Arsenal’s title hopes took a hit tonight after the Gunners lost their much-anticipated clash with Manchester City 3-1 at the Emirates.
After a lively start that saw both Man City’s striker Erling Haaland and Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah miss presentable chances, it would be Pep Guardiola’s reigning Premier League champions that drew first blood on 24 minutes. Man City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne pounced on a weak back pass from Gunners right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu before the Belgian lifted an expertly controlled volley over Aaron Ramsdale and into the net from the edge of the area.
Instead of shrinking Arsenal upped the ante after going behind and their energy and quality was rewarded with an equaliser three minutes before the break. The Gunners were awarded a controversial penalty after Ederson collided with Nketiah with the ever impressive Bukayo Saka stepping up and calmly placing his spot-kick into the bottom corner.
10 minutes into the second-half and Man City thought they had a penalty of their own when Gabriel hauled down Haaland in the area, but VAR stepped in and adjudged that the big Norweigan was offside before the challenge took place.
Tomiyasu almost made up for his earlier mistake when he fired a superb ball across goal only to see a stretching Nketiah agonisingly miss the ball.
Worryingly for the Gunners the longer the second half went on the more apparent it became that City were starting to move through the gears and on 72 minutes Jack Grealish put the visitors ahead. Some neat interplay between Bernardo Silva, Haaland and IIkay Gundogan ended with the ball being played to Grapish on the edge of the area in space and the English attacker duly side-footed a powerful effort past Ramsdale.
Then on 82 minutes a De Bruyne cut-back found Haaland who steered a right-footed effort into the bottom corner and Man City had sealed a statement victory that sees Guardiola’s side move above Arsenal at the top of the table on goal difference.
Arsenal haven’t won any of their last 4 games in all competitions:
❌ 0-1 vs. Man City
❌ 0-1 vs. Everton
🤝 1-1 vs. Brentford
❌ 1-3 vs. Man City
Stuck in a rut. 🛡️ pic.twitter.com/jcSCC9ezZV
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 15, 2023
Speaking afterwards Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was pleased with his sides display but admitted they made too many defensive errors.
“Huge battle – a battle that, especially until we conceded second goal, we had them – we had the feeling we could beat them but we gave them three goals and the game at the end,” Arteta told BBC’s MOTD.
”With certain errors at this level you can’t make. The team put the level very high at the same time.
“They were playing long balls and we suffered to get out of those zones and didn’t read the situation well enough, they punished us.”
However, the Spanish coach still believes his side have what it takes to win the title.
“I have more belief than I had before the game, with the performance and the level the team put in against City. They wanted to play a different game than the one we played and with the crowd we have we can do it.
“They still have it [the belief], I can sense it. They feel they can do it.
“The difference was in the boxes, they had three chances and they put them away. We had chances and we didn’t put them away.”
Despite tonight’s defeat Arsenal have a game in hand on Man City, with the Gunners set for an away trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.
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