City’s hopes of catching Premier League champions Liverpool may be over, but they cannot afford to let their foot off the gas with the FA Cup semi-final and Champions League resumption now firmly in view, with Pep Guardiola’s side having plenty left to play for this season. Brighton meanwhile are not quite mathematically safe, but kick-off this evening eight points in front of the relegation zone and know that a victory will ensure they will be playing Premier League football again next season.
Watford and West Ham both secured important victories earlier in the day to help their own survival campaigns, while Norwich’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed thanks to Michail Antonio’s incredible four goals, while Liverpool were held 1-1 in the only 3pm kick-off against Burnley. Chelsea lost the early evening kick-off at Sheffield United in a game that has plenty of repercussions in the battle for European football next season. Follow the action live:
City are now just the 21 points behind Liverpool, though oddly their goal difference (+57) is considerably better than that of the champions (+49). They've scored 91 goals in the Premier League now, and look on course to break the 100 mark.
And that's it! Another emphatic, stylish, clinical victory from City, with a hat-trick for Raheem Sterling. It's been some response to that defeat at Southampton last weekend. Five past Newcastle, five past Brighton. And their next opponents, Bournemouth, are probably dreading their trip to the Etihad on Wednesday. Brighton are not the first team to have been heavily beaten by City, and they'll probably put this down as an unavoidable night to forget.
GOAL! Brighton 0-5 Manchester City (Sterling) 81 min
A bizarre goal for Sterling to bring up his hat-trick. He races onto a pass, lifts the ball over Dunk and then competes with Webster for the high ball a few yards out from goal. Sterling goes to ground and the ball strikes him on the head on its way down, deceiving Ryan and rolling in at the near post. Not a typical Sterling goal, but a Sterling goal nonetheless.
78 min: Almost another brilliant City goal. Silva plays a superb first-time pass over the Brighton defence for Mahrez, who rounds Ryan but delays his shot and slams his finish against the side netting under pressure.