Saturday, May 11

Manchester City lets hair down to verify Premier League dominance

Erling Haaland undid his ponytail and launched his flowing blond locks moments earlier than ending off Arsenal in a purported Premier League title decider that changed into a procession for Manchester City.

The defending champions definitely let their hair down at Etihad Stadium with a swaggering efficiency that left little doubt about who the highest staff in England is.

Not that there has ever actually been a debate.

Backed by the riches of Abu Dhabi and led by arguably the world’s greatest coach in Pep Guardiola, City has established an period of domination within the Premier League that’s beginning to mirror that of France (with Paris Saint-Germain) and Germany (with Bayern Munich).

Complete the job – and City is the massive favourite after Wednesday’s 4-1 victory that trimmed the hole on Arsenal to 2 factors with two video games in hand – and the staff can have gained three straight titles and 5 of the final six in supposedly the world’s best league.

OK, there are query marks surrounding the foundations of this exceptional trophy run, with City going through greater than 100 prices of alleged wrongdoing and failures to co-operate with a Premier League investigation into the membership’s funds.

PHOTOS: Man City lets hair down to verify Premier League dominance

For the second, although, that’s with the legal professionals.

On the sphere, City continues to swat away all-comers with an exciting type of play that has turn out to be extra diverse for the reason that arrival of Haaland, who rivals PSG ahead Kylian Mbappe as the most effective striker on the earth.

No surprise Arsenal’s younger gamers have stumbled with City – propelled by Haaland’s targets and Guardiola’s technique – chasing them down with a now-familiar successful run.

The league title seems to be to be heading to the Etihad as soon as once more. And the treble – Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup – seems to be nicely inside City’s grasp.

“They were exceptional, and it’s extremely difficult to reach that level,” Arsenal supervisor Mikel Arteta stated.

It’s a degree that may even enable City to interrupt new floor within the Champions League, a trophy the membership has by no means gained. A two-legged semifinal assembly with Real Madrid awaits subsequent month when City may but meet its match, given the Spanish staff’s aura and historical past within the competitors.

But City seems to be a extra rounded and harmful staff than the one which fell simply brief in opposition to Madrid within the semifinals final season.

Much of that’s all the way down to Haaland, who now has 33 targets within the Premier League – a report in a 38-game marketing campaign – and 49 in all competitions after netting the fourth in opposition to Arsenal. City has been remodeled by the presence of the Norway striker, who confirmed in opposition to Arsenal that there’s way more to his sport than merely scoring targets.

He additionally had two assists for Kevin De Bruyne, the star of the present and a participant who has made a behavior of coming good within the closing months of the season.

As if opposition defenses don’t have sufficient to fret about with Haaland alone, De Bruyne – English soccer’s participant of the 12 months in two of the final three seasons – has burst into life with three targets and 5 assists in his final 4 league video games. His link-up play with Haaland is getting higher by the week and he was unstoppable in opposition to Arsenal in his roving midfield function.

Whether De Bruyne will get that a lot area in opposition to opponents who will sit again in opposition to City, like Fulham and West Ham within the staff’s subsequent two video games, is one other matter. In that case, he’ll depend on his supply into Haaland from deeper areas to make the distinction.

That’s the factor with City: Every base is roofed. The sight of Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez coming off the bench in opposition to drained legs highlighted the power in depth, with at present solely Nathan Ake unavailable due to damage.

City can lastly take the lead off Arsenal by successful at Fulham on Saturday – Arsenal doesn’t play once more till Tuesday, at house in opposition to Chelsea – and the massive hope for Arteta’s staff is that City will get sidetracked by these video games in opposition to Madrid on May 9 and 17. A visit to Everton is available in between them, whereas away matches in opposition to Brighton and Brentford to complete the league season might show troublesome.

Then once more, Arsenal has the hardest sport left for both of the title challengers – at Newcastle on May 7 – so City might but get additional respite.

“We have been through tough moments and tough situations at this stage in the season in the past, so we know what to do in certain scenarios,” City defender John Stones stated. “It’s just experience, and everyone still has that hunger.”

Wealth, outrageous expertise, a successful mentality. No surprise groups are discovering it nearly unimaginable to cease City, as Arsenal has simply found.

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