Manchester City slump to fourth after defeat at Villa, Liverpool win

AFP

Champions Manchester City lost further ground in the Premier League title race when they went down 1-0 at Aston Villa on Wednesday after Liverpool beat bottom club Sheffield United.

Leon Bailey's deflected strike after a surging run in the 74th minute sealed Villa's club record-equalling 14th successive home league win as they moved above City into third place.

City, who have now gone four league games without a win, could have few complaints as they were comprehensively outplayed in all departments by Unai Emery's side in Birmingham.

It was Emery's first victory against a Pep Guardiola side at the 14th time of asking.

Liverpool eased to a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United for whom Chris Wilder was back in the technical area after returning on Tuesday following the sacking of Paul Heckingbottom.

Virgil van Dijk's first-half volley and a late effort by Dominik Szoboszlai were enough for Juergen Klopp's side who closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to two points.

Arsenal, who enjoyed a last-gasp 4-3 win at Luton Town on Tuesday, have 36 points from 15 games with Liverpool on 34, Villa on 32 and City in fourth spot on 30 points.

Manchester United bounced back from the weekend defeat by Newcastle United with Scott McTominay's double securing a 2-1 victory against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The pressure is mounting on Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper after his side slumped to a 5-0 defeat at Fulham while Bournemouth eased further clear of the relegation places with a 2-0 victory at sliding Crystal Palace.

Eighth-placed Brighton & Hove Albion beat Brentford 2-1.

Guardiola spoke confidently ahead of the Villa game of City's quest for a record fourth successive Premier League title -- predicting his side would come out on top.

But Wednesday's display will have given fresh impetus to all the clubs attempting to stop them.

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