Manchester City arrived at the Etihad Stadium to heroes’ welcomes on Sunday following confirmation of their fifth Premier League title in six years.

City’s lead at the top of the table became insurmountable when closest challengers Arsenal were beaten at Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening.

That meant Sunday’s encounter with Chelsea became a celebratory occasion regardless of the result.

City fans gathered in large numbers at the entrance to the stadium as the team arrived for the 4pm kick-off.

Blue flares were let off and the players were greeted with chants of ‘champions’ as they stepped off the bus.

City’s title success, sealed with three games to spare, could be the first leg of a glorious treble for Pep Guardiola’s side, with FA Cup and Champions League finals to come next month.

Nikola Jokic remains "worried" about the Denver Nuggets' chances of reaching the NBA Finals despite Saturday's Game 3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, warning LeBron James is "capable of everything".

Jokic combined with Jamal Murray to guide the top-seeded Nuggets to a 119-108 win at Crypto.com Arena, giving them a 3-0 series lead and putting them on the brink of a first NBA Finals appearance.

The two-time NBA MVP added 24 points to Murray's game-high 37, leaving Denver heavily fancied to advance ahead of another road game on Monday.

However, Jokic is unwilling to start the celebrations early, saying: "To be honest, I'm not going to say that I'm scared, but I'm worried.

"Because they have LeBron on the other side, and he is capable of doing everything. 

"We're going to come here with the same mindset, same focus, and I think that's going to put us in a situation to win a game.

"We never know. They're going to be aggressive. Of course, they're going to be extra physical. 

"They're going to run more, everything is going to be on a different level, more of anything. So, we will see."

Murray echoed his team-mate's cautious tone, stressing the importance of the Nuggets remaining grounded. 

"We're just keeping everybody in the moment, not letting it slip away," Murray said.

"You need 16 wins to win a championship and we've got five more to go and the Lakers are in our way, and they are going to do everything in their power to come back and fight."

James finished Game 3 with 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds but missed with 11 of his 19 shots, including four of six in the fourth quarter.

Despite the Lakers' season hanging by a thread, the four-time NBA champion is refusing to give up hope.

"We've got to get one, just get one at a time," James said. "Just focus on Game 4, that's all you can think about. 

"Obviously, this game is over with. We had some opportunities and we didn't come through. It's a one-game series for us."

Erik ten Hag praised Manchester United’s collective efforts defensively after David de Gea collected the Golden Glove award for the goalkeeper with the most Premier League clean sheets.

United’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth brought De Gea his 17th shut-out of the campaign, taking him clear of Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, as well as helping the team to within a point of Champions League qualification.

De Gea has been at fault several times this season, most recently in gifting West Ham a goal in a 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium and as the team crashed out of the Europa League against Sevilla.

Yet against Bournemouth he gave a reminder that his shot-stopping ability and reflexes remain undiminished, making three excellent saves from Dominic Solanke, David Brooks and Kieffer Moore to preserve United’s lead.

Ten Hag agreed that De Gea has been a key factor in the team’s defensive record, which is the third best in the league, but emphasised it has been a group effort.

He also singled out central defenders Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane in helping United to back-to back clean sheets that have now virtually secured their place in the top four.

“A clean sheet is always very important to be successful in a season,” said Ten Hag.

“I think it’s telling something about our structure, our plan, and it’s telling also something about dedication from the team. The belief they had in this plan and how they execute it.

“Of course we have some individual great players in pressing, in the defending. In the end also a very good goalkeeper who will save you in one-on-ones and shots.

“If you’re talking about clean sheets, it’s across the whole team, but centre-halves are very important.

“I think they played a really focussed game, really well defended, but I think over many games in April and May it’s Victor together with Rafa is doing great; positioning, duelling. Very good.”

United’s win was secured courtesy of Casemiro’s brilliantly improvised goal in the ninth minute, hooking the ball into the roof of the net after Christian Eriksen’s fine cross had deflected off defender Marcos Senesi.

The victory at the Vitality Stadium did not find the visitors at their best but nevertheless Ten Hag said he was impressed with his side’s work with the ball in Bournemouth’s half, particularly in the opening 25 minutes.

“We emphasise a lot and we train a lot (that) it’s about the movements when we are in the final third,” he said.

“The movements of course have to come first from the front line, second line just behind, but also from the third one with full-backs, with Casemiro coming from there.

“The movement is great (for the goal), the touch from Christian Eriksen I think is great, and the finish is brilliant.”

River Tiber preserved his unbeaten record and booked his ticket to Royal Ascot with a convincing win at Naas.

Aidan O’Brien’s son of Wootton Bassett was sent off the 2-9 favourite for the Coolmore Stud Calyx Race on the back of an impressive 10-length demolition job at Navan on debut – and although momentarily under pressure when Ryan Moore asked his mount to quicken, River Tiber soon exerted his dominance to win going away by two and a half lengths.

O’Brien was delighted with the performance, believing the outing will provide the perfect education ahead of his trip to Ascot next month, and River Tiber heads the market for the Coventry Stakes at the big meeting with Coral going 3-1 and both Paddy Power and Betfair a shade shorter at 11-4.

“I was very happy and very happy that we ran him. He hadn’t been asked to do anything off the bridle at home, then he went to Navan and won very easily in soft ground so he probably doesn’t know a lot,” said O’Brien.

“It was good strong pace today on good ground and before Ascot it’s very important that they do that.

“Ryan had to catch a hold of him and make him get down and stretch, he would have learned an awful lot and he was very happy with him. We were delighted.

“I thought that he might not even come off the bridle as he shows loads at home. Ger’s (Lyons) horse (Tourist, second) is obviously a good horse, he took him off the bridle.

“Ger’s was second to one of ours (Johannes Brahms) here the last day and we liked him as well.

“He’s a horse to look forward to. We thought he would be a Coventry horse.

“We have three Wootton Bassetts, it’s the first time we’ve had them, and two of the colts are very good. It’s unusual that two colts were good out of the three.

“He’s always shown loads, but very much always on the bridle doing his work and before you go to Ascot you have to take them off it and teach them. Hopefully that’s the job done for him now.”

When asked about the quick ground for the winner he added: “Ryan said he had no problem with it.

“Everyone said that the Wootton Basssetts handle soft ground very well so I wasn’t sure about it, but Ryan was very adamant that it was no problem.

“It’s good ground there and you won’t get much quicker at Ascot.”

The Jockey Club is taking every possible precaution to prevent the Betfred Derby at Epsom being disrupted by protesters, saying it has “robust security measures” in place.

The Grand National at Aintree was delayed a little over 10 minutes by animal rights group Animal Rising, with attempts to disrupt the Scottish National at Ayr the following weekend thwarted by police and security staff.

Epsom is owned and run by the Jockey Club and meetings with Surrey Police have taken place to make sure everything possible is done to ensure the two-day fixture runs smoothly.

However, the vastness of the area which needs securing, including public areas where people do not require tickets, presents obvious challenges. A handful of protesters made it onto the track before last year’s race, but were swiftly dealt with.

Nevin Truesdale, chief executive of the Jockey Club, said: “As part of our planning for the Derby Festival, we have been working with Surrey Police to ensure we have a range of robust security measures in place to protect the safety of everyone at the event, especially our equine and human participants, which will always be our number one priority.

“While we completely respect anyone’s right to peaceful and lawful protest, we would condemn illegal and reckless plans to breach security in an effort to disrupt the action on the track and endanger the safety of the participants in the strongest possible terms.

“Thousands of people look forward to attending the Derby every year and millions more will be watching at home and around the world, so we look forward to staging what is not only an important event for the sport but an iconic moment in the British summer and a celebration of the Thoroughbred.”

Skipper James Tavernier celebrated his 400th competitive appearance for Rangers with the opening goal in a 3-1 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at Easter Road.

The Gers right-back beat Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall with a 30-yard free-kick in the 33rd minute and Ianis Hagi doubled the visitors’ lead in the 55th minute with his first goal since January 2022, before his lengthy knee injury absence.

Todd Cantwell added a third in the 88th minute before Hibs defender Paul Hanlon reduced the deficit in added time.

The defeat leaves Lee Johnson’s side four points behind fourth-placed Hearts and six behind Aberdeen, with European places potentially available up to fifth place in the league as long as Celtic beat Inverness in the Scottish Cup final

Hibs host Celtic on Wednesday before the Edinburgh derby against Hearts on the final day of the season.

Rangers, with second place guaranteed, finish the campaign with a home game against Hearts before travelling to St Mirren on the last day of the season.

Michael Beale already had a lengthy injury list when he confirmed before the game that defender Connor Goldson was ruled out for 10 weeks, the problem unspecified.

However, the Gers boss made only two changes to his starting line-up with Hagi in for Rabbi Matondo and 19-year-old centre-back Leon King replacing Goldson for his first start since November

Tavernier had the Hibs defence in trouble with a series of early corners in which defender John Souttar’s header came off the crossbar and King’s header blocked inadvertently by Gers midfielder Ryan Jack.

Hibs, unchanged from last week’s draw at Aberdeen, worked their way into the game but Rangers remained the more dangerous, a neat move ending with striker Fashion Sakala forcing a save from Marshall with a low drive.

The home side began to cope better with the Ibrox threat and in the 23rd minute striker Kevin Nisbet came close with a header from an Elie Youan cross, after the Hibs wideman had got the better of Tavernier.

However, the Gers captain made a more marked impression on the game after Cantwell was fouled wide on the left by CJ Egan-Riley.

With most expecting a cross into the middle, Tavernier curled the ball in at the near post with Hibs captain Marshall slow to get across and unable to keep the ball out the net.

The Easter Road side took some time to recover but might have levelled in the 41st minute when Nisbet’s wonderful curling pass found Josh Campbell at the back post but the midfielder could only hit the side-netting on the stretch.

Early in the second half, Gers keeper Robby McCrorie, who had looked unconvincing, was out of position when Nisbet’s close-range header floated just past the post, just before Scott Arfield replaced the injured Gers midfielder Nicolas Raskin.

Rangers’ second goal came from Tavernier’s long ball into the box which was headed down by Sakala and although Hagi’s first effort was blocked by Hanlon – it looked as though the ball hit the arm of the Hibs defender – the Romania international drove in at the second attempt.

Marshall saved another effort from Sakala and the other end, Nisbet headed substitute Ewan Henderson’s corner against the post – it was not going to Hibs’ day.

In the 79th minute Marshall tipped a John Lundstram drive over the bar before Cantwell prodded in from close range to seal the points after the Hibs keeper failed to deal with a Tavernier effort, with Hanlon netting a consolation goal for the hosts when he headed in a corner in the third of four added minutes.

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell was delighted to see Max Johnston named as the Scottish Football Writers’ Young Scottish Player of the Year.

The wing-back has impressed since returning from a loan spell with Cove Rangers in January.

The 19-year-old saw off competition from St Johnstone left-back Adam Montgomery, Dundee midfielder Lyall Cameron and Albion Rovers winger Charlie Reilly.

Kettlewell said: “An amazing accolade and thoroughly deserving of it in my opinion.

“I saw a stat recently about the number of young players in Scotland under the age of 21 that get the opportunity to play. I pay testament to the young lad, Dylan Smith, out there for Ross County, he comes on, 16 years old. Lennon Miller for us came on the park at 16. James Furlong, 19, Max Johnston, 19.

“There’s not an awful lot of players playing an awful lot of football. It was something that was brought to my attention. I am a huge believer in it.

“We have to get a balance right with trying to produce our own and trying to filter through our own players so I am delighted that Max has got that award but I am also delighted that it shows that process of academy players earning the right to play, the achievements that can come off the back of it.”

Ross County manager Malky Mackay hopes there are serious discussions about the use of VAR in Scottish football this summer – but he fears they could come too late for his side.

Mackay was frustrated to see his side get a penalty award rescinded at Fir Park on Saturday after referee Euan Anderson blew quickly following Calum Butcher’s challenge on Connor Randall just as George Harmon was about to shoot.

And his mood was exacerbated when Keith Watson was penalised for handball to allow in-form Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen to net the only goal 10 minutes into stoppage time, which kept County in the cinch Premiership bottom two.

The ball brushed off Watson’s hand as Jonathan Obika was looking to get a shot away but Mackay feels his side have been the victims of a series of harsh calls.

“Common sense seems to have gone from the situation,” he said.

“We got one against us at Dundee United that skims a pinkie – it was ridiculous. When we played Celtic, we got one against us that skimmed a shoulder and nobody claimed for.

“The bar has been changed in Europe because there was an appeal in the Champions League that wasn’t even looked at.

“But here, every time the ref goes to the monitor they don’t stand by their decision. They are changing it and there is nobody saying, ‘I’ve seen it in real time’.

“I would hope there are internal discussions between the refs, the supervisors and the SFA. The referees’ reputations are being spoken about every week.

“And I would hope the clubs are involved as there is a lot of discord and the clear and obvious thing isn’t working properly.

“Could it come too late for us? Yeah, completely, and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

County were edging out of the danger zone until the penalty but they have a chance to take advantage of relegation rivals Dundee United and Kilmarnock playing each other on Wednesday while they host St Johnstone.

County then travel to Rugby Park and Motherwell could have a major say in who goes down when they host United next Sunday.

The Steelmen have already beaten Kilmarnock since the split and manager Stuart Kettlewell is delighted to see his side maintain their standards.

“I would never want anyone to label at me or the club that we have taken our foot off the pedal and start trying to swan about a football pitch and think we are owed something in this game, because that can come back and bite you,” he said.

“We have worked hard all week to make sure that’s where our mindset is and I can assure people that will be the same for the last two games as well.

“It’s going to be a tough fight at the bottom and we have to play our part so the natural order takes its place and if we do that we can finish off a difficult season well.”

Hugo Palmer describes Hackman as “the fastest two-year-old I’ve ever had anything to do with” as he eyes up a tilt at Sandown’s National Stakes with his Chester winner.

Success on the Roodee is a given for the tenant of Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables and having hit the crossbar with the fittingly named Balon D’Or in the Lily Agnes, it was Hackman who got Palmer and the former England international Owen on the scoresheet at Chester’s May Festival with a taking display over five furlongs.

Having advertised his blistering speed on that occasion, his handler will now keep the precocious son of Mehmas at five furlongs for his next start, with stablemate Balon D’Or potentially moving up in trip for the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom on June 2 despite also holding an entry for Sandown on Thursday.

Palmer explained: “The initial feeling with Balon D’Or was to go to the National Stakes and we still might. But the speed Hackman showed and the knowledge that Balon D’Or really is ready for the step up to six furlongs, we might just wait a week for the Woodcote with Balon D’Or and then run Hackman in the National.

“It’s a stiff five and he has always showed so much speed my initial worry would be will he get the five furlongs? But he got five furlongs in ground that was very soft at Chester, so you would hope he would stay. He’s the fastest two-year-old I’ve ever had anything to do with.”

Royal Ascot is on the agenda for both Hackman and Balon D’Or and Palmer is hoping both talented youngsters can get their tickets to the summer showpiece stamped via their next assignments.

He continued: “It’s the same for every speedy early-season two-year-old but I would be hopeful that if Hackman could win the National we would head to the Norfolk and if not we would probably go to the Windsor Castle.

“Similarly with Balon D’Or, if he won the Woodcote, the Coventry would very much be on the radar for him, but he also has the Windsor Castle as an option as well.

“I hope they will very much be involved at Ascot but we will see – they have to step forward and they have to perform on their next starts.

“It is all very jolly saying we’ll go to Royal Ascot, but the also-rans enclosure is a very boring and lonely place at Royal Ascot so we have to go there thinking we can be competitive. There is nothing more dreary than waking up on the Tuesday of Royal Ascot excited about your chances and realising you are 100-1.”

Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes has urged his players to take responsibility ahead of a decisive week in their battle to avoid relegation.

Killie were beaten 1-0 at home by St Johnstone on Saturday and McInnes was left frustrated after seeing his team concede a goal from a set-piece, Saints captain Liam Gordon heading home after 11 minutes.

The Rugby Park outfit now head into their final two league fixtures lying 10th in the cinch Premiership – a point ahead of Ross County and three ahead of rock-bottom Dundee United.

Their last two matches see them travel to Tannadice to face United on Wednesday, before wrapping up their campaign with a home fixture against County.

“It’s not just effort and performance, to get results you need discipline, calmness, composure at the right times and need to keep that sense of what is in front of you,” McInnes said.

“There is also a sense of responsibility, and nothing illustrates responsibility more than set-plays.

“We need to go to Tannadice, we’ve beat them up there in the cup and they beat us in the league – so there’s a performance in us.

“A win there would do everyone the world of good, we need big performances and a lot of responsibility to try get the job done.

“Tenth is where we are, and we need to do so much to remain there.

“We’ve got it all to do clearly, but we want to make sure that on Sunday, coming here to play Ross County, that we are on the back of a positive result and it’s all to play for.”

McInnes admits that losses for both Dundee United and Ross County on Saturday came as a slight consolation in the aftermath of their defeat to St Johnstone.

It means that Kilmarnock’s fate remains in their own hands, and the Killie boss has set his sights on winning a three-way battle for survival.

“I deliberately didn’t know even when I addressed the players the scores for the other teams,” he added.

“You automatically assume that someone has gained on you but it’s another game down and two games to go.

“We’re sitting in 10th spot and as I said a few weeks ago, 10th is first for us.”

St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean heaped praise on the impact of Cammy Ballantyne in their crucial win at Kilmarnock.

The midfielder was handed his Premiership debut at Rugby Park, his first appearance for Saints since returning from a loan spell at Montrose in January.

“He’s been great all week and since I took over,” MacLean said.

“I showed him little bits and pieces on Friday morning and told him he was going to be playing, I don’t think he expected it to be honest.

“I’m delighted for him. I’m just disappointed his dad couldn’t get off work and his girlfriend wasn’t there but he was fantastic. It’s up to him to kick-on now.”

Westover will be given the chance to erase his Epsom demons when he returns to the Surrey Downs for the Coronation Cup.

Ralph Beckett’s charge was somewhat an unlucky loser in the Derby 12 months ago when seeing his passage up the home straight blocked as Sir Michael Stoute’s Desert Crown was charging towards the winning post.

Westover had to settle for third on that occasion, but did get a Classic in the bag when romping to victory in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on his next start.

Although disappointing in the King George, the Juddmonte-owned Frankel colt ran an encouraging race on unsuitable ground in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and then made a fine reappearance when bumping into the imperious Equinox in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

That Meydan second was the near-perfect way to kick off Westover’s four-year-old campaign and his trainer is now looking forward to “physically a more mature horse” returning to Epsom on June 2.

“We are not really going back because we feel we have unfinished business, it is more so that Epsom clearly suited him last year,” said Beckett.

“He handled the track really well for a big horse. It is more the fact I’m looking forward to taking him back there as much as anything else.

“As long as we are in the right place with him then I will be happy. I think inevitably he is physically a more mature horse this year and you can see that in him.

“I think in the long term going to Dubai will make a difference. We will look back at it in helping make him the horse that he is.

“His work has always been good but it has never been stunning. I would be fairly relaxed about what happens at home now.

“It is important that he reaches his ceiling on the track. Whether he has I’m not entirely sure.

“You would hope that he would be a better horse this year because of his size but he has already run to a pretty high level. In that sense it is about maintaining that progression.”

Following the Coronation Cup, the Kimpton Downs handler is eyeing further middle-distance riches and is even toying with the idea of a drop back to 10 furlongs for Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse – where Westover could lock horns once again with his Derby conqueror Desert Crown.

“What I would really like to do, if he were to win the Coronation Cup, would be to drop him back to 10 furlongs for the Eclipse,” continued Beckett.

“He likes Sandown. He won his maiden around there as a two year old and the Classic Trial last year.

“I think the track really suits him. I’d be keen to go back to a mile and a quarter there as it would really play to his strengths.

“It would probably be the only time we go a mile and a quarter this year, but that would depend on whether he won or not at Epsom as he would need to win realistically to go to the Eclipse.”

Andy Murray has withdrawn from this year’s French Open, the PA news agency understands.

The second grand slam of the year begins next week, but after struggling to find his best form on clay in recent weeks, the Scot will prioritise a busy grass-court schedule in the build-up to Wimbledon.

Murray was beaten in the first round of the Italian Open and earlier this week made another early exit on clay after losing to Stan Wawrinka at an ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux.

The 36-year-old is understood to still be considering which tournaments to target and they may include Surbiton from June 4-11 and then Queen’s from June 19-25. Wimbledon is scheduled to start on July 3.

Murray had struggled for his best form on clay after proving he was physically in condition to take on the world’s best players with some marathon matches at the Australian Open at the start of the year.

The former world number one, bidding to revive his career after major hip surgery in 2018, came through two five-set victories over Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis before losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

Murray beat Tommy Paul in the final of the ATP Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence at the start of this month – his first title in nearly four years – after first-round exits in Monte Carlo and Madrid.

But that was followed by his disappointments in the Italian Open in Rome and another Challenger event in Bordeaux.

Andy Murray has withdrawn from this year’s French Open, the PA news agency understands.

The second grand slam of the year begins next week, but after struggling to find his best form on clay recently, the Scot will prioritise a busy grass-court schedule in the build-up to Wimbledon.

Murray was beaten in the first round of the Italian Open and earlier this week made another early exit on clay after losing to Stan Wawrinka at an ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux.

Rangers boss Michael Beale has revealed defender Connor Goldson is out for 10 weeks.

The 30-year-old missed the cinch Premiership clash with Hibernian at Easter Road on Sunday with an unspecified injury although he recently had a hip flexor problem.

With the league campaign finishing next week, Beale is hoping to have Goldson back for next season although the timeframe makes things tricky with regards to the Champions League third qualifiers beginning on August 8/9.

Before the game against Hibs, Beale told RangersTV: “We have lost Connor and that will be for the next 10 weeks or so.

“We won’t see him until pre-season. But it’s a big opportunity for Leon (King), playing alongside John (Souttar) as a Scottish centre-half pairing with Robby (McCrorie) behind them, there is lots to be optimistic about with that triangle and I am looking forward to a strong performance from those guys.”

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