Friday, December 8, 2023

City undoes Arsenal in the duel for the Premier and sends a notice to Madrid

The one this Wednesday in Manchester It was one of the big games of the year, one of those that every football fan had marked on the calendar postponing any other type of plan. The most anticipated night, the last battle in the fight to see which side the 2022/23 Premier League falls on. And Manchester City frayed the Arsenal in an Etihad Stadium that witnessed one of the best games of the season (4-1). The City did not reserve anything despite having on the horizon the first leg of the semifinals at the Santiago Bernabéu on May 9, the great objective of Pep and the City Group. But Guardiola’s men want to go step by step. And they passed over an Arsenal powerless to depend on themselves to win their third consecutive Premier League.

De Bruyne and Haaland gave Holding the night

Arsenal arrived in a delicate situation, with a certain vertigo in recent weeks and after miraculously saving the furniture against Southampton in discount (3-3). And a City expert in this type of situation began taking advantage of it. Guardiola’s men came out launched, attacking and turning quickly, attacking on the wings looking for Grealishwho already in minute two put in a lateral center that Ramsdale cleared badly.

A penalty from Thomas was claimed by an Etihad Stadium aware of what was at stake and that bit in every action. And Guardiola’s men did not take a breather. Because four minutes later, Kevin De Bruyne made it 1-0. Erling Haaland cushioned a long delivery from Stones with his back and left the way clear for the Belgian to adjust it to Ramsdale’s left post after a wonderful slalom and a clean finish with the precision of a surgeon.

De Bruyne celebrates scoring the first goal of the game against Arsenal. EUROPE PRESS

1-0 and straight to the chin for Arteta’s team, who had already been saving the furniture in the discount in recent dates and direct football from a City that has begun to sweep this second leg of the championship. Pep’s team amassed the ball, which seemed to work by heart, constantly seeking to get Holding out of the zone, who pointed out from the beginning to be one of Arsenal’s weaknesses, and suffered greatly from the siege of their rivals. The Gunners undoubtedly missed William Saliba.

Ramsdale was not enough

Haaland had the second in his boots again in minute 27. City’s ‘9’, with an unlikely futsal movement for a footballer of his size, failed to achieve the second by a miracle thanks to a great hand from Ramsdale. And with another low shot at 31 ‘he had it again. Notice for Nacho and Rüdiger of what they are going to find in a fortnight. Arteta’s men timidly tried to approach Ederson’s goal, but it seemed like just that: a timid team that has lacked gasoline and believe it on the day of truth. Neither Saka nor Martinelli managed to find those spaces and Arsenal were harmless with the ball.

In addition, City did not let their rival get on their beards at any time. Every time Arsenal tried to shake off their dominance, Haaland responded and was around second again at 35 and 40, although Ramsdale wanted to tie himself to the title like a burning nail. But the dramatic twist of the script for Arsenal was about to arrive. The VAR gave as legal a shot by Stones in a free kick kicked by De Bruyne, which he had previously annulled. And just before the break it was 2-0. Arteta’s face was a poem because his team barely appeared.

John Stones celebrates his goal against Arsenal. REUTERS

In the second part of the match, the movie stayed the same. Ramsdale denied Haaland a goal for the fourth time, until De Bruyne in 57 rubbed the lamp again and made the third. Here the English goalkeeper could not do anything and the Etihad surrendered. It was not for less, they were watching their team round off one of the best nights of the season and put the direct to the title, despite the fact that the team eased off the accelerator a bit, aware of what is coming in the next month.

Holding scores the goal of honor

Arsenal continued without testing Ederson beyond a foul by Saka and the Etihad was applauded by Kevin de Bruyne, undisputed MVP of the match. The game had a small detail with Holding, who scored the goal of honor in minute 86 after hunting a ball that had been loose inside the area. But when the party was dying, Haaland already did not forgive by signing the fourth.

The Norwegian, who minutes before had loosened his hair, signed his goal number 33 in the League this season breaking a new goalscoring record since it was played in 38 days. Nobody had ever done it before, only Andy Cole and Shearer in 42-game leagues. And with that the game ended and we will see if this edition of the Premier.

City rounded off a perfect night that confirms that they arrive perfectly tuned to aspire to the three remaining competitions: the Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid, the FA Cup final against Manchester United and this Premier in which, after what happened tonight, they depend on themselves.

On the side of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, a bittersweet aftertaste remains. He looked like he could hope to win his first title since 2004 and the season finale, but the ‘gunners’ can be proud of having performed above expectations and of the path they have sown. Of course, this Arsenal has planted a path to follow for many projects.


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