Manchester City beat Arsenal 4-1 on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium in one of the most anticipated fixtures in the recent history of the Premier League. Before the game, the two teams had managed to lose just seven of a combined 62 English top-flight matches this season.
Arsenal entered the night five points clear of City in the standings. However, the Gunners have played two extra matches compared to their foes. Arsenal also stubbled into Manchester, as they failed to record a league win in each of their previous three matches. That included a brutal 3-3 draw against bottom-of-the-table Southampton. City, on the other hand, had only dropped points in the league once since early February.
De Bruyne the catalyst for City over Arsenal in Premier League decider
The hosts went ahead early in the game thanks to a solo goal by Kevin De Bruyne in the seventh minute. Erling Haaland, typically the team’s dynamic goalscorer, won an aerial duel against Rob Holding and neatly placed a pass to his Belgian teammate.
De Bruyne then dribbled down the pitch and slotted passed a diving Aaron Ramsdale from outside of the box. The Arsenal keeper may be disappointed to be beaten from long range without much pace on the ball. It was De Bruyne’s seventh career Premier League goal against the Gunners.
After peppering Ramsdale’s goal for most of the first half, City doubled their lead just before the halftime break. John Stones latched on to a free kick into the Arsenal box with a header to beat Ramsdale. The goal was originally ruled out for offside, but VAR intervened to make the correct call. Replays showed Ben White actually played Stones onside when De Bruyne delivered the ball.
The dynamic duo of Haaland and De Bruyne linked up once again in the 54th minute to add another goal for City. De Bruyne picked up a loose ball in the middle of the pitch and found Haaland racing toward goal. The superstar striker then once again gave the ball back to his midfield teammate near the Arsenal box. De Bruyne ultimately placed a low shot through Rob Holding and by Ramsdale.
Holding would pull a goal back for the visitors with four minutes remaining in the game. Substitute Leandro Trossard made a quality run into City’s box before being stripped of the ball. Nevertheless, Holding pounced on the opportunity and fired a shot into the back of the net. It was only the defender’s second career Premier League goal.
Haaland breaks modern EPL scoring record
Haaland would finally get his goal deep into added time. Despite the match result already being taken care of, the goal would be a significant one. Haaland now has 33 Premier League goals this season. This breaks the 38-game Premier League single-season scoring record previously held by Mohamed Salah.
The victory now gives City control of their destiny in the Premier League. City can even lose an English top-flight match and still be in control of the title race. The loss will certainly sting Arsenal and put a major dent in their quest for a title, but the north London club has at least qualified for a Champions League spot for the first time since a runner-up finish in 2015/16.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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