Arsenal draw with Manchester City as Liverpool go top in Premier League

Manchester City failed to break down Arsenal as a highly-anticipated clash at the top of the Premier League failed to live up to the hype in a 0-0 draw at the Etihad on Sunday.

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Liverpool were the big winners of the day in the title race as they beat Brighton 2-1 to go top, two points ahead of Arsenal and three clear of City with nine games to play.

A share of the spoils preserves City’s unbeaten home run stretching back to November 2022 and ends Arsenal’s eight-match winning run in the Premier League.

But it is the Gunners who will be happier with a point as they prevented Pep Guardiola’s men from scoring at the Etihad for the first time in two years.

City dominated possession but struggled to make anything of it against a defence that has conceded the fewest number of goals in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal have also been in free-scoring form at the other end, netting 33 times during their eight-match winning streak.

However, the visitors had lost on their last eight trips to the Etihad, including a 4-1 thrashing as the title race swung decisively in City’s favour last season, and opted for a counter-attacking approach.

Gabriel Jesus came into the Arsenal side on his return to the Etihad and had the visitors best effort of a shot-shy first half when he dragged wide from the edge of the box.

Nathan Ake wasted City’s best chance in the first half when he failed to connect properly with a dangerous Kevin De Bruyne corner and David Raya gratefully smothered the loose ball.

City were already missing the key defensive duo of Kyle Walker and John Stones after both were injured on international duty with England.

And Guardiola was forced to cobble together an even more makeshift backline when Ake hobbled off on 27 minutes.

Arsenal, though, rarely tested the City defence despite both sides upping the tempo after the break.

Jesus could just not stretch far enough to meet Bukayo Saka’s cross in the only sign of life from the England international.

Erling Haaland was extremely well-marshalled by Arsenal’s solid centre-back pairing of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba.

And the Norwegian fluffed his lines when he did get a rare sight of goal seven minutes from time as he failed to connect with a corner at the back post.

Arsenal’s best chance to snatch all three points came late on when substitute Leandro Trossard was released in behind, but the Belgian fired straight at Stefan Ortega.

City’s failure to find a winner means they are still yet to beat any of the top five in the Premier League this season.

And the champions now need favours from both Liverpool and Arsenal if they are to become the first side to ever win four consecutive English top-flight titles.

(AFP)

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