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Man City go above Arsenal as Haaland settles thrilling title clash

Man City go above Arsenal as Haaland settles thrilling title clash

Manchester City dealt a significant blow to Arsenal’s title ambitions
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League for the first time since August as they beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

There was a huge amount of anticipation leading into the match, as the two best sides in the country went head-to-head in the first of two League games that will go a long way to deciding where the title ends up this season.

Kevin De Bruyne put the visitors in front with a sensational finish after an error from Takehiro Tomiyasu, but Arsenal came roaring back and found a deserved equaliser before the break as Bukayo Saka scored from the spot.

City showed their class after the break though, landing a huge blow in the title race. Jack Grealish restored their lead before Erling Haaland scored his 26th League goal of the season to put the result beyond doubt.

Arsenal still have a game in hand, and only fall behind City on goal difference, but they have now dropped points in three matches in a row, a stumble Pep Guardiola’s side have pounced on.

Arsenal were without Thomas Partey due to injury as Jorginho made his first start for the club, while Erling Haaland was fit to lead the line for City having been a slight injury doubt.

It was an even start in north London, before the first big chance of the night fell for the hosts. Oleksandr Zinchenko whipped a brilliant cross into the box, where Eddie Nketiah headed wide to waste a huge opportunity.

That proved costly minutes later, as De Bruyne provided a ruthless lesson. Tomiyasu’s backpass was badly underhit and, with Aaron Ramsdale well off his line, the Belgian pounced to lift a sublime finish into the empty net.

Arsenal responded superbly to the setback and were much the better side, Ederson’s yellow card for timewasting a clear indication of the pressure City were under.

He was fortunate a second didn’t follow as he clattered into Nketiah after flying off his line, the referee pointing to the spot once the striker’s shot was clear off the line. Saka stepped up to roll his penalty into the bottom corner, a deserved equaliser for Arsenal before the break.

The second-half began in more low-key fashion, with neither side able to take real control. City looked to have the chance to do just that, when they were awarded a penalty following a clumsy challenge from Gabriel on Haaland.

This time VAR had their focus on the right thing though and after a lengthy check the decision was overturned, with Haaland just about offside in the build-up.

Nketiah was inches away from putting the Gunners in front when Tomiyasu fired the ball across the face of goal, but on the whole it was a scrappy encounter. De Bruyne typified that as he shoved Mikel Arteta away in his attempts to retrieve the ball.

Arsenal produced one sloppy pass too many, as they were punished with 20 minutes remaining. Gabriel flicked the ball straight to a blue shirt and City pounces as Haaland charged forward, before playing it inside for Ilkay Gundogan. He let it run for Grealish, who found the bottom corner with the help of a slight deflection.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended late on, as De Bruyne’s cut back found Haaland and the Norwegian did the rest. The striker returned to the scoresheet as his side returned to the summit.

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