Man City is One Step Closer to Premier League Title

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Kevin De Bruyne’s brace and assist led Man City to a huge win. Photo Credit: Oli SCARFF / AFP

Matchday 33 in the English top flight takes place in the middle of the week and features some exciting fixture that determines the outcome of this season. The most highly-anticipated matchup is the battle for first between Arsenal and Manchester City. A six-point swing from this match can almost decide the Premier League title race. The first game between the top two teams on the table ended in an emphatic 3-1 win for City on Arsenal’s ground. And in the most crucial game of the season, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City rejoiced yet again with a 4-1 victory at Etihad. Let’s look at the factor that clinches the outcome of this game.

Form: Arsenal Struggles, Man City Flies High

Arsenal went on a draw streak heading into the game against City. The most frustrating one came against Southampton last weekend when they failed to beat the bottom-table team. Dropping points at this stage of the competition is forbidden because they were only four points ahead of Manchester City with two more games played. William Saliba would also be out for the rest of the season, and Arsenal’s defense has been conceding a lot since his absence.

Manchester City is on a roll in all competitions. After walking past Bayern Munich in dominant fashion, they are looking to hunt down their first Champions League title in the team’s history. Pep Guardiola and his players swiftly got through the FA Cup Semifinals against Sheffield United and will face city rival Manchester United at Wembley. The quest for a prestigious treble is within Man City’s reach, especially with a positive result in this game.

The Masterclass of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland Premier League title
Erling Haaland scored his 33rd goal of the campaign. Photo Credit: Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Kevin De Bruyne bagged a brace and an assist, and Erling Haaland also grabbed himself a goal and two assists. These two superstars alone destroyed Arsenal’s backline. KDB was simply too finessed with all his moves, proving why he is one of the Premier League all-time greats. His long-distance shot to open the scoreline eased the pressure on the home team, and his second goal was light but sharp enough to defeat Ramsdale and seal the game. The assist was a De Bruyne trademark – putting it on the plate for John Stones.

Erling Haaland switched places with De Bruyne today. The Norwegian assisted his teammate twice before getting his goal in the last minutes of added time. Haaland was too strong and fast for Gabriel and Holding to handle. There were multiple times when Haaland toyed with the Arsenal center-backs but was missing a bit of composure to beat Ramsdale. His goal today was his 33rd of the campaign, surpassing Mohammed Salah to break the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign.

What a performance by Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, absolutely world-class. Big-time games call for big-time players.

Midfield Control

Arsenal struggled dearly in the midfield today despite playing all of their best cards. The connection between Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, and Martin Odegaard was cut off all game. The lack of build-up made the front three thirsty for possession as Saka, Martinelli, and Jesus barely touched the ball the whole game, let alone create dangerous chances. The midfield misplaced quite a few more passes than they usually would, which put unwanted pressure on the defense. Manchester City’s final goal started with a careless pass at midfield. The inverted full-back role of Zinchenko was also relatively limited. Pep Guardiola knew Arteta and Zinchenko too well to make adjustments to stop Arsenal’s important build-up piece.

It would be fair to say that Arsenal’s midfield imploded in this game. Rodri and Gundogan didn’t even perform their best but still were able to contain them.

Premier League Title Race Outcome

The remaining fixtures’ difficulty favors Manchester City.

The result of this match altered this season’s Premier League title race. Manchester City is now only down two points, with two games in hand. Their fixtures in the upcoming matches are expected to be easy three points after easy three points.

A head-up for Arsenal is that they are now Champions League bound with the result in the Brighton and Hove Albion/Nottingham Forest game. But Mikel Arteta needs to fix a Saliba-less defense if they want to be in contention. Twelve goals conceded in the last five games is unacceptable.

But anything can happen. Especially when Manchester City has to divide the attention to other stages, they can drop points. The race favors Manchester City, but it can come down to the wire.

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