Belfast Telegraph

Edin Dzeko has once again shown his worth to Manchester City

By Steven Beacom

So close. Manchester City are now just a point away from the Premier League title – their second in three seasons.

Just like when they became champions in 2012, they'll have to clinch it on the final day, but this time around their supporters should not have to wait until the final seconds to celebrate.

Even if Sergio Agueroooooooo isn't fit for the weekend showdown at home to West Ham, City really ought to become champions again.

They don't even have to win – thanks to their vastly superior goal difference, improved considerably by last night's ultimately convincing 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.

A draw will do.

Surely they can't throw it away now, can they?

Especially after hitting their 100th league goal in such spectacular style courtesy of the awesome, athletic figure of Yaya Toure, who finished the scoring in injury time.

If Toure is at his breathtaking best on Sunday, he could probably beat West Ham on his own!

Liverpool fans must only have faint hope in their hearts now that the 24 year wait for a championship will end this weekend.

The Reds could humiliate Newcastle 10-0 on May 11 at Anfield and it will still not be enough unless their former players Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Joe Cole somehow inflict a hammer blow on Manuel Pellegrini's men.

Miracles can happen, such as Sunderland avoiding relegation, but Brendan Rodgers and his players will know we have entered mission impossible territory.

The title was in their hands.

It's firmly in City's grasp at the moment. The bottom line is that the Blues have come on strongest in the closing stretch.

After Liverpool lost at home to Chelsea, City followed it up by winning at Crystal Palace.

And then when Liverpool let a three-goal lead slip to only draw at Selhurst Park on Monday night, the Etihad outfit were good enough to take advantage again.

In a campaign filled with twists and turns, last night City twisted the knife having eventually turned on the power to see off a resolute Aston Villa.

After an hour and a bit the home fans were feeling anxious.

Crucially, the players were not, continuing to pass and probe searching for the golden opportunity to break the deadlock and take control.

It came on 64 minutes when a cunning pass from David Silva released rampaging full-back Pablo Zabaleta and his cross was turned in by the alert Edin Dzeko.

How superb has the Bosnian forward been in the run-in, scoring vital goals at Palace, Everton and ending Villa's stout resistance?

With Vincent Kompany, Toure and Aguero so influential in the City side, Dzeko can often be overlooked but remember it was his injury time equaliser against QPR two years ago that gave them the chance to win the game and title through the little Argentine. Once more, he has netted important goals en route to further glory.

Last night he hit his second moments after his first following excellent play from Zabaleta and from then, despite the visitors hitting the bar, City coasted.

Substitute Stevan Jovetic made it 3-0 before Toure ran from inside his own half, powering past defenders and smashing home a sensational strike to climax a magnificent evening for the City supporters.

They should savour an even better one on Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph

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