Manchester City are closing in on their fifth Premier League title in the last six seasons after beating Arsenal 4-1 in a memorable tactical display from Pep Guardiola. The London team is still the leader, but with just two points ahead and with two games played more than the rival they are trying to overthrow. Along the way it also becomes clear that the exciting, youthful and refreshing team that Mikel Arteta has built has far fewer tools than the reigning champion. It is difficult not to love him, but this Arsenal today has worse players and is less of a team than City, on the other hand, a giant led by the coach who changed football in 2008 and who, fifteen years later, continues to set trends because he knows evolve not only their teams but also their strategies.
Ederson Moraes, Rúben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Walker, John Stones, Rodrigo, Gündogan (Mahrez, min. 71), De Bruyne (Julián Álvarez, min. 80), Grealish (Foden, min. 87), Bernardo Silva and Erling Braut Haaland
Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Zinchenko, Gabriel, Robert Holding, Xhaka (Jorginho, min. 59), Thomas, Odegaard (Emile Smith-Rowe, min. 71), Gabriel Jesus (Eddie Nketiah, min. 80), Bukayo Saka ( Reiss Nelson, min. 80) and Martinelli (Trossard, min. 59)
goals 1-0 min. 6: DeBruyne. 2-0 min. 45: John Stones. 3-0 min. 53: DeBruyne. 3-1 min. 86: Robert Holding. 4-1 min. 95: Erling Braut Haaland.
Referee michael oliver
Yellow cards Rúben Dias (min. 49), Thomas (min. 75) and Rodrigo (min. 88)
Thousands of soccer fans do not understand the reason that pushes some squads to put the ball into play in front of their goal and wait there for the rival to attack them, a risk if an exit is not scheduled. A viewing of City’s first goal against Arsenal would offer them several answers: that of positioning work in which everyone is profiled and knows what their role is, the ability to attract the rival and open up and find spaces. It is not necessary to go out playing short when Haaland offers a fifty-meter exit. City have undoubtedly won a goal with the exuberant Norwegian star, but they have also delved into new records. The goal that opened the game showed it: Ederson looked for the center-back Stones, who, close to the bottom line, attracted his pair. Half Arsenal took a step forward and then the ball went remotely towards Haaland, who with the substitute Holding on the hump, was able to lower it, turn with oriented control and find De Bruyne in space. The Belgian defined with a precise shot warped.
The goal was the perfect marriage between tiki taka and British tradition. And it was a shot of energy for the Etihad and its feverish team, which during the first twenty minutes did not stop applying that recipe to take a deactivated rival to the pot and have a snack. Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli did not touch the ball because Arsenal was unable to settle with the ball in the opposite field. And when he was looking for her, he panicked every time City invited him to upload lines. How not to. Haaland became the owner of the central circle and there he lowered melons and watermelons to the floor. Before the break he let the Norwegian go through four goal chances and generated a couple more for De Bruyne. Incredibly, Arsenal stayed alive, with the draw within reach. Until just before the three whistles were due, Stones headed into the net from a lateral free kick that found him unmarked at the far post, luck that awakens old ghosts at Arsenal. It seemed offside, even in the first televised replay, but VAR tracked Ben White’s foot off the hook, drew lines and City extended their lead without the shine they deserved. Well he celebrated it, in any case.
Haaland did not stop missing goals. Ramsdale, an excellent meta, denied him up to five times. But the Viking does not stop hitting. And if he doesn’t score he does score. In an error by Odegaard, catastrophic on this occasion, De Bruyne connected with his reference to make the third goal shortly after the start of the second half.
Arsenal didn’t improve either when Trossard and Jorginho entered the field at the hour mark. He looked for pride and discounted at the end with a goal from Holding, but he did not find football. City had plenty of minutes to temporize on the field and enjoy the celebration of their stands. Until Haaland literally went wild and scored his 33rd goal of the championship. Quoted with Madrid in the Champions League semifinal and with Manchester United in the Cup final, he has seven games ahead in the Premier (Fulham, Everton, Brighton and Brentford at home, and West Ham, Leeds and Chelsea at home). . Arsenal, who have already secured their return to the Champions League, have five games left (Chelsea, Brighton and Wolves at the Emirates and Newcastle and Nottingham away). The people of Manchester have already launched into singing the tune that identifies the champions. His team has made a full score in the last 21 points they have played, while Arsenal has gone four games without winning.
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