Manchester City extended their home run to six matches without loss on Wednesday as the reigning champions cruised to a 3-0 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne either side of halftime, coupled with an injury-time deal-sealer from Phil Foden ensured that the fight for the Premier League title would continue for at least another week as the Citizens moved within 22 points of league leaders Liverpool.
As expected, the hosts found their rhythm early in the first half and confidently swept the ball around as their trademark passing approach play opened up a string of opportunities. Their attack was ruthless, with linchpin midfielder De Bruyne masterminding much of the forward possession.
Arsenal called upon the services of German goalkeeper Bernd Leno to keep City out, as the 28-year-old exhibited cat-like reflexes to palm away five shots, including a stinging strike from Sterling.
Sterling’s persistent hassling of the Gunners’ debilitated defence paid dividends as the clock ticked towards the half time break, when, pouncing on a mistake from substitute David Luiz, he buried the first Premier League goal in 100 days – and his first in 2020 – beyond Leno.
The second half kicked off in much the same vein as City continued to pile pressure on the defence. After just four minutes, an explosive run into the box from Riyad Mahrez was thwarted by Luiz with a crashing challenge. The Brazilian was given his marching orders, and City doubled their lead through De Bruyne’s subsequent penalty-kick.
Pep Guardiola’s men extinguished any lingering fears of a comeback early in added time as two of his substitutes, Sergio Aguero and young Englishman Foden linked up to lash home a third. Arsenal’s lacklustre defending presented Aguero with a great chance for a goal of his own, just to see his effort rebound off the post to the feet of Foden, who struck the ball into an empty net with aplomb.
The win was marred somewhat by a horrific injury to Spanish defender Eric Garcia, who was down for a very long time following a brutal collision with his side’s goalkeeper, Ederson.