronting the combustible Barton as he stomped towards the tunnel.

Aside from that significant blemish, QPR's discipline was impeccable. Despite ceding 81.3 possession overall and 84.1 per cent during the second half, they only made seven fouls. Stoppages were infrequent as City thrashed and flailed with increasing desperation and diminishing artistry around the opposition penalty area.

Without Barton's meltdown, there is little chance five minutes of stoppage time - or the three minutes and 20 seconds they ultimately required - would have been signalled. It was time City desperately needed and time they could put to good use with their top scorer's fast-twitch fibres bristling.

Barton was not the only QPR man with City connections. His team-mates Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha had also graduated through Jim Cassell's Platt Lane youth system, while Rangers boss Mark Hughes was Mancini's immediate predecessor, having been axed shortly before Christmas in 2009.

Hughes, of course, also played for United with distinction across two spells, and those loyalties struck a chord as news came through Bolton Wanderers had failed to beat Stoke City, meaning the Londoners were safe irrespective of the outcome at the Etihad Stadium.

"[City] got back on level terms and I always remember, at that point, I knew we were safe because the other result came in," Hughes told the Coaches Voice in 2020.

"I'm thinking, 'I wouldn't mind United winning, if I'm honest'. It's 2-2 and Jay Bothroyd looked over, asking what we wanted them to do [from the restart]. The players understood the [Bolton] game was over and we'd stayed up. We just said kick it as far as you can, right in the corner and the game's over."

Hughes' recollections from that point credit City with a poise they absolutely lacked. Rarely can a team have scored twice in this space of two minutes and – save for a crucial few seconds – played so shambolically.

Bothroyd's hoof found touch and scampering Joe Hart ran out of his goal to take the throw-in. The England goalkeeper almost missed the pitch.

Gael Clichy carried the ball down the flank, only for his attempted cross to turn into a block tackle with Mackie. Samir Nasri's aimless, floated effort that followed did little more than give Clint Hill a ninth successful clearance of the afternoon.

Nasri then excelled himself by shepherding the ball out for a QPR throw-in. Just 40 seconds before that explosion of ecstasy there was fury and anguish in the stands. Aguero watched it all from roughly the QPR penalty spot. Apparently he'd seen quite enough.

Aguero honed his lethal skills playing against bigger boys in Buenos Aires on the neighbourhood potrero – the hard gravel and mud neighbourhood pitches that football purists in Argentina bemoan are a diminishing presence.

"When you play you have to think fast. Who to take on, who not," Aguero said when recalling those days in a 2018 documentary for City's in-house television channel. "You know who is going to play dirty, who isn't.

"You start to realise what you can do on the pitch and what you can't."

Reflecting further in the 2019 book 'Pep's City' by Pol Ballus and Lu Martin, he further explained the proving ground that readied him for Barton and others.

"Getting kicked black and blue was all part of the game," he said. "You held on to the ball any way you could.

"Running with the ball was a whole different concept for us. I'd be up against big, tough boys and I was always the smallest. But I learned how to survive."

Aguero remembered those matches were played for the prize of a peso, which would garner one of his favourite sweet treats, an alfajor or dulce de leche.

As United's players took in full-time and three points at the Stadium of Light, and Nigel de Jong brought the ball forward in Manchester to the soundtrack of QPR celebrations – their fans aware of Bolton's fate – the stakes were somewhat higher.

Vacating his spot in a penalty area already crowded by substitutes Dzeko and Balotelli, along with a marauding Kompany, Aguero took possession from De Jong 30 yards from goal.

He faced up to a compact QPR back four, with the visitors' four midfielders all in his immediate vicinity.

A shuffling touch to his left engineered space outside Shaun Derry, but Aguero needed help. Ideally from someone reliable, given the complete lack of any margin for error.

Balotelli was on the pitch in a Manchester City shirt for the first time in over a month.

Mancini had not trusted his wayward protege since a red card in a 1-0 Easter Sunday defeat at Arsenal left City eight points behind United with six games to play. Tevez represented a far more dependable option.

But with nowhere left to turn, Aguero dared and prayed for Mario to be super.

Introduced in the 76th minute, Balotelli gave the impression he had not just been banished from Premier League arenas, but football pitches altogether since his previous game.

The Italy striker managed to run through seven goal attempts – two on target, five blocked – during a frenzied cameo. It was probably as well Aguero found him with his back to goal, inside the D and grappling with Anton Ferdinand.

"I tried to control the ball and I had a contact from the defender and the ball went a little bit far from my foot," Balotelli told City TV five years on. "I thought in that half second there is maybe going to be a little bit of space for Sergio."

If Balotelli had stayed upright, the likelihood is QPR would have seen through their final piece of dogged tireless defending. In being forced on to his backside for the only assist of his Premier League career, he created opportunity and chaos.

Facing his own goal, Derry had to hurdle a prone Balotelli, while Wright-Phillips' route back to defend was also compromised. With his centre-back partner grounded, Hill held his position square on, while Kompany's haring towards the six-yard box dragged left-back Taye Taiwo with him.

A pocket of space opened up. A spot of turf Balotelli was able to locate from his sedentary position. As limbs flailed around him and a tight defence scattered, Aguero was thinking fast.

Argentina's tradition of tough, uncompromising neighbourhood football goes hand in hand with the mystique and mythology that cloaks the country's national sport.

A playing style grounded in skill and improvisation – La Nuestra, which translates as "our way" – was locked into the collective consciousness during the first half of the 20th century. The pre-eminent football magazine El Grafico, served to deepen this romantic attachment, with depictions of the pibe – literally a kid or urchin, whose rough and ready footballing technique combined street smarts and skill and was something of an archetype. Typically they would dribble in the gambeta style, a description that implies close control, cunning and deceit of opponents.

The idea that the likes of Diego Maradona, Ariel Ortega, Lionel Messi and all those other squat, explosive and technically brilliant attackers from Argentina immersed themselves in the yellowed pages of El Grafico archive is far-fetched, but the style is unquestionably embedded. Think of the amount of barrelling, dribbling goals such players have produced – close control, small pauses and faints as thighs piston their way through defences.

As the walls were closing in on City's title bid, Aguero showed himself to be a proud product of this lineage. When Balotelli began his battle against gravity, he deftly checked his run behind and around Wright-Phillips to open up a path to the penalty area.

Letting the pass roll, he shaped to shoot, drawing a scampering Taiwo, who left his Kompany decoy a little too late to remain in control. Aguero did not actually touch Balotelli's return pass until his body position persuaded a rash slide tackle that he nudged beyond with the outside of his right boot.

With Taiwo suitably gambeta'd, there came one last stroke of fortune.

"I touched it again and saw I was close to the goal, so I said 'I'll shoot'. The worst thing was that I wanted to shoot hard across goal and it went to the near post, I don't know what happened," Aguero told TyC Sports – the latter sentiment at least aligning him with every soul inside the Etihad Stadium that day.

"After watching it back, I realised that if I had shot across goal a defender could have blocked it. I celebrated the goal and told everybody, 'I hit it so well!'."

Goal 23 of a personal Premier League tally that reached 184, one of 130 with Aguero's ferocious right boot, understandably left an indelible impression on the suddenly defeated Hughes.

"Of all the games I've been involved in, that noise at that moment when that goal went in is different to anything I've ever heard before or since," Hughes said.

"It was just unbelievable sound – different sound to a football crowd. It was a mixture of screaming and noise. It was just an unbelievable moment."

That racket has since been replayed thousands of times across the world. A goal on a tightrope that altered the course of English football, which began with gifting the opposition a 92nd-minute throw-in and ended thanks to a miscue after the main protagonist's strike partner fell over.

It is the Premier League's most famous goal – a moment as synonymous with Manchester as cotton mills and the Hacienda, and yet Argentinian to its very bones.

Whether 10 years on, 20 years on, or 50 years on, expect to see it replayed another few thousand times. On the blue side of Manchester, it stands as an immortal moment.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is reportedly on his way out of Leeds United, with Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham said to be the parties most interested in prying him away.

Phillips, 26, has been with Leeds since 2010, but Football Insider has reported he has no interest in remaining with the club next season, even if they remain in the Premier League.

The tough midfielder followed in the footsteps of Wilfried Zaha and Jack Butland as the only English players in the 21st century to earn a senior cap while having never played in any country's top division, and confirmed his class at Euro 2020, starting every game and earning the title of England's 2020-21 Men's Player of the Year.

 

TOP STORY – PHILLIPS GETS READY FOR EXCITING NEW CHAPTER

Believed to be valued at £60million, this will be the first time in Phillips' career that he has a chance to shape his own future and pick a situation he feels can elevate him into the conversation of the world's top midfielders.

There will be a Paul Pogba-sized hole in the centre of United's line-up, Villa have signalled their intent with their move for Philippe Coutinho, and David Moyes reportedly has visions of owning the English centre-mid pairing of Phillips and Declan Rice – or replacing the latter if they cannot retain his services through upcoming the transfer window.

Phillips missed four months of this season – from December to March – with a serious hamstring injury, restricting him to just one goal and one assist from 21 club appearances across the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

 

ROUND-UP

Newcastle have made Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin a priority target in the upcoming transfer window, according to the Telegraph.

– Fichajes is reporting Bayern Munich have entered the race for Paul Pogba, while The Mirror claims Juventus are confident about the Frenchman returning to his former Italian club.

– According to Give Me Sport, Chelsea are looking to bring in Sevilla's Jules Kounde to replace outgoing defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

– Marca is reporting some of the world's biggest clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal and Milan are chasing 19-year-old Racing striker Charly Alcaraz.

– The Athletic claims that if Raheem Sterling is to leave Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, it will not be to Premier League clubs Arsenal or Tottenham, instead favouring one of Europe's top teams in Champions League contention.

Erling Haaland's departure will not mean Borussia Dortmund "stop playing football", head coach Marco Rose declared while wishing the soon-to-be Manchester City forward well for the future.

City have agreed a deal to sign Haaland, who had been one of the most sought-after players in the world.

The 21-year-old will now follow in the footsteps of his father Alf-Inge Haaland, who played for City between 2000 and 2003.

Haaland has netted 85 goals since making his Dortmund debut in January 2020, with 28 of those coming from 29 games in all competitions this season.

Across the top five European leagues, only Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has a better ratio (1.13) of goals per 90 minutes in all competitions than Haaland's 1.1.

 

The move to City is subject to personal terms, though that is unlikely to present an issue, with Pep Guardiola's side all set to add a world-class striker to their star-studded squad.

Dortmund signed Salzburg youngster Karim Adeyemi – a former team-mate of Haaland's – as the Norwegian's replacement, and while Rose wishes the latter well in Manchester, he knows BVB will move on.

"Borussia Dortmund will not stop playing football after Erling leaves us. He decided to do his next step with City, we wish him all the best for that," Rose told a news conference ahead of Saturday's final game of the season, at home to relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin.

"I think he gave us a lot, gave us goals, gave us energy, he's a player who always wants to win.

"I think he still can improve, he is still young but we wish him all the best on his way. I've known him a little bit longer, I had him at Salzburg too, so we will follow him, I think we will meet again, I hope we will meet again. All the best to Erling Haaland."

On signing Adeyemi, Rose said: "He's brutally fast and has a good finish, giving us a lot of flexibility on the offensive.

"Of course, he's still young, so we shouldn't overload him. We'll help him get used to BVB quickly."

Dortmund, who are assured of second place, have lost two of their last three Bundesliga home matches (W1), as many as in their previous 17 league outings at Signal Iduna Park combined.

The last time BVB suffered consecutive home defeats in the league was in 2020 (three in a row).

Pep Guardiola labelled Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City's "key man" after the midfielder scored four in a 5-1 thrashing of Wolves, while he expressed his excitement to manage Erling Haaland next season.

City ran riot at Molineux to restore their three-point lead over Liverpool at the Premier League summit, and now need just four points from their final two games to win a second consecutive league title.

De Bruyne became the fourth different player to score four goals for City in a Premier League match (after Edin Dzeko, Gabriel Jesus, and Sergio Aguero – who did so on three occasions), as City bolstered their goal difference, which could yet prove to be crucial in the title race.

City are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League games (eight wins, two draws), and have become the first team in English top-flight history to win five consecutive games by a margin of three or more goals.

Guardiola's men also became the first team to have five or more shots on target while scoring each in a Premier League game since Liverpool in December 2019 (a 5-2 win against Everton), thanks in large part to De Bruyne's incredible display of finishing.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the win, Guardiola hailed the midfielder as "incredible" after he reached 19 goals for the season in all competitions, saying he had been City's most important player in the run-in.

"The way he's playing in the last two or three months, especially in the Premier League, has been outstanding. In the Champions League as well," he said. "He has been our key man in the last part of the season. 

"It's not just what he creates and the goals and everything, I'm happy because he always had a sense for the assists and was so generous, always thinking what's best for the team.

"But we always tried to push him, [saying] 'you have to win games, you have to score goals', and this year I think is his most prolific season in this sense."

City were widely criticised after falling to a 6-5 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals last week, but responded with consecutive thrashings of Newcastle United and Wolves.

Guardiola was keen to praise his team's character after they produced a dominant performance on their first away trip since Madrid.

"Did you have any doubts after what these guys have done in the last five years? They have personality, they have character, they have everything," he added. 

"We were in control, we started really well, scored a goal, and one moment where we didn't defend the transition properly we conceded a goal [Leander Dendoncker's equaliser]. After, we found the goal quick and it helped us a lot."

Although City have already hit 94 Premier League goals this season, their attack will be further bolstered after the announcement that Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland has agreed a move to the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said he was excited to work with the Norway star, who has hit 85 goals in all competitions since joining Dortmund in January 2020, and believes the 21-year-old will have no problem adapting in England.

"It's a decision for the club to make a good signing for the future, he'll come for many, many years, hopefully. I'm pretty sure he'll adapt perfectly to our team, but it will be next season," he added on Haaland.

"I'm excited in my job and of course, I like to work with good players, because the players make you a good manager. 

"Of course, he's an incredible young talent with a perfect age, and I'm pretty sure we're going to help him settle as quickly as possible."

Kevin De Bruyne hailed his four-goal haul as "special" after Manchester City restored their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League by thrashing Wolves 5-1 – but said he should have scored more.

After watching Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday, City ran riot at Molineux as De Bruyne scored four goals, the first three coming in the opening 24 minute to help put Pep Guardiola's team within four points of the Premier League title.

De Bruyne's initial treble represented the third fastest hat-trick at the start of a Premier League game, after Sadio Mane's 16-minute salvo against Aston Villa in May 2015 and Dwight Yorke's 22-minute feat against Arsenal in February 2001.

The Belgian then added a fourth after an hour, becoming just the second City player to hit a quartet of goals in an away Premier League game after Edin Dzeko against Tottenham in August 2011.

De Bruyne, who is enjoying his best goalscoring season for City after reaching 19 strikes in all competitions, was delighted with his showing, but insisted he should have added a fifth when striking the post late on.

"[It was] pretty nice! When you score four goals its always something special, it should have been five to be honest," he told Sky Sports. 

"I think we played well, maybe except a couple of counters in the first half, I think we controlled the game well.

"We could even have scored more, and to do that against a Wolves team that's really defensively sound was impressive. I think our front four were able to find the right moments to go deep or come in, and it worked really well. 

"My right foot is my stronger foot, but I'm not afraid to shoot with the left. Even if it doesn't go in, it creates a problem for the opposition".

Wolves coach Carlos Cachada, meanwhile, said the hosts could do little to stop De Bruyne's talismanic display, telling Sky Sports: "When it comes to players like this they can score four goals and finish the game, with that performance, we can do nothing about it."

City's dominant win saw them extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 10 games (eight wins, two draws), and they now need just four points from their final two games to wrap up the title. 

De Bruyne, however, insists Liverpool could still make up the required three-point and seven-goal swing, saying the two teams had set a "crazy" standard.

"We know at the moment we have a little bit of an advantage in goal difference, but even with seven, with Liverpool that can happen," he added. "We just need to concentrate on Sunday, it's going to be a really tough game at West Ham, so we need to recover and be ready.

"It's a little bit crazy, the standards we both set, you can only respect it. We know how hard it is, and both teams have ultimate respect. We play hard, that's all we can do."

The Premier League title is the only major trophy available to City this term after they crashed out of the Champions League with a stunning 6-5 aggregate loss to Real Madrid last week.

While De Bruyne, who was substituted before Madrid launched their remarkable comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, was still disappointed with that loss, he said it was time for City to move on. 

"Its very difficult to explain because it was just a mad five minutes. It's not that we played bad or something, it was just five minutes that you can't explain as a player," he recalled.

"I don't know what happened, I was out of control on the bench anyway, so you feel a little bit in shock, it's not nice and the feeling is still not nice.

"But you need to move on, we're trying now to win the title and whatever happened unfortunately happened, we have to move on."

Kevin De Bruyne recorded an astonishing four-goal haul as Manchester City restored their three-point lead at the Premier League summit with a 5-1 win over Wolves.

In Ruben Dias, John Stones, and Kyle Walker, Pep Guardiola's team were missing several key defenders as they looked to respond to Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday, but recorded a routine victory courtesy of a talismanic showing from De Bruyne.

The Belgian's hat-trick, sealed with a stunning left-footed strike from long range, put City in charge after Leander Dendoncker briefly restored parity in an absorbing first half.

De Bruyne grabbed a fourth to make the points safe before Raheem Sterling rounded off the scoring late on, as City took another huge step towards defending their title.

Guardiola's men needed just seven minutes to hit the front, with De Bruyne playing a brilliant one-two with Bernardo Silva before drilling a low effort into the bottom-right corner. 

Wolves responded within four minutes when Dendoncker converted Pedro Neto's cut-back following a devastating counter-attack, but the visitors were back in front after 16 minutes when De Bruyne latched onto a loose ball to fire into the roof of the net.

The midfielder secured his treble nine minutes later as he arrowed a terrific strike into the bottom-left corner after 24 minutes.

The visitors were denied a fourth as Sterling was flagged offside having tucked home two minutes after the restart, but ended the contest when De Bruyne steered in after Rayan Ait Nouri's weak clearance after 60 minutes. 

De Bruyne teed up Phil Foden to side-foot against the post before Sterling wrapped up another dominant City win by tapping home a late fifth, with De Bruyne then striking the woodwork himself at the end of a terrific performance.

What does it mean? City remain in pole position

De Bruyne's brilliance saw City overcome their defensive injury crisis to extend their unbeaten run to 10 Premier League games (eight wins, two draws) as they edge closer to consecutive titles.

With only West Ham and Aston Villa to play, Guardiola's men require just four points to beat Liverpool to their eighth top-flight title.

Devastating De Bruyne stars

De Bruyne's four strikes took him to 19 goals in all competitions this term, his best tally in a single season for the club, and restored City's all-important advantage over Liverpool.

Meanwhile, the Belgian became just the second City player to score four goals in an away Premier League game, after Edin Dzeko did so at Tottenham in August 2011.

City extend record away run

The victory ensured City stretched their unbeaten away run to 17 away Premier League matches (14 wins, three draws) – the longest such sequence in the club's league history.

However, Dendoncker's goal prevented Guardiola's side from keeping a sixth consecutive away clean sheet in the competition.

What's next?

City continue their push for the title when they travel to West Ham on Sunday, while Wolves host relegated Norwich City on the same day.

Mikel Arteta refused to comment on whether Arsenal want to sign Gabriel Jesus with Erling Haaland on his way to Manchester City.

City on Tuesday confirmed the club have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund to bring prolific Norway striker Haaland to the Etihad Stadium ahead of next season.

Haaland's imminent arrival would suggest starts would be even more limited for Jesus, who has netted eight Premier League goals this season.

The Brazil international's agent, Marcelo Pettinati, said in an interview with Fabrizio Romano that he has held talks with Arsenal over a potential switch to the London club.

"We had talks with Arsenal about Gabriel Jesus," he said. "We like the project – it’s a possibility we're discussing.

"There are six more clubs interested in Gabriel. He's focused on the final games with Man City. We'll see."

Arteta would not be drawn over a possible move for Jesus on the eve of a huge derby showdown at Tottenham on Wednesday.

The Gunners head coach said: "You know that I don’t talk about any players that are not with us."

Asked if he wanted to add to his strike force, Arteta replied: "I'm looking for the strikers that we have in the team. This is my focus for the next three games."

Arsenal will check on the fitness of England internationals Ben White and Bukayo Saka ahead of the short trip to Spurs.

Midfielder Thomas Partey misses out once again as Arteta's side seek a win that would seal Champions League qualification. 

The Gunners have won four consecutive games to stand on the brink securing a top-four finish and Arteta is determined to make it mission accomplished in their fierce rivals' own backyard.

Arteta said: "The message is clear, if we win against them we will play in the Champions League next season. You don't need much more motivation than that."

Erling Haaland is a "great player" who is joining a "great club" in Manchester City, but Carlo Ancelotti suggested he is not overly upset at missing out on the much-coveted striker.

City confirmed on Tuesday they have reached an agreement to sign Haaland, who had been linked with an array of clubs across Europe – Ancelotti's Real Madrid among them.

Haaland's 85 goals in 88 games since joining Dortmund in January 2020 is bettered only by Robert Lewandowski (122) and Kylian Mbappe (89) across Europe's top five leagues.

But Madrid already boast a prolific striker of their own in Karim Benzema, whose 57 direct goal involvements in all competitions is unmatched in the continent's major divisions.

While Ancelotti has made no secret that he is a fan of Haaland, he is happy with his current squad, having already wrapped up his first LaLiga title and reached the Champions League final thanks to their sensational comeback against City last week.

"I don't really like to talk about this," Ancelotti said at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about Haaland's imminent switch to the Premier League leaders.

"He's a great player, City's a great club. But I'm sticking with my squad, which has led me to enjoy another Champions League final."

Madrid set up a showdown with Liverpool in Paris by overcoming City in a remarkable semi-final tie that they trailed 5-3 with a minute of normal time remaining.

Los Blancos followed that up with a 1-0 loss to rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend in a game that saw Ancelotti make seven changes to his starting line-up.

Ancelotti confirmed the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior will each return for Thursday's visit of Levante, who have lost just one of their last four trips to face Madrid in LaLiga.

Despite the title being secured with four games to spare, Ancelotti insists his side are not yet focusing on their upcoming clash with Liverpool at the Stade de France on May 28.

"The time we have spent together since the Atletico match has been looking only at tomorrow's game," he said. 

"It's important we give minutes to those who didn't play against Atletico, and then we have another game on Sunday. We are not preparing for the final.

"Tomorrow is a game that we have to play well to win. The objective is the same: keep a good rhythm, play well with the ball and win the match.

"If you lose competitiveness, you will not do well. They must rest, but also play in order to reach 100 per cent. 

"All this time it has been said that Ancelotti did not rotate and now that he does, nobody is happy. You have to give minutes to players."

Even with Haaland no longer on the market, Madrid are expected to strengthen in attack, with Mbappe their main target.

But Ancelotti was once again unwilling to discuss any potential targets, with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger another rumoured to be on Madrid's radar. In fact, reports on Tuesday suggested the deal had been done to bring the Germany defender to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer.

"After the final there will be time to talk about this. For now, we are just aiming to finish the season well," he said.

"Talking about the future transfer window is not correct, I don't want to. I want to talk about tomorrow's match. It is the day to talk about this, not about alleged new signings."

Ilkay Gundogan will find other ways to keep himself occupied when Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League final as he is still "angry" at Manchester City's exit.

City were eliminated at the semi-final stage last week with a remarkable 6-5 aggregate defeat to Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Last season's beaten finalists, who have yet to win UEFA's showpiece competition, were ahead 5-3 in the tie with less than a minute of normal time remaining in the Spanish capital before Rodrygo scored twice and Karim Benzema netted an extra-time penalty.

And while he openly admits to being obsessed with all things football, Gundogan has no intention of tuning in to watch City's conquerors Madrid take on Liverpool in Paris.

"If I think about the final in Paris then I get very angry," he told the Daily Mail. "Frustrated, disappointed. I'm definitely not going to watch it. 

"I will definitely try to do something else that day. Nothing is going to really help; the only thing that will is time. 

"It's becoming a little bit easier, even though you know – yet again – you've missed a big chance to lift a possible trophy."

He added: "Maybe there's not much we can tell ourselves that we did wrong but at the end of the day, we conceded two goals in two minutes. 

"We were not there when it was necessary and we were not focused enough. It was not enough. That is the blame we give ourselves."

Gundogan, a second-half substitute in the second leg against Madrid, has won eight major trophies with City – but European silverware continues to elude him and the club.

That could soon become nine trophies as City will be crowned Premier League champions for a fourth time in five years if they win their remaining three matches.

City have been pushed all the way by Liverpool, who they have battled it out with for domestic honours over the past few seasons, though the rivalry remains relatively peaceful.

That is a far cry from the days when matters would often boil over both before and after matches between title rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

Gundogan, who also won the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund in 2011-12, insists football has moved on in recent years.

"Those kind of rivalries don't really exist anymore in modern football," he said. "For some people who are more old school you know, that might be bad. 

"The game is not like, I don't know, 20-30 years ago, with people on the pitch killing each other and intentionally trying to injure. 

"That's not how we want the game to be. I want fairness. I want respect. Just because there's a rivalry we don't need to kill each other on or off the pitch."

Sadio Mane has been speculated as a potential Ballon d'Or winner in recent weeks.

And the Liverpool forward is also gathering speculation about his club future.

The 30-year-old helped Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations in February and has netted 15 goals in Liverpool's Premier League title challenge.

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SWOOP FOR BAYERN TARGET MANE

Barcelona are ready to swoop in to sign Liverpool's Mane amid reported interest from Bayern Munich, Mundo Deportivo claims.

The Senegal international is reportedly interested in a switch and is moving into the final 12 months of his Liverpool contract.

Barcelona have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland who will join Manchester City and are determined to land an elite forward this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry is drawing attention from several clubs, with Real Madrid among the clubs interested, according to Fichajes.

- Newcastle United have made contact with Philippe Coutinho about a move, reports Goal. Coutinho is currently on loan with Aston Villa from Barcelona.

- The Guardian claims that West Ham United are plotting an off-season move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins. Villa would demand a £50m fee for the forward.

- Manchester United and Newcastle are both interested in signing Napoli's Victor Osimhen, claims Calciomercato. Napoli want 100m euros (£85.5m) for the Nigerian forward.

- Super Deporte claims that Sevilla are interested in a transfer for Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe.

Paul Dickov says Erling Haaland will complement Manchester City despite the array of talent already there, propelling them to a higher level.

Ending months of speculation on Tuesday, City confirmed Haaland's transfer from Borussia Dortmund has been agreed in principle.

Meanwhile, City are in the box seat to win their second consecutive Premier League title and sixth in ten years, level with Liverpool atop the table but with a game in hand.

Dickov, who played for the Sky Blues alongside Haaland's father Alf-Inge, spoke exclusively with Stats Perform and believes the 21-year-old striker will help City progress even further under Pep Guardiola.

"They won it last year without having an out-and-out centre forward," Dickov said. "I know it's so tight this year, but as we stand at the minute, it's a little bit of an advantage to Manchester City - they've shown they can do it without signing one.

"I think if Erling Haaland had been in this team this year, City would have been out of sight weeks ago, and so on. It's scary to think about it, but it's going to take them to a completely different level now.

"I've followed Erling a long time, obviously, the connection I've got with his dad, and the improvement from his first time for Dortmund to now. His all-round game even in the last season or so, for somebody that's only 21, the maturity of the game management, it shows when he went there, there was an out-and-out goal scorer that he is now."

 

The Norway international has scored 28 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions despite an injury-interrupted campaign.

Irrespective of the talent-packed squad City already have and Guardiola's setup, Dickov is confident Haaland will fill the void up front for City, who were strongly linked with Harry Kane last season.

"The people can argue against that and say City scored five at the weekend, a couple of weeks ago against Watford, four against Leeds, you know, but they have been missing that out and out number nine," he said.

"I think any player that comes in to Manchester City, it's a new way of playing for them. A new style, they've got quality players within there already, and I look at Erling's improvement.

"With players like De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, and you could go on and on, but the amount of chances that they do create, they've just needed an out-and-out finisher to do it and Erling Haaland is one of the best in the world."

Jurgen Klopp believes despite Erling Haaland's individual quality, Manchester City will improve him and not the other way around.

Liverpool's Premier League title rivals confirmed on Tuesday they have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for Haaland's transfer.

The 21-year-old has scored 28 goals in 29 appearances for Dortmund this year and will be expected to fill the void up front for City, who were strongly linked with Harry Kane last year.

Klopp was quick to suggest that while Haaland is an undeniable talent, the nature of City's play under Pep Guardiola means they are more likely to transform the Norwegian striker than adjust to him.

"City was never and will never be a team that wins games because of one player," Klopp told reporters after seeing his Liverpool team beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday.

"There's a specific way to play, and I think Erling will realise he will score a lot of goals on the second post if he just puts a foot onto it.

"He will love that, and now we have other situations where he's a real beast. He was now injured a couple of times at Dortmund but when he's a fit he's a real beast. Unfortunately, a really good signing."

Liverpool momentarily moved level on points with City atop the Premier League following their triumph at Villa Park, but the defending champions play their game in hand against Wolves on Wednesday.

Page 5 of 110
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.