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Guardiola hails his sides ‘personality’ as Man City go top with crucial 3-1 win over Arsenal

Manchester City are back on top of the Premier League table after they won 3-1 away at title challengers Arsenal.

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.

Speaking afterwards Pep Guardiola was particularly pleased with his sides second half display, although he was quick to stress their is still a long way to go in the title race.

“In the first half, Arsenal were much better than us,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.

”We were not intense enough, maybe because I changed something and it was not good enough. In the second half we were much more aggressive and much, much better. And yeah, we did it.

“Before Munu Akanji came in the team was playing much better. From the first minute of the second half we pressed much higher and more intensely. They didn’t get that extra man in midfield that they can create. Kyle, Manu, Ruben and Nathan, they did an extraordinary effort to control Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah. It is not easy.”

“If they win the game in hand they are top of the league. What they have done is incredible and we are still there. This league will be decided for the last eight or 10 games. There are 15 to go. It is a lot and the Champions League is coming. Many games and tiring for the players.

”It is important that we are here because six points if we lose and maybe nine points hypothetically, it is not easy. Especially for the way we behave in the second half, with a lot of personality to do it.”

Read – Iconic Performances: Thierry Henry’s irresistible display at Inter 

Read Also – 90s Hitmen: Romario, a Brazilian goalscoring genius

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