Manchester City seized the momentum in the Premier League title race after Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland helped secure a 3-1 win at Arsenal on Wednesday in a top-of-the-table match.
Grealish and Haaland both scored in the second half as the defending champions extended their recent dominance over Arsenal and showed they won’t relinquish the title easily.
The win puts City in first place ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, although the Gunners still have a game in hand. More importantly, perhaps, it maintained a psychological edge over Mikel Arteta’s team as City has now beaten Arsenal in 11 straight league matches.
In a game that lived up to the billing of the biggest Premier League match of the season so far with moments of end-to-end action, City took the lead when Kevin de Bruyne capitalized on a defensive error in the 24th minute, before Bukayo Saka equalized from the penalty spot in the 42nd.
Arsenal made a bright start but gave away the lead cheaply after City goalkeeper Ederson booted the ball up the field. Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu tried to pass the ball back to Aaron Ramsdale but only hit it into the path of De Bruyne, who curled a lob over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the empty net.
Minutes earlier, Eddie Nketiah had spurned the best chance of the game so far when Oleksandr Zinchenko picked him out in the box with a cross but the striker headed wide.
Tomiyasu had a chance to make amends in the 28th after Gabriel Martinelli picked him out with a cross into the area but the Japan international volleyed the ball well high of the bar.
But Arsenal’s pressure paid off when it was awarded a penalty for a foul by Ederson on Nketiah as the striker tried to shoot from a difficult angle, and Saka calmly rolled it into the left corner after sending Ederson the wrong way.
City then thought it had a penalty early in the second half when Gabriel clumsily pulled down Haaland in the area, but the decision was overturned for an offside on the Norway striker.
But City still retook the lead after another mistake by Gabriel, who turned the ball over in his own half. The visitors countered quickly and Ilkay Gundogan squared the ball for Grealish, who beat Ramsdale with a low shot that took a deflection off Tomiyasu.
Haaland was fit to start after picking up a knock in the previous game against Aston Villa on Sunday and took his tally to 26 league goals this season when De Bruyne cut the ball for the striker, who took one touch before slotting a shot into the far corner.
Nketiah sent another header wide late on but that was the closest Arsenal came to pulling a goal back.
Arsenal has now gone three straight league games without a victory – losing two of those – after racking up 16 wins in the first 19 rounds of the season. The Gunners have dropped more points in those three games (8) than they did in the first 19 (7).
The game had originally been scheduled for October but was postponed because of a schedule reshuffling in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Dortmund beats Chelsea in Champions League first leg
DORTMUND, Germany – Karim Adeyemi sprinted the length of the field to score the only goal as Borussia Dortmund beat Chelsea 1-0 on Wednesday to leave its big-spending British opponent’s Champions League campaign in jeopardy after the first leg of their last-16 meeting. Chelsea created – and missed – many of the best chances before a lightning counterattack broke the deadlock for Dortmund. After Chelsea’s Joao Felix missed a headed chance on a corner, the German team launched into the counter as Adeyemi surged down the field, beating Enzo Fernandez before rounding goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and scoring into the empty net. Adeyemi celebrated with a backflip.
Benfica beats Brugge to extend Champions League unbeaten run
BRUGGE, Belgium – Joao Mario scored from the penalty spot and substitute David Neres added a second goal with two minutes left as Benfica took a step toward the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Club Brugge on Wednesday in the first leg of their last 16 tie. Despite losing Enzo Fernandez following his high-profile move to Chelsea, Benfica showed it remains a dangerous attacking team. Benfica is now unbeaten in its last eight games in the Champions League, with five wins and three draws. The victory over the Belgian champions marked the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Lisbon club has won three games in a row in the European competition. Brugge will travel to Lisbon for the return leg on March 7.