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Manchester City closes in on Premier League title

updated 6:27 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Edin Dzeko scored twice as Manchester City moved to within touching distance of the Premier League title.
Edin Dzeko scored twice as Manchester City moved to within touching distance of the Premier League title.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City moves to the top of the Premier League
  • City can clinch league title on Sunday after 4-0 win over Aston Villa
  • Edin Dzeko scores twice with Stevan Jovetic also on target
  • City faces West Ham on Sunday in final game

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(CNN) -- A blue moon is rising.

While its rival stumbled at the final furlong, Manchester City held its nerve and claimed the three points which it so badly craved.

A 4-0 victory over Aston Villa -- a win which helped take its goal tally to 100 in this season's Premier League, came following a frustrating first half in which the visiting side held firm.

In the end, it was Edin Dzeko who finally made the breakthrough, scoring twice in eight minutes to settle the nerves before further strikes from Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure sealed the win.

City will now go into Sunday's final home with West Ham with its destiny firmly its own hands.

A draw will be sufficient to win the title -- but a defeat would allow Liverpool to snatch the crown should it overcome Newcastle at Anfield.

"It was very difficult," City defender Pablo Zabaleta told Sky Sports.

"If you don't score early, sometimes it can be hard, but the key was we worked hard, we found space and we stayed patient.

"It was a very solid performance, nothing is won yet but it was very important to win here tonight.

"It was a massive step forward but there is still one game to play. West Ham has nothing to play for but they have some very good players and can score goals.

"The spirit is great here, the players work very hard, we kept the belief when we were in third place and now we are here. We have a great chance and hopefully on Sunday we can celebrate the title."

The margin of victory against Villa would scarcely have been imaginable at halftime with Villa proving stubborn in defense.

City, which dominated the opening 45 minutes, failed to find a way past a resolute visiting side.

Having watched Liverpool slip up at Crystal Palace, where it contrived to throw away a three-goal lead, it would have been understandable for City's frustration to surface.

Instead, it stepped up a gear and when Dzeko fired home Zabaleta's cross from close-range, the shackles were released.

The Bosnian tapped home a second when Brad Guzan failed to hold Samir Nasri's effort and Jovetic added a third with a minute of normal time remaining.

There was still time for Toure to rampage through the midfield and beat Guzan to notch his side's fourth and City's 100th of the season.

"We played good football in the first half, they didn't have any chances but the manager said just to be calm and we would get what we wanted," added Dzeko.

"When the team defends with 10 players in the box, it's always about the first goal. It was very important. Once we got it, gaps opened up and we scored more."

Manuel Pellegrini's men will now prepare for West Ham with the title within touching distance.

Elsewhere, Sunderland confirmed its place in next season's Premier League with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Jack Colback and Fabio Borini secured the points for Sunderland, which had looked doomed only weeks ago.

The result means Norwich City requires a last-day miracle to survive relegation.

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