By Joe Prince-Wright and Nicholas Mendola
MANCHESTER – Was this the night Manchester City won the 2022-23 Premier League title and put Arsenal in their place?
It sure felt like it. This was the first time in over two years Arsenal have dropped points in four-straight games and they have picked the worst possible time for their title bid to fall apart.
From minute one the Etihad Stadium was purring as the home fans salivated and City totally overwhelmed Arsenal.
Kevin de Bruyne scored either side of half time (Erling Haaland assisted on both) and John Stones added a crucial second before the break, while Rob Holding’s late goal was nothing more than a consolation as Haaland then broke a Premier League record with his stoppage time-goal to make it 4-1.
Arsenal froze and if it wasn’t for Aaron Ramsdale coming out on top in his personal battle with Haaland throughout the game, the scoreline would have been a lot worse for the Gunners.
Man City have now won 15 of their last 16 games against Arsenal in all competitions as Pep Guardiola made it nine wins from 10 against his former assistant coach Mikel Arteta.
With the win Manchester City move on to 73 points, two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal. Crucially, City have two games in-hand. There is still work to do but this felt like the night City pretty much secured their third-straight Premier League title.
For most of this season we thought the Premier League title race was a very close race. How wrong we were. Manchester City have beaten Arsenal 7-2 on aggregate across their two games and the 4-1 hammering they dished out at the Etihad could have been a lot more. Arsenal are missing William Saliba in defense but would he have really made a difference? Haaland and De Bruyne overwhelmed Arsenal centrally and even when Arsenal did get the ball to their star youngsters Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard, they looked like deer in the headlights and barely strung a few passes together or made a forward run. City haven’t won the title yet but this performance showed just how far ahead of everyone else they truly are.
me a few in the beginning of the season but I didn’t have my shooting boots.”
“Normally we play a little bit with two No. 8s, and he wanted a little bit control. Gundogan was more the double-six. It was difficult for Rob Holding and Gabriel to decide what to do with my runs. I was a little bit more free today.”
“What we train most of the time is high-pressing and goal kicks. Everything in between is a little bit more free. The first 45, 60 meters is pretty rigid in the beginning because you have to try to control but once you get in the opposition half it’s more freedom, and try to exploit the spaces you get because everybody does it differently.”
“We try and maintain the consistency is the most important thing. We try to put just the right emotion to compete at the best level. I know people will say it’s done and City will win but we have almost 25 percent to play in the league and Madrid. We have to be ready in another three days and maybe it’s good that we have all these games coming up.”
Source: NBC Sports