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Man City vs Arsenal LIVE: Result and reaction from Premier League title decider as City thump Gunners

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: Kevin De Bruyne scored twice in a star performance before Erling Haaland sealed the rout in a huge blow to the Gunners’ title hopes

Michael Jones
Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:50 BST
Pep - City 'cannot deny' importance of Arsenal game

Champions Manchester City produced a stunning performance to seize complete control of the Premier League title race with a devastating 4-1 win over leaders Arsenal.

Kevin De Bruyne struck twice with John Stones and Erling Haaland also on the scoresheet at the Etihad Stadium as City delivered a potentially decisive blow to the Gunners’ hopes of lifting the crown.

Arsenal claimed a late reply through Rob Holding but treble-chasing City had long since asserted their dominance and Haaland wrapped up the contest with his 49th goal of the season in stoppage time.

The result lifted Pep Guardiola’s men to within two points of the Londoners at the top of the table and, with two games in hand, they are now strong favourites to land their fifth title in six years.

Arsenal and their manager Mikel Arteta simply had no answer to the pace, strength and determination of the hosts, who were at their ruthless best and powered to their 12th win in their last 13 games in all competitions.

Follow all the reaction as Man City closed in on the Premier League title


Arsenal’s humiliation proves the title race was only an illusion

The great league showdown didn’t live up to the title, only showcasing Manchester City’s immense power. Arsenal are remarkably still top of the Premier League table after a humiliation that felt much worse than 4-1 but, like so much else about this title race, it is an illusion.

This was reality, and it was a machine of a City team turning the game that the Premier League had billed as its supposed prestige fixture into a training exercise. So much of it was just attack against defence, right down to the nature of the drills. It was often two on six but, despite the outcomes, that wasn’t two defenders. The most frequent image of the game, and its most influential factor, was Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland terrorising Arsenal’s entire backline by just tearing down on goal.

The only visible competition here was between City’s two great talents seeking to declare who was actually the best player in the Premier League. It was just all the worse for Arsenal because they were working so well together, Haaland simply dominating poor Rob Holding to set up De Bruyne twice. The Norwegian of course got his own goal to fittingly seal the win – and, probably, the title – as a John Stones header added the night’s only sense of variety.

Arsenal’s humiliation proves the title race was only an illusion

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: In a showdown that failed to live up to the billing, City delivered a crushing masterclass

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:37

Pep Guardiola unleashes Man City’s greatest threat - and it’s not Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola is the moderniser who revisits the past, the innovator who is proving nothing is new in football. He has borrowed the idea of the false nine from the Hungary sides of the 1950s and revived a 3-2-4-1 formation that was influenced by the W-M system. And, in seeking to retain the English title, he went more English than the prehistoric – or pre-Premier League – English.

The most significant goal in the division this season, the one to decisive tilt the balance Manchester City’s way, thus far came in a manner scarcely becoming of the mentor of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, the man who dreamed of a team of midfielders, the architect of tiki-taka. City bypassed the midfield. They aimed for the big man who, it transpired, had a good touch for a big man. They got a runner around him. They played a variant of 4-4-2.

It helped, of course, that the big man was Erling Haaland and the runner was Kevin De Bruyne. There is a school of thought that football a simple game that can be overcomplicated by theorists and intellectuals like Guardiola, that the managers can assume a disproportionate importance. If, or perhaps when, City win the title it will in part be because they have the two finest footballers in the division, in Haaland and De Bruyne. Against their closest challengers, they put them in positions to do maximum damage. They wreaked havoc.

Pep Guardiola unleashes Man City’s greatest threat - and it’s not Erling Haaland

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: Kevin De Bruyne scored twice as Pep Guardiola changed his system and Haaland turned provider to blow the Gunners apart

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:32

City goalscorer John Stones to BT Sport:

“I wouldn’t say total control. We have to give them respect and credit.

“We didn’t play the football we normally do. We had man to man pressure and it was very difficult to play our usual passes. The desire and how clinical we were, we could have had a few more. I’m made up with the three points.”

On whether their experience gives them an edge: “We’ve been through tough moments and situatuons. It’s done us so well. We know how to cope in certain scenarios.

“Everyone has been there and has that hunger. Days like today with a lot of pressure on the outside, we know our jobs and it’s about us going out there and doing it. Those situations help in big pressure moments.”

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:27

Man City’s press, Arsenal’s lack of control and what we learned from Premier League title showdown

Manchester City tore Arsenal apart in the Premier League title showdown to take a huge step towards retaining their crown.

Pep Guardiola’s side produced a dominant display to cut Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table to two points - and with City having two games in hand.

Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding and scored either side of half time, as well as setting up John Stones’ header just before the break.

The result puts the title in City’s hands and is a devastating blow to Arsenal’s hopes of winning the Premier League for the first time in 19 years.

Here are five things we learned from the potential title decider:

Five things we learned as Man City thrash Arsenal in title showdown

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: Kevin De Bruyne scored twice as the champions took a huge step towards retaining the title

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:14

Man City vs Arsenal result and player ratings as Kevin De Bruyne stars

Kevin De Bruyne scored twice as Manchester City thrashed Arsenal to take charge of the Premier League title race.

De Bruyne raced clear before slamming a shot past Aaron Ramsdale to give City the lead, before he set up John Stones’ header before half time.

Erling Haaland then played De Bruyne through for the second time after the break, with the Belgian tucking a finish into the far corner.

Haaland would add a fourth in stoppage time, but Arsenal pulled a goal back late on through Rob Holding.

Athough they remain two points ahead in the Premier League table, City have the advantage with two games in hand.

Here are how the players rated from the title showdown:

Man City vs Arsenal player ratings as Kevin De Bruyne stars

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland blew Mikel Arteta’s side apart as the champions took a huge step towards the title

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:11

FT Man City 4-1 Arsenal

Erling Haaland has scored 33 goals in the Premier League this season, a new record in a 38-game campaign:

33 - Erling Haaland (2022/23)

32 - Mohamed Salah (2017/18)

31 - Luis Suárez (2013/14)

31 - Cristiano Ronaldo (2007/08)

31 - Alan Shearer (1995/96)

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:08

FT Man City 4-1 Arsenal

Only five players have provided more assists in the Premier League this season than Erling Haaland (7): Kevin De Bruyne (16), Bukayo Saka (11), Leandro Trossard (9), Andrew Robertson (8) and Michael Olise (8).

Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:05

FT Man City 4-1 Arsenal

(Action Images via Reuters)
Mike Jones26 April 2023 22:02

Full-time: Man City 4-1 Arsenal

90+6 mins: The whistle goes to end the game and Manchester City have won the initiative in the Premier League title race. Pep Guardiola’s men move within two points of the Gunners and have two games in hand.

City are unbeaten in 17 matches across all competitions now.

Mike Jones26 April 2023 21:59

GOAL! Man City 4-1 Arsenal (Haaland, 90+5’)⚽️

90+5 mins: There is another one! A long ball comes over to Phil Foden who pokes it into the box towards Erling Haaland.

Haaland takes a touch and smokes the ball past Aaron Ramsdale to cap off a brilliant night and performance.

Mike Jones26 April 2023 21:58

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