Manchester City Defeat Arsenal to Control Title Race
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League table with a huge statement win over previous leaders Arsenal in north London on February 15th.
The Gunners had seemingly been racing to their first league title since 2004 while Pep Guardiola’s men stuttered, racking up 50 points in the first half of the season. But the Blues laid down a huge marker as well as taking the three points by prevailing 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Kevin de Bruyne put City ahead after 24 minutes when he intercepted a bad back-pass but Arsenal, who were the better side in the second half and, unlike most teams playing City, had more of the ball, equalised with a Bakary Saka penalty before half time.
However, City stepped it up in the second half, ruthlessly forcing and exploiting errors by a young Arsenal team to score again through Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland. City now lead the table on goal difference.
Fans may be a bit more likely to head to sports shops in Manchester to buy City tops if they can join the select few teams to have secured a Championship hat-trick and after seven successive wins over Arsenal – including the recent FA Cup meeting at the Etihad – City will know they can take another step towards their target by winning the return league fixture in April.
This advantage may negate the fact that Arsenal have a game in hand and with Mikel Arteta’s men having picked up just one point from their last three games, it may be that his inexperienced side is beginning to feel the strain as a battle-hardened City squad start to rediscover their mojo.
Previous winners of a Championship hat-trick include Huddersfield Town in the 1920s, Arsenal in the 1930s, Liverpool in the 1980s and Manchester United twice in the 1990s and 2000s.