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Manchester City vs. Arsenal: Kevin De Bruyne inspires Premier League champion to key title race victory over Arsenal

<i>Lexy Ilsley/Manchester City FC/Getty Images</i><br/>Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in Manchester City's top of the table clash against Arsenal.
Manchester City FC via Getty Ima
Lexy Ilsley/Manchester City FC/Getty Images
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in Manchester City's top of the table clash against Arsenal.

By Thomas Schlachter, CNN

Manchester City landed a key blow in the English Premier League title race after the defending champion secured a 4-1 win against current leader Arsenal.

The game encapsulated the differences between the two sides and showed where they are in their respective evolution.

The home side took control of the game from the start and went ahead after just seven minutes through a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne goal from outside the box.

Manchester City then missed big opportunities to double its advantage before John Stones headed home a De Bruyne freekick just before the interval.

De Bruyne added a third in the second half and, although Rob Holding reduced the deficit, Erling Haaland completed City’s comprehensive win as he scored his 33rd Premier League goal of the season in stoppage time.

The win puts Manchester City just two points behind the Gunners, with Pep Guardiola’s team having two games in hand.

However, De Bruyne remained coy as to whether City was now on course to win a third successive Premier League title.

“We know what people would say whoever won this game, but I think it’s so hard and a lot of things can happen,” De Bruyne told BT Sport.

“There are still seven games, that’s a lot of points and I know we have two games in hand but we’re still behind them. People will say that we will win the title now, but I know this team and we will not give in until it mathematically can be done.”

City has won its last seven Premier League games and Guardiola touched on the mindset his side have had throughout their dominant run.

“We are back-to-back Premier League winners so in September, October, November, when you lose a game, I said: ‘We have time, we have time,’ and Arsenal in the beginning was completely the opposite — so every game is like a final,” the 52-year-old Guardiola told BT Sport.

Guardiola’s counterpart Mikel Arteta gave an honest appraisal of his side’s performance and where Arsenal finds itself in the title race.

“We were beaten by the better team, that’s for sure,” said Arteta. “They were exceptional today and when that’s the case, it’s extremely difficult to reach that level.

“We are not going to give up and it’s five games to go in this league and anything can happen.”

Manchester City will look to continue its form with a trip to London this weekend to take on Fulham, while Arsenal meets London rivals Chelsea in its next Premier League outing.

Meanwhile Wednesday’s victory also bolstered Manchester City’s pursuit of the Treble.

City faces 14-time European Cup winner Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals over two legs on May 9 and 17.

The reigning European champion will pose a serious threat to City but, after beating Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, Guardiola’s team will be full of confidence.

Then Manchester United awaits City in the FA Cup final on June 3. In the first ever Manchester derby at this stage of the knockout cup competition, City could secure the second part of a Treble, one week before the Champions League final in Istanbul is set to take place.

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