Manchester City are only two points head, there are six games remaining, but we know we have seen this movie before

At the final whistle the Emirates Stadium was already half empty, the home crowd streaming out into the Sunday gloom. Mikel Arteta could be seen striding across the turf to applaud the empty pink-red seats, or least those who had remained in theirs right to the end of an afternoon that had kicked off to raucous club anthems, tongues of fire on the touchline, choreographed victory-vibes.

At the far end the Aston villa players hugged and cheered and waved at a wildly exuberant away end, a wonderful moment in Villa’s own season. Their 2-0 victory here will go a long way towards ensuring the club gets to travel among the European elite next season. Otherwise, as the light faded to cold spring pewter above the lip of the stand, there was a sense of day having turned a decisive shade of sky blue.

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