Manchester City confirmed their Premier League dominance with a 4-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium. Kevin De Bruyne scored twice, Erling Haaland and John Stones each scored once, and Rob Holding netted for the Gunners. City showed their incredible pace, power, and cohesion throughout the game, making it clear they are the team to beat this season.
The match that would decide the Premier League was vital for an Arsenal team that arrived as the leader, but with many doubts and more games played than their rival, and key for Manchester City if they wanted to continue dreaming of the treble. It was also a duel of pupil vs master, with former ‘Citizens’ having the opportunity for revenge… but in the end, there was a masterclass at the Etihad Stadium.
Mikel Arteta’s team couldn’t have started much worse. Haaland picked down a long ball in the center circle and sent it to De Bruyne on the run after only seven minutes. The roles were switched, but the result was the same: Manchester City was already ahead in the scoring.
Far from easing off the accelerator, Pep Guardiola’s team remained focused, looking for the second goal. It took a while, but it came at one of the most inconvenient times: just before halftime. De Bruyne took a free kick, and Stones headed the ball into the net. There was some speculation about a potential offside that wasn’t given. Arsenal’s players were the only ones who were offside.
De Bruyne, once again
After the break, nothing seemed to indicate that Arsenal would be able to turn the match around. And Haaland and De Bruyne were responsible for proving everyone right: not even 10 minutes into the second half and the scene from the first goal had been repeated: the Norwegian passed it to the Belgian and the ’17’ scored low past Ramsdale.
Arsenal was still willing to give it a shot. Maybe they’re like the younger, rebellious brother, wanting to prove that they, too, can cause some damage. Holding gained some space to shoot and tried his luck on a ball that Trossard almost lost. Ederson couldn’t do anything to stop it, but it didn’t matter because the game was about to end.
But that doesn’t matter much for a Guardiola squad. He displayed it at Barcelona and Bayern Munich: the game continues until the referee ends it, and you must play every minute as if it were the first. After the ‘Gunner’s’ goal, Phil Foden entered the penalty area and made a pass into the box for Haaland to join in the goal fest. The referee then blew the final whistle, signaling the end of the league.
Mikel Arteta: “We lost to the better team”
The Arsenal coach, in a press conference, did not hesitate to praise his rival and former team. “We lost to the best team,” declared Arteta, “They were exceptional today and when that’s the case, it’s extremely difficult to reach that level.” Despite this, the ‘Gunners’ may close the season satisfied, having won a title fight that appeared unachievable at the start of the year.
For his part, Kevin De Bruyne tried to temper the excitement after the victory, reminding everyone that they are not yet the league leaders. “I know we have two games less, but they are still the leaders. We have seven games remaining, there are many points available, and everything can happen,” the Belgian told the reporters.