after Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland scored second-half goals to secure a 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday.
Trailing Arsenal by as many as eight points just a few weeks ago, City suddenly found themselves atop the standings after the defending champions extended their recent lead over the Gunners and showed they are not going to part with the title easily.
The win moved City into first place ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, although the Gunners still have a game in hand. More importantly, City may have maintained a psychological advantage over their title rival, as City have now beaten Arsenal in 11 consecutive league games.
We all agree that Arsenal have been the better team this season, so to come to them and play against them is not easy, said Haaland. But we played a terrific game and took three very important points and we are back in the game.
In a game that lived up to its claimed status as the biggest Premier League game of the season with moments of end-to-end action, City took the lead when Kevin de Bruyne took advantage of a defensive error in the 24th minute and Bucayo Saca equalized with a penalty in the 42nd minute.
Arsenal started the match brightly, but gave away the lead cheaply after City goalkeeper Ederson kicked the ball out of bounds. Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu attempted to pass the ball back to Aaron Ramsdale, but kicked it into the path of De Bruyne, who flicked the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper into the empty net.
I’ve never seen Tomiyasu make a pass like that back in seven years, but today he did it, said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
A few minutes earlier, Eddie Nketia had missed his best chance of the game when Oleksandr Zinchenko picked him out in the box, but the striker shot past.
But Arsenal kept going forward, and the hosts’ pressure paid off when a penalty was awarded for Ederson’s foul on Eddie Nketiah when the striker tried to shoot from a difficult angle. Saka calmly sent the ball into the left corner, sending Ederson the wrong way.
City improved after the break and early in the second half thought of a penalty when Gabriel clumsily brought down Haaland in the penalty area, but the decision was overturned due to offside by the Norwegian striker.
But City took the lead after another mistake by Gabriel
Manchester City seized the initiative in the battle for the Premiership title turned the ball over in his half of the field. The visitors quickly counterattacked and Ilkay Gundogan made a pass to Greelish, who outplayed Ramsdale with a low shot that deflected off Tomiyasu.
Haaland was ready to start after getting hit in the previous game against Aston Villa on Sunday, and brought his tally to 26 league goals this season when De Bruyne cut the ball back for the striker, who took a one-touch shot into the far corner.
Nketia had another successful header, but it was the closest Arsenal could get to scoring.
They were much better than us in the first half. We were much, much better in the second half, City manager Pep Guardiola said. At halftime we said we didn’t play, we just defended because they were so good, but we have to be more active and the second half was excellent.
After 16 wins in the first 19 rounds of the season, Arsenal has not won three straight games, losing two of them. The Gunners have lost more points in those three games (8) than in their first 19 (7).
Arteta said the loss was largely self-inflicted.
It was an unbelievable battle of two teams, and we just gave them goals, absolutely gave them goals, and against a team like that, they will destroy you, Arteta said. On the other hand, we had three big, big chances, but we didn’t convert them. That was the difference.
The game was originally scheduled for October, but was postponed because of a rescheduling due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
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