By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City extended their winning sequence to 17 and their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points with a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on Saturday as Manchester United were held 2-2 at Leicester City and champions Chelsea suffered a goalless stalemate at Everton.
Pep Guardiola’s City slickers began their unprecedented run of domestic league triumphs away to Bournemouth in August when a 97th-minute winner from Raheem Sterling sealed the points.
They found the south coast side an easier nut to crack this time with Sterling again on target as City continued to turn the title race into a procession.
Sergio Aguero also scored twice and Danilo completed the rout as record-breaking City reached Christmas with 55 points and 60 goals.
They have now scored 101 goals in 2017, becoming the first top-flight team to do so in a calendar year since Liverpool netted 106 throughout 1982.
City are 13 points ahead of Manchester United, who were criticized by manager Jose Mourinho for “childish” mistakes in defense and attack after conceding an equalizer in the fourth minute of added time at Leicester.
Two goals by Juan Mata had put them in front after Jamie Vardy’s 50th Premier League goal for the home side, and Leicester’s Daniel Amartey was sent off.
But with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard having missed clear chances and Chris Smalling limping, United allowed Harry Maguire to poke home Marc Albrighton’s cross.
“It was an easy match to win,” Mourinho said. “Childish in their box and childish in our box, we were punished.”
Chelsea, three points behind United, were left frustrated at a misty Goodison Park after 25 goal attempts came to nothing.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane also continues to rewrite records, with his seventh hat-trick of the year in all competitions firing his side to a 3-0 win at Burnley that put the Londoners back above their hosts, and Arsenal, into fifth.
Kane struck a first-half penalty and produced two clinical finishes after the break to equal Alan Shearer’s record of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year set in 1995.
Arsenal and fourth-placed Liverpool drew 3-3 on Friday.
At the other end of the table Newcastle United ended a run of nine league games without a win to beat West Ham United 3-2 at the London Stadium and move out of the relegation zone.
Marko Arnautovic opened the scoring for West Ham but Henri Saivet, Mo Diame and Christian Atsu were on target for the Magpies who moved up to 15th with 18 points, a point ahead of West Ham who slipped down to 17th.
Stoke City arrested their worrying slide down the table to beat second-from-bottom West Bromwich Albion 3-1 while bottom club Swansea City, who sacked manager Paul Clement this week, drew 1-1 at home to Crystal Palace.
Bournemouth joined West Brom and Swansea in the drop zone.
Brighton and Hove Albion eased their relegation fears as Pascal Gross scored the only goal against Watford to give the Seagulls a first win in eight games. Watford have now lost four in a row and five of their last six.
Huddersfield Town remained comfortably in mid-table as they came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Southampton.
City needed 27 minutes to take the lead against Bournemouth and it was fitting that Aguero was the man to score it with a diving header as he registered his 100th home goal for the club.
“This side are always trying to find the striker,” Aguero said. “I only have to score the goal!”
City are unbeaten at home in 2017 and when Sterling made it 2-0 shortly after halftime for his 12th league goal of the season it was just a matter what the winning margin would be.
Aguero headed his second and substitute Danilo joined the party within three minutes of coming on.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar/Ian Chadband/Rex Gowar)