In Thursday’s top-of-the-table match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City took a significant step toward retaining the Premier League title with a dominant 4-1 victory over leaders Arsenal. Kevin De Bruyne scored twice for Manchester City.
City were outstanding right from the start of the match, terrorizing Arsenal’s defense with De Bruyne and Erling Haaland in what was predicted for weeks to be the likely title decider.
Seven minutes into the game, De Bruyne scored the goal that gave Pep Guardiola’s team the lead with a side-footed finish from 20 yards that beat Aaron Ramsdale at his near post. Before John Stones headed in a free kick from De Bruyne in the first half of stoppage time to give the game a scoreline that more accurately reflected City’s superiority, Haaland had several opportunities to increase City’s advantage.
Nine minutes into the second half, De Bruyne scored his second and City’s third to put Arsenal out of the game with a low finish past Ramsdale. Haaland at last got the objective his play merited profound into added time, after Rob Holding had scored the merest of encouragements for Arsenal.
Arsenal is still the best team, but they are only two points ahead of City, who have two games left. Even if Arsenal wins, City, chasing a fifth title in six years, can now afford to lose one of their remaining seven games and still win the league.
Additionally, the chances of a historic treble-winning season for the blue half of Manchester continue to increase with the upcoming FA Cup final against Manchester United and Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid.
Mikel Arteta’s team, which has only three points from their last four games as the longtime leaders have faltered at a crucial point in the season, has a very different outlook. Furthermore, since Arteta took over as Arsenal manager after serving as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, the Gunners have lost all seven games against City.
With William Saliba again missing from the focal point of Arsenal defence, one of the central issues going into the game was the way Rob Holding would adapt to the exceptional Haaland.
Within the first ten minutes, that question received an emphatic response. Haaland was able to control a long ball forward and lay it off into the path of De Bruyne with minimal resistance from Holding. The Belgian forward continued his advance and scored with a low shot that Ramsdale probably should have done better with.
The only unanswered question is why City did not score more goals to demonstrate their dominance during the first half. De Bruyne saw one more exertion impeded by Ben White, while Haaland had two shots denied by brilliant recoveries from Ramsdale and put another only wide of the post.
When Arsenal thought they might only be down 1-0 at halftime, City finally increased their lead.
Stones was initially flagged for offside as he headed in De Bruyne’s precise delivery to the far post, returning to the center of a more conventional four-man defense with Kyle Walker replacing the injured Nathan Ake. Be that as it may, a VAR check showed the Britain global was obviously being played onside, permitting the objective to stand.
At the beginning of the second half, the hosts showed no sign of slowing down.
Ramsdale stopped Haaland’s second attempt, but De Bruyne was playing more skillfully despite the Norwegian’s unusually wasteful play in front of the goal. A low shot through Holding’s legs by City’s chief creator, again set up by Haaland following an Arsenal giveaway, ended the game as a contest, if there ever was one.
Guardiola was sufficiently agreeable to give De Bruyne a rest with 10 minutes left. Before Haaland put an exclamation point on the scoreboard with his 33rd goal of the season in the Premier League, Holding’s skillfully executed shot past Ederson with four minutes left was the tiniest of blips.