Romelu Lukaku celebrates after he puts Everton ahead at Goodison Park.

Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes were handed a grievous blow yesterday as Everton’s inspired Romelu Lukaku and teenagers Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman made it another crushing afternoon for Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard suffered his biggest-ever defeat in league football after City had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and chances but paid for sloppy defending that led to the Belgian powerhouse Lukaku converting his 12th league goal of the season after 34 minutes.

Kevin Mirallas struck right after the break and excellent 18-year-old academy graduate Davies dinked a brilliant first goal for his boyhood club as City looked increasingly clueless.

Substitute Lookman, making his debut at 19, then completed the rout with his first touch in stoppage time, a goal that stemmed from a mistake from Everton old boy John Stones as City suffered a fourth league defeat in its last eight league matches.

Coming hot on the heels of its last loss in Merseyside at Liverpool on New Year’s Eve, City was left in fifth place — 10 points adrift of leader Chelsea, as Guardiola cut a forlorn figure on the bench.

On Saturday, Chelsea and West Both, both missing their talisman, won their games 3-0. West Ham, which beat Crystal Palace, went public with Dimitri Payet’s bombshell that he wants to leave and is refusing to play. Chelsea’s Diego Costa reportedly was involved in a row with manager Antonio Conte.

Marcos Alonso, starting in place of Costa, scored two goals with Pedro Rodriguez heading in the third.

Elsewhere, Swansea lost at home to Arsenal 0-4, Burnley edged Southampton 1-0, Hull beat Bournemouth 3-1, and Sunderland lost 1-3 to Stoke.

Shanghai Daily

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