Thursday, June 13, 2024

Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: What did we learn as Pep Guardiola’s side move into pole position to defend their Premier League crown?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Apr 2023

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With all eyes from across Europe falling on the Etihad on Wednesday night, Manchester City moved into pole position to defend their Premier League crown as they claimed a stunning 4-1 romp against Arsenal.

Knowing that they faced a season-defining showdown on home soil, Pep Guardiola’s side took just seven minutes to open the scoring as Kevin De Bruyne produced a wonderfully placed effort past a helpless Aaron Ramsdale.

Now sat just two points adrift of their bitter title rivals and laying down what was a crucial marker here, City didn’t look back on either side of the half-time break as England international John Stones saw his towering header marginally awarded following a lengthy VAR check.

While Rob Holding might have eventually snatched the Gunners a consolation strike outside of north London, it was De Bruyne and a certain Erling Haaland who stole all of the headlines in midweek.

With City’s iconic attacking duo both finding the net after returning from the half-time break, it is hard to understate just how important Wednesday’s victory will be in Guardiola’s bid to make more domestic history this season.

Watching Arsenal now endure a four-match Premier League winless run and Mikel Arteta’s young squad showing signs of a team who are stuttering their way over the finish line, it certainly appears that all the momentum is with the defending champions.

On a night that could have decided where the Premier League title will be heading in 2023, what did we learn from Wednesday’s heavyweight battle in Manchester?

City move into pole position to make more Premier League history in 2023

Although Manchester City might have shown some worrying domestic inconstancies on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, Guardiola’s super squad have certainly found top gear at a crucial time of the season.

Only continuing on what has been a remarkable purple patch, the Sky Blues are now unbeaten in each of their last 17 appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back to a 1-0 loss against Tottenham on February 5th.

Punching their Champions League semi-final ticket on April 19th as they stormed their way to a 4-1 romp against German giants Bayern Munich, the ex-Barcelona boss now has his sights set on making more history in 2023.

With an FA Cup final showdown against local rivals Manchester United now on the cards for June 3rd, Wednesday’s hosts certainly have their sights set on completing a famous silverware sweep over the coming weeks.

Really gaining a fearsome reputation for their free-scoring displays at the Etihad, the Sky Blues have also now bagged a staggering 28 points from their last 10 Premier League outings.

Now sat just two points adrift of a stuttering Gunners and still holding two games in hand, City really do have a wonderful chance to clinch a domestic and European-double this season.

KDB & Haaland are already one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever partnerships

If Manchester City are to go on and defend their Premier League this season, there is no doubt that two of Guardiola’s attacking superstars will steal plenty of the headlines.

Forming what has been a record-breaking partnership since Haaland arrived at the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund last summer, De Bruyne and City’s Norwegian icon were certainly at their clinical best here.

With De Bruyne finding the net on either side of the half-time break with a pair of sublime finishes, the Belgian playmaker also extended on their remarkable record against Arsenal.

In fact, the 31-year-old has recorded eight goals in his 11 appearances against the Gunners – his best return against Premier League opposition.

Although the ex-Chelsea starlet might have pulled the strings on Wednesday night, there was still time for Haaland to notch his 33rd top-flight strike of the season as he cruises towards the 2023 Golden Boot.

Already forming what has quickly become one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever attacking partnerships, De Bruyne and Haaland will be looking to finish off City’s attempt at a silverware sweep.

Arsenal’s defensive issues are becoming a huge headache for Arteta

While Arsenal might have made the trip to Manchester on Wednesday night still holding a five-point buffer over the defending champions, Arteta’s young squad would have always known that they faced a monumental challenge at the Etihad.

Although Arteta himself might have won five pieces of silverware during his tenure working alongside Guardiola, the 41-year-old will have a real headache over his side’s rather glaring defensive issues on either side of March’s international break.

While the Gunners might have eventually mounted a stunning comeback in north London last week as they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against leading relegation scrappers Southampton, Wednesday’s guests are certainly stuttering their way over the Premier League finish line.

Forced to settle for back-to-back 2-2 draws against West Ham and Liverpool earlier in the month, Arsenal have now failed to win any of their last four straight Premier League appearances – a run that stems back to April 1st.

Shipping a quartet of goals for the first time this season on Wednesday night and also conceding seven strikes in their last two Premier League outings, Arteta’s side have failed to fill the void left by an injured William Saliba.

Blown away at the Etihad here and knowing that their bid to claim a first domestic crown since 2004 has taken a major dent, Arsenal have recorded just a single clean sheet from any of their last 10 appearances across all competitions.

Match Report

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji, Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Haaland, Grealish

Subs: Foden, Mahrez, Alvarez

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

Subs: Trossard, Nelson, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Nketiah

Goals: Manchester City: De Bruyne (7’, 54’), Stones (45+1’), Haaland (90+5’) – Arsenal: Holding (86’)

Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Dias, Grealish, Rodri – Arsenal: Partey

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Michael Oliver


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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