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MANCHESTER (Reuters) – A Kevin De Bruyne-inspired Manchester Metropolis struck a hammer blow within the Premier League title race as they outclassed leaders Arsenal 4-1 with an electrifying show in a seismic conflict of the highest two on the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola’s relentless facet ran riot as they made it 12 successive league wins in opposition to Arsenal with a masterful De Bruyne scoring twice and Erling Haaland additionally heading in the right direction as Metropolis seized management of their future.
De Bruyne fired Metropolis forward within the seventh minute from Haaland’s go and the hosts bombarded Arsenal’s purpose earlier than John Stones deservedly doubled their lead with a header in first half stoppage time.
Arsenal, who started the conflict 5 factors clear however having drawn three successive video games, regarded powerless to cease the onslaught and when De Bruyne struck once more early within the second half it turned a damage-limitation operation for the leaders.
Rob Holding grabbed an 86th-minute comfort but it surely was too little too late for Mikel Arteta’s facet and Metropolis now look agency favourites to assert a fifth title in six seasons.
Haaland lastly bought on the scoresheet in stoppage time for his forty ninth purpose of the season in all competitions — probably the most by a top-flight participant in England since Clive Allen in 1986-87.
Metropolis’s seventh successive league win left them with 73 factors to Arsenal’s 75, however crucially they’ve performed two fewer video games than the Londoners whose hopes of a primary title since 2004 now look forlorn after 4 video games and not using a win.
Guardiola’s Metropolis have trailed Arsenal for nearly your complete season however will go high in the event that they beat Fulham on the weekend.
“We all know what individuals will say but it surely’s so laborious and loads of issues can occur,” De Bruyne advised BT Sport.
“It is seven video games nonetheless to go, plenty of factors, and we’re nonetheless two factors behind Arsenal. Our schedule is hectic, there are loads of issues happening we now have to arrange for Sunday.”
A dangerous April took the wind out of Arsenal’s sails however a primary league win over Metropolis since 2015 would have put them put them again answerable for the race.
In contrast to in opposition to backside Southampton in Friday’s frenetic 3-3 draw they bought by the opening minute with out conceding.
However the writing was on the wall as Haaland and De Bruyne started to mix to devastating impact.
Haaland confirmed nice power to regulate a excessive ball and ship de Bruyne racing away with a neat go and the Belgian superior earlier than nonchalantly curling a shot contained in the submit.
Metropolis sensed Arsenal’s fragility and went for the jugular, tearing by the guests strains at will.
De Bruyne regarded poised for a carbon copy of his opener as Arsenal’s high-line defence was once more caught out however this time his shot was blocked. Minutes later Ramsdale denied Haaland because the Norwegian bullied his means by extra flimsy defending.
Haaland compelled one other sharp save from Ramsdale earlier than Arsenal lastly threatened with Thomas Partey taking pictures extensive.
The onslaught continued although and Haaland thought he had scored solely to see his left-footed shot flash extensive earlier than but once more forcing a save from Ramsdale.
Had Arsenal reached halftime a purpose down it will have felt like a psychological victory, however Stones rose to move in De Bruyne’s deadly supply in stoppage time.
The purpose was initially dominated offside however a VAR verify confirmed Stones was performed on by a piece of Ben White’s foot.
If Arsenal nonetheless harboured any hopes of salvaging one thing they vanished within the 54th minute when Haaland fed De Bruyne for one more silky end previous Ramsdale.
“I do not suppose they had been scared, however the best way we began the sport, we put ourselves in hassle,” Arteta stated. “If you come right here you should be at your greatest. At present we had been removed from that.”
Treble-chasing Metropolis throttled again and Arsenal gave their followers some cheer when Holding fired in from the sting of the world.
However Haaland had the final snicker as Metropolis, who’re within the FA Cup remaining and face Actual Madrid within the Champions League semis, made it 28 factors from the final 30 on supply.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, modifying by Pritha Sarkar)