MANCHESTER, England - Manchester City are within touching distance of the Premier League title after overwhelming Aston Villa 4-0 yesterday to close to within a point of the championship.
Villa resisted until the 64th minute at a sodden Etihad Stadium, but a quick-fire Edin Dzeko brace put the hosts ahead and late goals from Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure took City's goal tally to 100 in the league.
City's victory eliminates third-place Chelsea from the title race and means that they will be champions for the second time in three years if they avoid defeat at home to West Ham United on Sunday.
Manuel Pellegrini's side lead Liverpool by only two points, but they can afford to draw on the final day because they have a goal-difference advantage of +13 over Brendan Rodger's men, who host Newcastle United.
While Liverpool and Chelsea have slipped up spectacularly in recent weeks, City have now won four games in succession, and they will have Chelsea's Premier League record of 103 goals in their sights against West Ham.
In his programme notes, City manager Pellegrini had demanded "focus and complete concentration" from his players, and despite the absence of injured top scorer Sergio Aguero, they quickly forced Villa back.
David Silva had an early penalty claim dismissed after being clipped by Ashley Westwood, while Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan had to save at his near post from Aleksandar Kolarov and block a close-range Toure effort.
Vincent Kompany headed wide after beating Guzan to a corner and Samir Nasri curled off-target following a one-two with Silva, but as the nervousness among the home support grew, so Villa began to threaten.