Manchester City 5-1 Luton Town

Manchester City 5-1 Luton Town. Manchester City moved top of the Premier League for at least a day with a predictably dominant victory over struggling Luton Town.

City led after only 65 seconds at Etihad Stadium when Erling Haaland’s wayward volley hit Luton’s Daiki Hashioka before flying into the net.

It took City more than an hour to double their lead through Mateo Kovacic’s sweet, rising strike from near the edge of the area.

Haaland put the game beyond any doubt with a penalty after Jeremy Doku was fouled by Fred Onyedinma.

Just after City made a double change, Ross Barkley took advantage of a Matheus Nunes mistake to pull one back for the Hatters.

But Doku cut in from the left to slot a fine solo goal into the bottom corner.

The impressive Doku set up City’s fifth as he picked out Josko Gvardiol, who slammed a beauty into the top corner – the defender’s second goal in a week having not scored for City before that.

City are two points clear at the top, although Liverpool – at home to Crystal Palace – and Arsenal, who host Aston Villa, can move back above them on Sunday.

Luton remain in the relegation zone.

City have done something they have not managed yet this season, winning a league game without Rodri.

The influential midfielder has missed three league games this season through suspension, the only three defeats City have experienced in the league.

He said he needed a rest after Tuesday’s 3-3 Champions League quarter-final thriller with Real Madrid and manager Pep Guardiola obliged. Rodri was on the bench but City did not need him.

Ederson was back in goal after a month out and he had a comfortable afternoon to ease back into the action.

It was a comfortable afternoon for everyone in a light blue shirt.

Haaland should have scored in the first minute when he was sent one-on-one by Kevin de Bruyne. His shot was saved by Thomas Kaminski and his follow-up was going wide before being deflected in by Hashioka, who was almost knocked out by the effort.

It was non-stop pressure and dominance from City, who lived in Luton’s defensive third, but it took them until their 27th shot to double their lead through Kovacic’s half-volley from Julian Alvarez’s cross.

Haaland looked set for another frustrating afternoon in front of goal until Doku was chopped down by Onyedinma, and the Norwegian converted a penalty for his 20th Premier League goal of the season.

After Luton pulled one back, Doku again took on Onyedinma – who this time dared not lunge in – before finding the bottom corner.

Gvardiol netted a fine goal in Madrid on Tuesday and got another in stoppage time from Doku’s pass.

How long defending champions City remain top depends on Liverpool and Arsenal. Guardiola’s side need the pair to slip up at least once in the closing weeks.

Not the game for Luton to target
Luton are now a point behind Nottingham Forest in the battle to stay up after Forest’s 2-2 draw with Wolves.

But this was never a game manager Rob Edwards would have expected something from.

The Luton fans who made the trip enjoyed themselves and made plenty of noise – these are the kind of games they would have been looking forward to, and perhaps fearful of, after last season’s promotion.

Luton managed four shots, although they were good ones with Cauley Woodrow hitting the crossbar and Barkley finishing following a stepover after a City defensive mistake.

Luton’s next game – at home to Brentford on 20 April – is huge.

source – BBC

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