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Even after a weekend in which Manchester City produced the worst performance of the Premier League’s top four, the defending champions moved closer to winning a fourth title in five years.

City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his side was the second best on the field on Saturday, despite coming from behind to beat 10-man Arsenal 2-1 with a 93rd minute winner that gave City its 11th consecutive league victory.

As Guardiola’s men have hit their stride, Chelsea and Liverpool have run out of steam, turning a tight three-horse race into a procession.

Struck down by coronavirus outbreaks and injuries, the two challengers for City’s crown threw themselves into a titanic battle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but a 2-2 draw did little for either side’s hopes of reeling in Man City.

City’s advantage now stands at 10 points over Chelsea, with Liverpool a further point back with a game in hand.

“It’s a big gap, so they have the title maybe to lose at the moment,” said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, one of the players forced into a swift return to action after testing positive for COVID-19.

“We just have to get results, play good football and win games. It sounds pretty easy, but it’s tough.”

The gap could grow even wider in the coming weeks, as Chelsea and Liverpool continue to tackle their own issues.

Both are involved in two-legged League Cup semifinals over the next two weeks, despite calls from managers for the ties to be switched to one-off games.

In addition to that, Chelsea dropped Romelu Lukaku, its record signing, for Sunday’s game after he gave an explosive interview with Italian media in which he revealed his displeasure with how his first season is going.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was also absent after testing positive for COVID-19 along with Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip.

The Reds will now have to play without their top goalscorers — Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane — for up to a month due to their international commitments at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will lose goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the same tournament, while first choice wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell could be out for months with injuries.

“How should we compete in a title race?” Blues boss Thomas Tuchel complained earlier this week after his side was forced to complete all of its December matches, while 18 other Premier League games were called off due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Even if Tuchel and Klopp’s men recover their early season form, City’s relentless consistency shows no signs of slowing down.

City has averaged a total of 95 points in each of Guardiola’s three title-winning seasons in England and is on course to hit that mark again.

“We showed our champion mentality, we never give up,” midfielder Rodri said after his late strike at Emirates kept City’s winning run alive.

“We know how tough it is to win the Premier League and we are not going to drop it. We don’t look at the others much and winning 11 games in a row, it shows that we are focused on ourselves.”

With City in a league of its own, the title race has quickly fizzled out into a familiar fight just to join it in next season’s Champions League.

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