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City post big win in title race, but Guardiola cautious

Manchester City have chalked up another big win in their hunt for an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title, with Phil Foden continuing his career-best scoring season with two goals in a 4-0 thrashing of Brighton.

But manager Pep Guardiola remains cautious.

Foden's first-half double on Thursday night came between goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Julian Alvarez as City extended their unbeaten run in the league to 18 games and trimmed the gap to leaders Arsenal to one point.

City have five games remaining - one more than Arsenal - and, on current form, are showing no signs of slipping up in the final stretch that still contains trips to Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Tottenham as well as home matches against Wolverhampton and West Ham.

Win all five of those games and City are the champions again. No team has ever won four successive top-flight titles in the history of English soccer.

Since a 0-0 draw with Arsenal at home on March 31, City have won four straight league games and scored 17 goals in the process.

Guardiola's team kept up that hot streak without the injured Erling Haaland - the league's joint-top scorer with 20 goals - and that allowed Foden to potentially join the race for the Golden Boot.

It's 16 goals for the campaign and 24 in 48 games in all club competitions this season for Foden, who delivered another clinical display in front of England coach Gareth Southgate at Amex Stadium - seven weeks out from the start of the European Championship.

De Bruyne's diving header from Kyle Walker's right-wing cross gave City the lead in the 17th and Foden made it 2-0 in the 26th when his shot from a free-kick deflected in off the back of Brighton midfielder Pascal Gross.

Foden added a third in the 34th by curling home a low finish from just inside the area after Brighton lost possession attempting to play out from the back.

Alvarez, starting up front in place of Haaland, slotted in for 4-0 in the 62nd after Walker was given space to roam down the right wing and cut inside before sliding in to challenge goalkeeper Jason Steele and get the ball across to the Argentina striker.

Guardiola, meanwhile, batted away suggestions City had made a statement with their comfortable win.

"The statement is three points, this is the only statement," he said.

"We arrive at 2am at home and then we fly to Nottingham for another one, we win the game, we know what we have to do to fight until the end and be champions.

"We have been here in the past but that doesn't mean that just for the fact we have been here it is going to happen (again).

"What happened with Liverpool, they dropped points in two games against Crystal Palace and Everton, can happen to us, can happen to Arsenal - no-one is safe from that."

Guardiola also played down any suggestion City's four goals could see them reel in Arsenal's superior goal difference, which currently stands at eight better off than the chasers, adding it is "difficult" to cut the gap.