Manchester City feasted on a pair of individual mistakes Wednesday en route to a 3-1 victory over Arsenal that moved them back into first place in the Premier League.
However, City are only ahead of their title rivals on goal difference, having played one more game than the Gunners.
The defending champions took the lead when Kevin De Bruyne intercepted Takehiro Tomiyasu’s poorly struck back pass and angled a shot past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in the 24th minute. Although Bukayo Saka leveled from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute, Arsenal failed to build on the momentum they had in the opening half. City grew in confidence, and Erling Haaland had a penalty overturned when the video assistant referee adjudged him to be offside.
Jack Grealish eventually restored the visitors’ lead in the 72nd minute, converting from close range after Bernardo Silva picked off Gabriel’s feeble sideline pass. Haaland sealed the result with a clinical finish off a well-worked play in the penalty area.
Arsenal have now dropped eight points in their last three Premier League matches. Their poor run of form began with a deflating 1-0 loss to Everton on Feb. 4 and continued through the weekend with a 1-1 draw against Brentford.
That game was decided in part by the video assistant referee, who failed to properly check for offside in the build-up to Ivan Toney’s equalizer. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said the incident made his players “stronger,” but on Wednesday, the evidence was lacking.
City picked their moments to strike and managed to threaten Ramsdale’s goal without Haaland getting much time on the ball. Pep Guardiola’s side controlled just 40% of possession in the first half and 33% in the second.
Arsenal struggled to create their own offense, with Eddie Nketiah sending a pair of close-range headers wide of the post. In the end, the north Londoners failed to land a single shot on target from open play.
It’s now up to Arsenal to get back into a title race few expected them to be a part of. They travel to Aston Villa on Saturday before taking on Leicester City next weekend. City face relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth over their next two matches.