Manchester City build Premier League lead

Sports Desk, Jan 30 (efe-epa).- Manchester City eked out a 1-0 win Saturday over last-place Sheffield United to consolidate their position atop the Premier League.

Setting a club record with their 12th consecutive victory in all competitions, the hosts had 75 percent possession and outshot the Blades 10-4, but only managed to put one past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Ferran Torres chased down a deep ball into the box and beat two defenders before passing to Gabriel Jesus unmarked in front of the net. The Brazilian’s abortive first touch prompted Ramsdale to dive, allowing the striker to fire over the keeper on the second try, giving City the lead in the 9th minute.

Ramsdale went on to deny Jesus on two other occasions, one of them in stoppage time, making a total of five saves to keep the Blades in the game.

Sheffield, fresh off their morale-boosting 1-2 upset of Manchester United, gave a good account of themselves. Their best chance fell to John Fleck, whose strike in the 86th minute went just wide.

Pep Guardiola’s men go to 44 points. Sheffield United are on 8 points, 10 from safety

Second-place Man United trail their “noisy neighbors,” who have a game in hand, by 3 points after battling Arsenal to a scoreless draw on Saturday at the Etihad in London.

The visitors had significantly more of the ball, but each side put three shots on target in a contest that saw plenty of action though only a handful of serious chances.

Edinson Cavani was the main threat for United, forcing a save from Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno before firing wide on another opportunity. Alexander Lacazette came closest for the Gunners, hitting the cross-bar with a free kick from just outside the box.

Arsenal newcomer Martin Odegaard, just acquired on loan from Real Madrid, came in as a sub for the final 10 minutes.

Earning a point was enough for Arsenal to move ahead of London rivals Chelsea and the Gunners ended the day in ninth place.

Ahead of Arsenal in the eighth spot are Aston Villa, who nipped Southampton 0-1 on Ross Barkley’s goal in the 41st minute as the 11th-place Saints lost their third Premier League match in a row.

Danny Ings got an equalizer for the hosts in stoppage time, but the goal was disallowed for offside and VAR upheld the decision.

Southampton coach Ralph Hassenhüttl complained afterward about the disallowed goal as well as an incident in the first half where a shot from Stuart Armstrong brushed the arm of Villa’s Matty Cash.

The Saints thought they should have a penalty for hand ball, but the referee waved it off and a VAR check showed the ball struck Cash’s leg before hitting his arm.

Farther down the table, Crystal Palace prevailed 1-0 against a Wolverhampton team desperately missing injured star Raul Jimenez.

Wolves have won just once in the Premier League since the Mexican international suffered a fractured skull in November, even so, they came into the match at London’s Selhurst Park off a draw with Chelsea, while Palace were anxious to avoid a fourth consecutive league defeat.

Michy Batshuayi fired high over the net on an opportunity to give the hosts the lead late in the first half.

Wolves had a chance to go up 10 minutes into the second half only for Palace keeper Vicente Guaita to tip Willian Jose’s effort over the bar.

What would prove to be the game-winner materialized at the hour mark as Eberechi Eze beat Wolverhampton keeper Rui Patricio with a low strike from inside the area.

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