Gabriel Jesus scored four goals as Manchester City beat Watford 5-1 to open a four-point lead in the Premier League title race, while Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-1 to take control of the race for fourth place.
City are five games away from defending their title but manager Pep Guardiola has warned they will have to win everyone over to prevent Liverpool from ending the season.
Guardiola could afford the luxury of making six changes for the visit of the Hornets, who are returning to the Championship.
Jesus, who was heavily linked with a summer move to Arsenal this week, was one of those recalled to the starting line-up and gave Guardiola a tough call to make in his selection for visiting Real Madrid at the Etihad on Tuesday in the first leg. Champions League semi-finals.
The Brazilian took just four minutes to open the scoring with a tap-in from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross and doubled City’s lead as he headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s wicked ball into the box.
Hassane Kamara’s fine strike briefly gave Watford hope, but Rodri’s superb volley quickly restored City’s two-goal cushion.
Jesus scored his first Premier League hat trick from the penalty spot and had to thank De Bruyne for another perfect assist as he exploded in his fourth.
Guardiola could then afford the luxury of removing De Bruyne, Rodri and Aymeric Laporte to keep them fresh to face Madrid.
Liverpool have the chance to close the gap at the top to one point when they host struggling Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
The other Manchester side are likely to miss out on Champions League football next season after Arsenal ended a miserable week for United at the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta’s men enjoyed a quick start as Nuno Tavares opened the scoring after just two minutes before Bukayo Saka’s penalty kick made it 2-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to the United side after missing Tuesday’s 4-0 humiliation against Liverpool due to the death of his newborn son.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner kept the visitors in the game by scoring his 100th Premier League goal before half-time.
But United fans will wonder why Ronaldo handed the blame to Bruno Fernandes when the Red Devils were awarded an hour-marked penalty.
Fernandes hit the post and Granit Xhaka rubbed salt on United’s injuries with a searing strike to seal a win that put Arsenal three points ahead of Tottenham, who travel to Brentford later on Saturday.
United remain sixth, now six points behind the Gunners, and caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick has admitted their hopes of a top four finish are now over.
“For me, even before this game it wasn’t very likely, but after today’s result, the top four are gone,” Rangnick said.
Newcastle’s fine form since being able to spend the Saudi sovereign wealth fund money in January continued as Joelinton scored twice in a 3-0 win at bottom of the Norwich table.
Bruno Guimaraes was also on target as the Magpies moved up to ninth place.
Leicester and Aston Villa played out a goalless draw at the King Power.