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De Bruyne keeps Man City flying, Arsenal win derby

© AFP / by Tom WILLIAMS | Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus heads the ball during their match against Leicester City at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 18, 2017

LONDON (AFP) - 

Manchester City retained control of the Premier League title race after fine goals by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne secured a 2-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday.

Jesus and De Bruyne struck either side of half-time at the King Power Stadium as Pep Guardiola's ruthless side registered a 16th successive victory in all competitions.

Champions Chelsea climbed to second place with a 4-0 win at West Bromwich Albion in which Eden Hazard scored twice, while Arsenal engineered an impressive 2-0 win over derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

City provisionally moved nine points clear at the top of the table, although Manchester United can trim their lead back to eight points if they beat Newcastle United in the day's late game.

City captain Vincent Kompany made his first league start since August following his latest calf injury, but fellow centre-back John Stones was forced off in the first half with an apparent hamstring problem.

Jesus tapped in David Silva's pass on the stroke of half-time after a slick move involving De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

De Bruyne added a brilliant second four minutes into the second half when he completed an electrifying break by rifling a glorious left-foot shot into the top-left corner from outside the area.

Chelsea piled the pressure on West Brom manager Tony Pulis with a breezy win at The Hawthorns, where Antonio Conte's side secured the title last season.

Alvaro Morata put Chelsea ahead in the 17th minute after Ben Foster saved from Hazard and the Spaniard's flick freed Hazard to round Foster and double the visitors' advantage six minutes later.

Marcos Alonso slammed home at the back post from Cesc Fabregas's free-kick in the 38th minute and Hazard completed the scoring just after the hour.

Quick-fire first-half goals by Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez earned Arsenal a richly deserved victory over Tottenham in the north London derby.

"They had the urgency, the desire and the focus," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of his players.

"In a derby like that, that plays a part. We didn't lose the defensive focus for 90 minutes."

- Salah top scorer -

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino felt, with justification, that the free-kick that led to Mustafi's goal should not have been awarded and that Mustafi had been offside.

"You saw what happened during the game," Pochettino told Sky Sports at the Emirates Stadium.

"I'm disappointed because the small details were against us, which makes it difficult to win."

It was Arsenal's first league victory over Spurs since March 2014 and left them a point below their local rivals in sixth place.

Liverpool are level on points with Arsenal in fifth after a routine 3-0 home win over Southampton at Anfield.

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah scored two first-half goals -- the first a magnificent curler -- to become the Premier League's leading scorer on nine goals, with Philippe Coutinho adding a third.

High-flying Burnley also sit on 22 points after Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes scored in a 2-0 home win over second-bottom Swansea City.

Bottom club Crystal Palace were twice pegged back in a lively 2-2 home draw with Everton, for whom David Unsworth remains in charge on a caretaker basis.

James McArthur's opener after 48 seconds was cancelled out by a Leighton Baines penalty and although Wilfried Zaha restored Palace's lead, Oumar Niasse levelled again on the cusp of half-time.

Callum Wilson netted a hat-trick as Bournemouth moved clear of the relegation zone by beating Huddersfield Town 4-0.

Harry Arter also found the net for Bournemouth, who were untroubled by the dismissal of defender Simon Francis in first-half injury time for two bookable offences.

by Tom WILLIAMS

© 2017 AFP