LONDON: Raheem Sterling scored a stunning 96th-minute winner as Manchester City dramatically edged Southampton 2-1 early this morning to preserve their eight-point lead at the Premier League summit.
Pep Guardiola’s side looked set to drop points after Oriol Romeu cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener, only for Sterling to give City a 19th straight win in all competitions and a club-record 12th successive win in the league.
It was Sterling’s third late winner in as many games and will have sickened second-place Manchester United, who had closed to within five points of the leaders by winning 4-2 at Watford on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and upwardly mobile Burnley, while Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Everton beat West Ham United 4-0 in front of Sam Allardyce, who is poised to become their new manager.
Everton remain the last team to have avoided defeat against City, having drawn 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium in August, although Wolverhampton Wanderers took them to penalties in the League Cup.
City went ahead in the 47th minute against Southamptom when Virgil van Dijk, under pressure from Nicolas Otamendi, diverted De Bruyne’s free-kick into his own net, with the Belgian midfielder awarded the goal.
Romeu levelled with 15 minutes to play when Sofiane Boufal helped the ball into his path and the Southampton midfielder hammered a shot in off the crossbar. But with time almost up, Sterling exchanged passes with De Bruyne and curled a glorious shot past Fraser Forster to send Guardiola into raptures on the touchline.
Third-place Chelsea belied the first-half dismissal of manager Antonio Conte for dissent to win 1-0 at home to Swansea City courtesy of a 55th-minute header by defender Antonio Rudiger.
Mesut Ozil shone on his return to Arsenal’s starting XI after illness as Arsene Wenger’s men thrashed Huddersfield Town 5-0 to tighten their grip on fourth place.
Alexandre Lacazette set Arsenal on their way to a 12th straight home league win by finishing from Aaron Ramsey’s flick in the third minute.