Erling Haaland made Premier League history with his goal as Manchester City eased to a 4-1 win over title rivals Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium. The result means that the Citizens are now only two points behind league leaders Arsenal despite having played two games less than the North London side. It was also a first defeat in 11 matches for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Manchester City came into the game on the back of a dominant FA Cup semifinal win over Sheffield United, while Arsenal had failed to win any of their last three matches, drawing against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton.
Playing at home, Pep Guardiola’s men displayed early intent as only a last-ditch Thomas Partey intervention denied them an opener in the third minute of the encounter. From their start to the game, it was evident that the opener was not far behind, and it duly came along shortly.
Seven minutes into the clash, the home side went in front through playmaker Kevin De Bruyne. The 31-year-old midfielder latched onto a pass from Haaland to open the scoring for the league champions with an unstoppable strike from outside the box.
Haaland looked like he was in the mood, but found a formidable opponent in Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. The Englishman pulled off several impressive stops to keep the scores at 1-0, denying the Norwegian a record-breaking goal.
With halftime beckoning, the home side found a second goal in added time to change the complexion of the tie. A delicious free-kick delivery from De Bruyne was headed home at the far post by an unmarked John Stones, with the goal confirmed by the VAR after a brief check.
The second half was more of the same for Manchester City as they toyed with their opponents, keeping possession with their tidy passing and offering no respite with their pressing. Arsenal struggled to keep the ball and progress it into the final third.
Manchester City scored their third of the match just nine minutes into the second half through the irrepressible De Bruyne. The Belgian midfielder picked up the ball in midfield after a wayward pass from Martin Odegaard before strolling forward and exchanging passes with Haaland. From inside the box, he simply passed the ball through the legs of Rob Holding and beyond Ramsdale’s despairing dive.
After a raft of changes, Arsenal managed to gain a foothold in the game and pulled one back in the 86th minute through Holding. The defender was on hand the curl an effort past Ederson into the back of the net after Leandro Trossard overran the ball in the box.
Haaland added his name to the scoresheet with virtually the last kick of the game as Manchester City took advantage of a poor Arsenal clearance. The Norwegian striker was played in behind by substitute Phil Foden and fired an effort into the back of the net to round off the scoring. Haaland has now scored 33 goals in the Premier League this season, breaking the record of 32 goals in a 38-game season previously held by Mohamed Salah.
Manchester City beating Arsenal will have surely left a dent in their title hopes as was evident in the ugly scenes that broke out on the pitch after the game. The title is now in the hands of the champions once again, and is theirs to lose now.