With all eyes from across the Premier League falling on north London, Manchester City laid down what was a crucial marker as they claimed a 3-1 romp against Arsenal on Wednesday night.
Making the trip to the Emirates knowing that three points would see them leapfrog the Gunners and take their spot at the top of the Premier League table, Pep Guardiola’s side opened the scoring after 24 minutes as Kevin De Bruyne swept home following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s wayward backpass.
However, while Arsenal might have entered the half-time break with parity as Bukayo Saka slotted home from the spot just three minutes before the interval, it was a night to forget for Mikel Arteta’s young squad.
Blown away in the second-half as goals from Jack Grealish and attacking talisman Erling Haaland helped the defending champions claim a deserved victory in north London, Wednesday’s hosts find themselves in the midst of a recent wobble.
Sacrificing their spot at the top of the table and now without a win from any of their last four domestic appearances, we have taken a look at the main talking points from the Emirates.
A season-defining night for City?
Coming under real scrutiny after getting hit with a shock 1-0 loss away at Tottenham on February 5th, Guardiola’s side were desperate to lay down a north London marker at the second attempt on Wednesday night.
While Man City might have made the trip to the Emirates knowing that it was more on them to collect maximum points in the capital, the defending Premier League champions certainly showed their class.
Heading into their heavyweight midweek showdown following a 3-1 romp at home against Aston Villa last weekend, the former Barcelona boss will be calling on his side to use this display as a platform to build on.
Finding a route back to the top of the table and now leading the chase to defend their domestic crown in 2023, City have really impressed over the past month.
Managing to prove that their sluggish 1-0 defeat against Spurs was nothing more than a minor blip, Guardiola’s superstars have won four of their previous five domestic appearances across all formats.
Arsenal struggle at a crucial time
Although Arsenal might have gained a string of plaudits on what has been a remarkable Premier League campaign this season, the Gunners suddenly find themselves at the heart of a worrying struggle.
While Arteta’s youngsters might have been smelling the chance to lay down another marker in north London, the one-time Manchester City coach saw his side put in another largely downbeat display on Wednesday night.
Losing their spot at the top of the Premier League table and without a win from any of their last four meetings against top-flight opposition, Arsenal will now know that they face a major phycological test over the coming weeks.
Likewise, along with crashing out of this season’s FA Cup following a 1-0 loss away at the Etihad on January 27th, the midweek hosts have collected just a single point from their previous three Premier League appearances.
With their recent struggles underlined by a stunning 1-0 defeat against relegation scrappers Everton earlier in the month, Arteta must find a way to galvanize his young squad.
Haaland & KDB end their droughts
While Guardiola might have been most excited by watching his side find a route back to the top of the Premier League table, fans around the Etihad would have been relieved to see their two attacking icons end their recent droughts.
Although many were left stunned as De Bruyne was omitted from Guardiola’s starting XI for their 1-0 defeat away at Tottenham on February 5th, the Belgium ace has come roaring back.
Opening the scoring midway through the first-half on Wednesday night with a wonderfully swept effort, that was in fact the first goal that the one-time Chelsea starlet has bagged from his last 17 appearances for club and country.
However, while it might have been De Bruyne who opened the scoring in north London, it was the Premier League’s latest record-breaker who wrapped up all three points for City.
Despite opening Wednesday’s showdown at the Emirates in the midst of a three-match run without finding the net, Haaland appeared to be back to his heavyweight best here.
Causing Arsenal’s defence a string of problems, the Norweigan superstar has now bagged 26 Premier League strikes this season – nine more than any other player in the division.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Odegaard, Jorginho, Xhaka, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
Subs: White, Trossard, Vieira
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Silva, Rodri, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish, Haaland
Subs: Akanji, Foden, Phillips
Goals: Arsenal: Saka (42′ pen) – Manchester City: De Bruyne (24′), Grealish (72′), Haaland (82′)
Yellow Cards: Arsenal: Tomiyasu, Nketiah – Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Silva, Grealish
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!