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Relentless Man City outclass Arsenal as Premier League title beckons – The Independent

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A game won after just 77 seconds, to almost confirm a title won after about five months of the season. This 1-0 win over Arsenal was Manchester City’s 13th successive league win, putting them one off the old Premier League record set by Arsene Wenger’s 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’, and it’s hard to see where it’s going to stop. The current Arsenal actually put in a credible attempt, but City were always a level above. They have been several levels above everyone else.

That is illustrated by how they are on the brink of a run that used to be considered hugely difficult to match – before City themselves smashed it – in a season where any kind of winning streak at all looked impossible.

City have withstood the pressures and complications of this season, in a way that does warrant renewed discussion about what it means for the competitiveness of football, but for the moment means that talk of a quadruple will develop again.

Arsenal missed the opportunity to go ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, but then facing City right now isn’t really an opportunity for anything except how it feels to get beaten. They are so hard to get close to it – in any sense.

Even allowing for how good City are, the opening goal was such a bad one to give away. Arteta should be livid with that. His team looked as if they had done no defensive preparation, given how easy they were just picked open. Riyad Mahrez ran at Kieran Tierney and admittedly played a supreme, Kevin De Bruyne-like cross, but Raheem Sterling was left free to leap and head in. Whatever about the fact that the forward is seven inches shorter than Rob Holding, the greater problem was that he gave him over a yard of space. Sterling was left to just head in unchallenged.

Raheem Sterling gives Man City the lead inside two minutes

(Getty Images)

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If that made Arsenal look unprepared, it set up a period where the whole game looked like Arteta was again just preparing matches for Guardiola.

The manner with which City passed the ball around for the next half-hour made it feel as if the Basque’s players were no more than cones set out, albeit this time in Arsenal jerseys. The game really did look like a training exercise, which is the kind of symbolism Arteta would surely like to avoid.

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