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Manchester City logo
Premier League | Gameweek 33
Apr 26, 2023 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Arsenal logo

Man City
4 - 1

De Bruyne (7', 54'), Stones (45+1'), Braut Haaland (90+5')
Dias (45+5'), Grealish (75'), Rodri (88')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Holding (86')
Partey (76')

Ruthless Manchester City cruise past Arsenal in top-of-the-table clash

Ruthless Man City cruise past Arsenal in top-of-the-table clash
© Reuters
A scintillating Manchester City seize control of the Premier League title race with a thoroughly deserved 4-1 win over a meek Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

A scintillating Manchester City seized control of the Premier League title race with a thoroughly deserved 4-1 win over a meek Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

In what had been billed as the tie to decide the destiny of the top-flight crown, Kevin De Bruyne's brace and John Stones's header put the result beyond any doubt before Rob Holding's late consolation, and Erling Braut Haaland put the cherry on the icing on the cake with seconds remaining to put City's title fate back in their own hands.

Any hopes of Arsenal ending their Etihad hoodoo were dealt a significant blow with just seven minutes gone, as Pep Guardiola's side picked the perfect time to slice apart the Gunners' press and take a wholly deserved lead.

Under pressure from Holding, Haaland easily fended off the Englishman's attention and set De Bruyne away through the middle, allowing the Belgian to shift onto his right foot and fire a stunning low strike into the bottom corner.

With the Man City press suffocating the life out of them, Arsenal could not muster up any sort of response, with City content to let the Gunners pass it around the back as they failed to make any inroads into the final third whatsoever.

John Stones scores for Manchester City on April 26, 2023© Reuters

In contrast, Mikel Arteta's men were terrified to put any sort of pressure on the ball, but thanks to a combination of Aaron Ramsdale, last-ditch defending and luck, the visitors kept the deficit as it was for longer than expected.

Ramsdale was called into action three times to deny Haaland, who also fired a whisker wide after a quick break in the 36th minute, prior to which Ben White produced a fabulous block to deny De Bruyne 10 minutes beforehand.

However, the hosts would not be made to pay for their profligacy, as Arsenal's best sight of goal saw Thomas Partey fire wide in the 35th minute, before the Gunners were dealt a sickening sucker punch just before the break.

A De Bruyne free kick to the back post was headed back across goal and in from Stones, who was initially penalised for offside, but the goal was given after a VAR review; White's toe was keeping his compatriot on as City finally struck a deserved second.

Unsurprisingly, Haaland's individual battle with Ramsdale would continue soon after the break, but the Englishman continued to come out on top, denying the Norwegian one-on-one as Ederson's ball found its way straight to the striker.

Arsenal players look dejected after Kevin De Bruyne scores for Manchester City on April 26, 2023© Reuters

Haaland would enjoy better fortunes as the provider, though, as with 54 minutes gone, Martin Odegaard gave the ball away to his international teammate, who charged at the Arsenal backline and laid off De Bruyne for his second of the match, coolly curling home low into the net.

With the result now a foregone conclusion, the game and the atmosphere fell flat as the second half progressed, but there were muted cheers from the away end in the 86th minute, as Holding - now wearing the captain's armband - curled home beautifully following a darting run inside from Leandro Trossard.

However, Haaland was determined not to end the night with fewer goals than the centre-back, as he let his hair down - literally - and netted his customary strike in the fifth and final minute of added time, slotting home low into the goal from Phil Foden's pass.

While Arsenal remain top of the pile for the time being, Man City have cut the gap to Arteta's side down to two points with two games in hand, although with Brighton & Hove Albion losing to Nottingham Forest tonight, the Gunners are now guaranteed to be playing Champions League football next season.

Next up for Man City is a trip to Fulham on Sunday, while Arsenal host faltering London rivals Chelsea on May 2.

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