Man City thrash Luton 5-1 to put pressure on title chasers

Champions Manchester City provisionally climbed to the top of the Premier League table after thrashing lowly Luton Town 5-1 on Saturday, with Daiki Hashioka scoring an own goal off his face and Erling Haaland netting his 20th league goal of the season.

Pep Guardiola's men have 73 points with six games remaining in a rip-roaring three-way title race, two points ahead of both Arsenal and Liverpool, who can climb over City with victories in their respective games on Sunday. Relegation-threatened Luton Town are 18th, a point away from safety.

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"For a few hours [we are top]," Guardiola told the BBC. "[Sunday] they have to play, all we can do is win our games and if we cannot do it we congratulate them."

City got on the scoreboard inside 70 seconds after Jeremy Doku's shot was deflected to Haaland, whose volley smashed hard off Hashioka's face and into the net.

Mateo Kovacic's goal was his first in the Premier League this season.
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Although the game was played almost exclusively in Luton's defensive third, however, the visitors defended fiercely and the floodgates did not open for City until Mateo Kovacic scored in the 64th minute, picking the ball up on the edge of the box and firing into the top corner.

Haaland extended his league scoring record with a penalty in the 76th after Doku was taken down in the area.

Ross Barkley capitalised on a City defensive blunder to pull one back in the 84th minute before Doku's shot into the far corner after a dazzling dribble made it 4-1. Josko Gvardiol completed the rout seconds before the final whistle.

"Incredible guys," Guardiola said of Kovacic and Gvardiol. "Everyone has permission to score and it's so important."

City totally dominated the match with 73.7% possession and bombarded the visitors with 37 shots to their four.

"Today was always going to be very difficult... I don't want to sound defeatist, but almost made peace with it at the beginning," Luton manager Rob Edwards said. "We stayed in the game as long as we could.

"I'm proud of the lads, they gave everything. No one likes losing 5-1, but [City] are a brilliant football team. They suffocated us. It was a long day for us today."

Arsenal host Aston Villa on Sunday and Liverpool host Crystal Palace.

City have no time to rest on their laurels as they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday. The teams drew 3-3 in the opening leg. They then head to Wembley on Saturday for an FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea.