Sterling shines as Man City stretch lead

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring against Bournemouth on Saturday. AFP

Manchester City moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League as Raheem Sterling inspired a 3-1 win over Bournemouth, while Crystal Palace clinched a crucial 2-0 victory over relegation rivals Burnley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side racked up their sixth successive league win thanks to a second half surge after Bournemouth shocked the Etihad Stadium.

City hold a significant lead over second placed Liverpool, but they can close the gap back to two points if they beat Everton in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Sunday.

It was a landmark moment for former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola, who said: “My 400th win as a manager? I didn’t know that. Congratulations Pep!”

Guardiola left City’s record goal-scorer Sergio Aguero out of the squad, but even the Argentine star’s absence couldn’t halt the champions’ momentum.

City had scored 40 goals in their previous 13 league games and it took them just 16 minutes to shatter Bournemouth’s resistance as Bernardo Silva bagged his second goal of the season.

Leroy Sane’s shot was saved by Asmir Begovic, but Silva was on hand to tap into the empty net.

City were stunned in the 44th minute when Callum Wilson headed Bournemouth’s equaliser from a Simon Francis cross.

But the leaders restored order in the 57th minute as Sterling continued his mastery of Eddie Howe’s team.

Sterling netted from close-range after Begovic spilled Danilo’s shot, making it eight goals in six league appearances against Bournemouth for the City winger.

Ilkay Gundogan put the result beyond doubt when the German finished a fine move involving Bernardo Silva and Sane in the 79th minute.

At Selhurst Park, Palace ended their eight-game winless league run at the expense of fellow strugglers Burnley.

Roy Hodgson’s team finally ended their drought from open play in bizarre fashion when James McArthur’s 16th minute cross was missed by players from both teams, hit the far post and trickled into the net.

Andros Townsend’s 77th minute curler ensured Palace would win for the first time since September and condemn third bottom Burnley to a seventh successive league game without a win.

Brighton conceded the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, but Chris Hughton’s team recovered to win 2-1 at 10-man Huddersfield.

Leicester won for just the second time in seven league games as Watford slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium, with Jamie Vardy and James Maddison scoring for the Foxes.

West Ham ended Newcastle’s three-match winning run as Javier Hernandez struck twice in a 3-0 victory at St James Park.

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Sterling shines as Man City stretch lead

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