Report: Arsenal defeated by Kevin De Bruyne; Man City now have the upper hand

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Last night’s face-off between Arsenal and Man City saw the Gunners, in the end, receive a beating by their northern rivals, with the game eventually ending 4-1. 

Man City now have the upper hand in the race for the league title, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring the first goal just 4 minutes into the game.

Early in the second half, Kevin De Bruyne scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-0 for Manchester City. Four Arsenal players nearby bowed forward at the waist, completely exhausted and short of breath.

From the first whistle on, City had been merciless, an unstoppable combination of pace, power, and cohesiveness, determined to make it clear to their rivals for their Premier League crown that they are in no mood to back down.

Mikel Arteta has previously stated that his squad needed to win to stay in the running for the crown. Their past two games against West Ham and Southampton raised serious concerns about their ability to withstand the pressure after they had drawn their previous three games.

For Arteta, it was a painful night when his team struggled to get going and lost the one-on-ones when they weren’t even close to performing at their peak. Did they truly think they could succeed?

It was simple to forget in the heat of the moment and the disappointment of their performance that Arsenal remain in first place. City, though, has two games remaining and is only two points behind. Also, they are on an unstoppable streak right now. With 14 victories and two draws in the Champions League, City has gone 17 games unbeaten overall. These results did not prevent them from moving on to the semifinals. In league play, they have defeated Arsenal 12 straight times.

Although Kevin De Bruyne was exceptional and the ideal pitch partner for Haaland, it was tough to find fault with any member of the sky blue team. At first, City rushed hard, often directly through their opponents, applying fierce pressure. Haaland took a touch with Holding at his back and laid off for De Bruyne, who was already in stride, for the opening goal, which was far too simple. He moved towards the perimeter of the area, swerving around Magalhaes, and sent a low shot past Aaron Ramsdale.

Nobody was feeling more intense than Pep Guardiola, it seemed. He was on the field, glowing, waving at the referees after Bernardo Silva had been given a foul for tripping Granit Xhaka in the 12th minute. The anxious energy rushed through the City manager at all times. When Thomas Partey came to defend the ball and stopped De Bruyne from shooting, he sought a penalty as soon as possible. 

Before the half-hour mark, Arsenal worked a long pass up the channel for Bukayo Saka, and Guardiola pounded the ground with his fist while down on both knees.

When Jack Grealish returned to make a challenge, he perked up, and it was an incredibly lone Arsenal wave in the first half. It was puzzling how Haaland failed to score before halftime. He had four decent chances, three of which Ramsdale brilliantly blocked; the fourth, which followed a rush in which he tormented Magalhaes, was blasted wide. In the 27th minute, Ben White successfully stopped a shot from De Bruyne.

In the last seconds of the first half, John Stones added a second goal with a free header from a De Bruyne free-kick after the VAR determined that White had played the centre-half onside on the opposite side.

Guardiola’s choice of Kyle Walker at right-back gave City a strong defence and exceptional speed on the cover, not that it was frequently required. Without skipping a beat, Manuel Akanji took over at left-back for the injured Nathan Aké.

Shortly after the second half began, Martin Ødegaard sent the ball too near to Haaland, who snatched it up and raced off, and it was game over. Ramsdale had just denied him a one-on-one opportunity. 

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