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Premier League

Man City win against Burnley tightens the Premier League table

Aguero wheels away after scoring (Image: Man City via Getty Images)

In a title race of the finest margins, how fitting it might end up being decided by a matter of millimetres.

It took goal line technology to declare Sergio Aguero’s shot had crossed the line by 29.51mm, less than three centimetres and just over an inch.

That highlights just how close this incredible battle is between Manchester City and Liverpool in what has become the best, most unrelenting and unforgiving title race in Premier League history.

It will be remarkable if Liverpool finish the season on 97 points and still do not win it but City are on course to go one better with now just Leicester and Brighton standing in their way.

City are such a remarkable team that they refuse to surrender, they refuse to give an inch and they refuse to hand back the trophy they won in such style and 19 points ahead of second place last year

This time, Liverpool have pushed them and City respond every time which is the hallmark of true champions as they come through every examination with a win at a time when nothing else will do.

It was City’s 12th straight win, they will have had harder games and yet this was a test in its own right. It was tense and exciting because, as the clock ticked down, you began to wonder whether they would slip up.

Burnley defended brilliantly and Sean Dyche took great delight afterwards in the fact that Pep Guardiola brought on two defenders and told his players to take the ball into the corners to see the game out.

City never remotely looked in danger of conceding at Turf Moor but equally they were laboured in the first half, lacking their usual zip and fluidity. They really miss Kevin De Bruyne’s guile and invention on days like these.

Burnley, already safe from relegation, sat deep in defence and their fans chanted proudly: “Anti football – we’ll play how we want.” The pitch was dry and the ball was hardly skidding all over the place but no complaints from Pep Guardiola afterwards. Just relief.

City’s one moment of anxiety came in the first half when Chris Wood went through, took a heavy first touch and keeper Ederson raced off his line to smother the ball. At the other end, Aguero, David Silva and Bernardo Silva all went close.

By half time, City fans were probably just beginning to get a little twitchy in the away end. Mind you, this lot have a habit of leaving it late so there was no need to panic. And Guardiola’s half time team talk clearly worked wonders because City stepped up a gear after the break.

Bernardo should have had a penalty after 48 minutes when his shot hit Ashley Barnes’ arm and video replays suggested the Burnley striker had moved towards the ball. Burnley keeper Tom Heaton then made a brilliant save from Bernardo and you began to wonder.

That changed after 63 minutes when Bernardo teed it up for Aguero who used his strength to hold up the ball, then turned before firing a powerful shot towards goal.

Burnley full back Matt Lowton dived across, tried to block the ball on the line and it looked as if he had done it until suddenly referee Paul Tierney reacted and pointed back to the centre circle. The technology decreed that the ball had crossed the line.

That makes it the fifth consecutive season Aguero has scored 20 or more in the Premier League. He truly is a Premier League legend and only the second player after Thierry Henry to achieve that record and consistency.

The visitors nearly got a second after 75 minutes when Kyle Walker’s brilliant cross field pass found substitute Gabriel Jesus who controlled the ball brilliantly, rounded Heaton and then saw what looked a certain goal cleared by Burnley man of the match Ben Mee.

It was a little nervy at the end but, having been pushed all the way by Liverpool this season, City are strong enough to see it through and this is surely a huge and possibly decisive step towards the title.

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