A decisive turn in the Prem race

May, 7, 2012
05/07/12
8:39
AM ET

Manchester City moved closer to its first top-flight title since 1968 as it defeated Newcastle United 2-0 on Sunday in the penultimate round of the Barclays Premier League. City and Manchester United, which also won 2-0 over Swansea City, are tied with 86 points each, but City is ahead due to a superior goal difference.

Here is a statistical look back at this weekend's action:

• The Premier League title race has previously been decided on the final day of the season five times and that bodes well for City, which leads United on goal difference by eight. The team leading going into the final day has won the title on all five occasions. This could be the first time the Premier League winner is decided by a tiebreaker as the top two teams have never finished level on points in a Premier League season. City can also become the first team in Premier League history to win the title after trailing by three points with three matches to play.

• According to ESPN's Soccer Power Index, City is an 88.3 percent favorite to win the title based on Sunday's results. United will close the season away to Sunderland, while City hosts Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

• City goalkeeper Joe Hart collected his 17th shutout of the season, the most of any goalkeeper in the Premier League. Hart also led the league in shutouts last season with 18.

• American Clint Dempsey continued his torrid goal-scoring form for Fulham in its 2-1 win over Sunderland. Dempsey became the first American to reach 50 Premier League goals when he scored on a 12th-minute free kick. It was the 17th league goal of the season for Dempsey, who has scored 11 goals in the past 18 Premier League games for Fulham.

• Arsenal's Robin van Persie, who scored twice against Norwich City in a 3-3 draw on Saturday, is one match away from securing the Golden Boot as top goal scorer in the Premier League this season. He is the first 30-goal scorer in England's top flight since Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 for Manchester United in the 2007-08 campaign. Van Persie can tie or break the goal-scoring mark in a 38-game season, which is shared by Ronaldo and Alan Shearer, who also scored 31 for Blackburn Rovers in 1995-96.

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