Manchester City are two points off top spot in the Premier League after a storming 4-1 victory during Man City vs Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin De Bruyne’s seventh minute strike gave Pep Guardiola’s side and a raucous City support an early boost before John Stones’ header on the stroke of half-time doubled the lead.
De Bruyne made it three early in the second period with a calm finish after turning the ball over in Arsenal’s half.
The Belgian was supplied excellently by Erling Haaland for both of his goals.
Arsenal defender Rob Holding claimed one back for the visitors in the final few minutes of the game, but it was merely a consolation.
Haaland completed the scoring in added time with a left-footed finish. It’s his 33rd strike of the season and takes him to a 38-game Premier League record, surpassing Mo Salah’s tally of 32 in 2017/18.
The victory completes the league double over our title rivals and extends our excellent Premier League form to nine wins in our last ten matches.
With seven games to go and two games in hand on Arsenal, the destiny of what would be a third successive Premier League title and five in the last six seasons is in our hands.
Man City vs Arsenal: Match Summary
The Etihad was raucous ahead of kick-off after the unfurling of two huge, colourful banners – one referencing our former home Maine Road and the other quoting the Fleetwood Mac inspired chant sung at almost every game this season.
Kevin De Bruyne thought he had an tap-in just three minutes in when goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale parried a cross into his path but the Belgian’s run was blocked by the covering Thomas Partey.
City fans and players asked for a penalty but to their amazement, referee Michael Oliver gave the visitors a free-kick.
Just four minutes later De Bruyne took matters into his own hands. Receiving the in Arsenal’s half after neat hold up play by Erling Haaland, he drove at the defence and fired a low shot beyond the diving Ramsdale to leave the Etihad bouncing.
Arsenal attempted a period of possession after conceding in order to quieten the Etihad down but it had little effect, with City holding the league leaders at arms’ length.
Instead, it was Haaland’s poke through to an advancing De Bruyne that created the next clear-cut opportunity. The Belgian twisted inside and out, eventually seeing his shot blocked.
Haaland had a chance of his own moments later, weaving between two defenders inside the box. The shot was not struck as cleanly as the Norwegian would have hoped and Ramsdale was able to make the save.
Arsenal did carve an opening for themselves in the 34th minute but Partey’s curler from the edge of the box bent around the post.
After a change in tactic from the Gunners, suddenly springing forward into a more aggressive press, Grealish burst in behind the advanced defensive line and squared for Haaland. Our No.9 came forward and used his marker, curling a shot around him but also around the post.
Another golden chance came the way of our lethal striker a few minutes before the break, with his latest attempt kept out by the legs of Ramsdale.
John Stones initially thought he had doubled City’s lead as we entered added time in the first half, heading home a delightful Kevin De Bruyne free-kick.
The assistant’s flag ended celebrations early but after a VAR check, the goal was awarded and City’s players, now back around the halfway line, set off jubilantly in different directions across the pitch.
The second half started as the first had played out, with City in complete control.
The reward for that came in the 53rd minute when De Bruyne latched on to a loose ball, gave it to Haaland and received it back in the box. He took a touch to settle himself and stroked it beyond Ramsdale.
Arsenal made changes in personnel and playing style in an attempt to work their way back into the game.
The visitors did pull one back with a well struck Rob Holding shot in the 87th minute, but the scoring wasn’t done there.
After being denied so many times by Ramsdale, Haaland got his 49th goal of the season and 33rd in the Premier League with what was effectively the final kick of the game.
His hair flowing after breaking free of its bobble, the striker forced the ball home from 12 yards to cap off a special night at the Etihad.