Premier League: De Bruyne and Haaland scythe through Gunners’ Title hopes


Kevin De Bruyne ran the show as Manchester City thrashed Arsenal to take a huge step towards retaining the Premier League title.

Manchester City took the Premier League title race into their own hands with a 4-1 demolition job of leaders Arsenal on Wednesday.

Three straight draws saw Arsenal hand City the initiative before the Gunners’ trip to the Etihad Stadium, and Pep Guardiola’s side showed little mercy in a stunning display of dominance.

Kevin De Bruyne came to the fore, scoring either side of John Stones’ header, which City’s playmaker teed up.

Rob Holding snatched a consolation late on, but Erling Haaland ensured he had the last word with a goal that saw him break the record for goals in a 38-game Premier League season, as City made their point.

City were convinced they should have had a penalty inside three minutes, yet De Bruyne was adjudged to have fouled Thomas Partey after Aaron Ramsdale fumbled Jack Grealish’s cross.

De Bruyne was wheeling away in celebration soon after, though. Having latched onto Haaland’s superb touch, the Belgian beat Ramsdale with a sublime finish into the bottom-right corner.

White and Ramsdale denied De Bruyne and Haaland respectively as City hunted a second, before the latter drilled wide at the end of a menacing run.

Ramsdale thwarted Haaland again, but Arsenal’s resolve was punctured for a second time on the stroke of the interval – Stones heading home from De Bruyne’s pinpoint free-kick, with the goal awarded after a VAR check on the linesman’s offside call.

Haaland’s battle with Ramsdale continued after the break, and Arsenal’s goalkeeper again came out on top with a superb one-on-one save.

But Haaland turned provider for City’s third in the 54th minute, playing a slick one-two with De Bruyne, whose crisp finish flashed beyond Ramsdale.

Partey lashing out at Grealish’s taunts was as close as Arsenal came to laying a glove on City before Holding curled home with four minutes remaining.

Haaland, though, got his goal with the final kick of the game, as City emphatically took matters into their own hands.

What does it mean? City’s to lose as Guardiola’s winning machine proves the gulf remains

Shots – 14 to eight. On target – nine to two. Expected goals – 2.0 to 0.5.

This was not just another win for City – their 12th straight Premier League victory over Arsenal – this was a statement of intent that could just prove the straw that breaks the back of the Gunners’ title challenge.

If it does go that way, it will not really be this defeat that did it for Mikel Arteta’s side. They will instead look back at surrendering two-goal leads to Liverpool and West Ham, and of course that 3-3 draw with lowly Southampton.

The title is City’s to lose. Arsenal have to stay perfect, and hope their rivals falter where they have never done before under Guardiola.

De Bruyne downs the Gunners… again

De Bruyne has scored eight goals against Arsenal in the Premier League, three more than he has scored against any other side in the competition.

The 31-year-old is coming up big when it matters most for the reigning champions. He now has 24 assists in all competitions this season, his best return in a single campaign at the club.

Haaland turns creator, but still gets his goal

It looked as though it would not be Haaland’s night in front of goal, but right at the death, the superstar striker scored for a 49th time this season, moving onto 33 league strikes in the process – that saw him set the record for the total in a 38-game Premier League season.

He did more than just score, of course. Haaland’s touch and hold-up play for De Bruyne’s opener was sensational; the weight of pass for City’s third was perfect.

Haaland has it all, and to go along with his goals, only five players have provided more assists in the top flight this season than his tally of seven.

Key Facts

– City have won seven consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since a 12-match winning run between November 2021 and January 2022.

– Arsenal are the first side to go four consecutive Premier League games winless (D3 L1) while starting the day top for each match since Arsenal themselves in March 2008.

– City have now won 12 consecutive Premier League matches against Arsenal, winning by an aggregate score of 33-5.

– Before this game, the Opta Season Predictor gave Man City a 79 per cent chance of winning the Premier League title, and Arsenal a 21 per cent chance.

Following City’s win, they now have a 92 per cent chance of winning the league, compared to just eight per cent now for the Gunners.

– Arsenal are the first side to concede two or more goals in four consecutive top-flight matches in which they started the day top for each match since Manchester United in December 1966.

What’s next?

Arsenal host struggling Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday next week as they aim to bounce back, though the Gunners might well be in second by the time they kick off, given City face Fulham two days earlier.

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