Reigning champions Manchester City revived their bid to retain their title, as they hammered table-toppers Arsenal 4-1 in their title showdown at the Etihad Stadium.
The match burst to life in the early stages as Kevin de Bruyne curled in a beauty past Gunners shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale, off an assist from Erling Haaland to put the Cityzens in the lead.
Manchester City went close to doubling their advantage several times in the first half. Ben White did well to block an effort from Kevin de Bruyne in the 26th minute, while Aaron Ramsdale made a save from Erling Haaland two minutes later.
John Stones made it 2-0 in first half stoppage time, after heading in a free-kick from Kevin de Bruyne. The goal was initially disallowed, but after consulting the VAR, referee Michael Oliver gave the goal because an offside was incorrectly flagged during the attacking phase.
The second half saw Manchester City score a third through Kevin de Bruyne, who got his brace of the evening. Arsenal defender Rob Holding pulled one back for Mikel Arteta’s side but the league’s top scorer Erling Haaland powered home a fourth in injury time in what was his 33rd PL strike of the campaign.
Manchester City have now cut the lead between themselves and Arsenal to two points, with two games in hand. The Gunners can only hope for a miracle in the title race but can finish the season strong by reaching the UEFA Champions League group stages next campaign.
🔴 Live Blog:
FULL-TIME AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal (E. Haaland)
90+4′ MIN: Erling Haaland wraps things up with his 33rd goal of the campaign.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal (R. Holding)
88′ MIN: Rob Holding reduces the deficit for the Gunners.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal (K. De Bruyne)
54′ MIN: Kevin De Bruyne at the double! The Belgian slots under Aaron Ramsdale, with Erling Haaland again providing the assist.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal
HALF-TIME AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal (J. Stones)
45+1′ MIN: John Stones doubles the Cityzens advantage, off a Kevin de Bruyne free-kick. The goal was initially disallowed, but after consulting the VAR, referee Michael Oliver gave the goal because an offside was incorrectly flagged during the attacking phase.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal (K. De Bruyne)
7′ MIN: Breakthrough in Manchester! Erling Haaland feeds Kevin De Bruyne, who slots into the Arsenal net.
KICK-OFF AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM: Manchester City 0-0 Arsenal
This clash pitches the top two teams in the Premier League this season in a title-deciding fixture. Theoretically and on paper, whoever wins this massive clash, could be on their way to being crowned champions of the English top-flight division for 2022/2023.
The Cityzens can take confidence in the fact that they won the reverse fixture, and have beaten the Gunners twice this season (Premier League and the FA Cup). Pep Guardiola’s side are five points behind Arsenal in the title race, but have two games in hand. A win at home will put them in pole position to overtake the Gunners in the run-in.
As for the Gunners, an eight-point advantage has been cut no thanks to three successive draws in the Premier League. At present, Arsenal’s PL destiny no longer lies in their hands but they can seize the initiative if they can upset the odds and come away with a victory.
Arsenal have never beaten Manchester City, since Pep Guardiola took charge and they are winless in their last eleven visits to the Etihad. The task looks herculean but it is however not impossible.