With a brilliant 3-1 victory against Arsenal, Manchester City seized the initiative in the Premier League title battle and moved the defending champions over the Gunners in the standings here at the Emirates Stadium.
Erling Haaland’s 26th goal of the season and a goal from Jack Grealish in the 72nd minute secured a victory for Pep Guardiola’s team in a thrilling match that lived up to its hype at the Emirates Stadium.
Earlier, Bukayo Saka’s penalty (42), awarded after Ederson was adjudged to have fouled Eddie Nketiah, had cancelled out a goal by Kevin De Bruyne (24), who had scored after a weak Takehiro Tomiyasu backpass resulted in a stunning first-time finish over Aaron Ramsdale.
After a strong start, Arsenal, without Thomas Partey due to a muscle injury, deserved to draw level, but City took advantage of Arsenal’s previous mistakes against Everton and Brentford to put pressure on Mikel Arteta’s team in the second half.
Despite Partey’s absence, Jorginho made his full debut for Arsenal. After surviving a nervous moment when Haaland decided to cross rather than shoot from a Riyad Mahrez cross, the hosts created the game’s first real scoring opportunity when Nketiah headed Oleksandr Zinchenko’s diagonal cross wastefully wide.
City was given a break, and they brutally seized it in under two minutes. At right-back, Tomiyasu was chosen in place of Ben White, and he missed his backpass to Ramsdale. De Bruyne sneaked in and beautifully lifted his finish over the helpless goalie.
Haaland, who had been cleared to play after having an injury scare during City’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa, then put the game away. The Norwegian forward expertly handled De Bruyne’s cut-back before putting his 26th Premier League goal of the season low over Ramsdale and into the far corner.
Nketiah headed another attempt wide for Arsenal, but their destiny had already been decided by that moment. City’s experience and clinical advantage had made the difference in a thrilling match that might have altered the outcome of the Premier League title race.
The loss brings Arsenal’s winless streak to three games and shifts the momentum in favour of a City team that appears to have been inspired by the accusations made against them by the Premier League. Despite having played one more game, they top the standings on goal differential. (ANI)