EPL PIX: Rampant Man City crush Arsenal; Chelsea fall at home

IMAGES from the EPL matches played on Wednesday.

A Kevin De Bruyne-inspired Manchester City struck a hammer blow in the Premier League title race as they outclassed leaders Arsenal 4-1 with an electrifying display in a seismic clash of the top two at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s relentless side ran riot as they made it 12 successive league wins against Arsenal with a masterful De Bruyne scoring twice and Erling Haaland also on target as City seized control of their destiny.

De Bruyne fired City ahead in the seventh minute from Haaland’s pass and the hosts bombarded Arsenal’s goal before John Stones deservedly doubled their lead with a header in first half stoppage time.

Arsenal, who began the clash five points clear but having drawn three successive games, looked powerless to stop the onslaught and when De Bruyne struck again early in the second half it became a damage-limitation operation for the leaders.

Rob Holding grabbed an 86th-minute consolation but it was too little too late for Mikel Arteta’s side and City now look firm favourites to claim a fifth title in six seasons.

Haaland finally got on the scoresheet in stoppage time for his 49th goal of the season in all competitions — the most by a top-flight player in England since Clive Allen in 1986-87.

City’s seventh successive league win left them with 73 points to Arsenal’s 75, but crucially they have played two fewer games than the Londoners whose hopes of a first title since 2004 now look forlorn after four games without a win.

Guardiola’s City have trailed Arsenal for almost the entire season but will go top if they beat Fulham at the weekend.

“We know what people will say but it’s so hard and a lot of things can happen,” De Bruyne told BT Sport.

“It’s seven games still to go, lots of points, and we are still two points behind Arsenal. Our schedule is hectic, there are a lot of things going on we have to prepare for Sunday.”

A damaging April took the wind out of Arsenal’s sails but a first league win over City since 2015 would have put them put them back in charge of the race.

Unlike against bottom Southampton in Friday’s frenetic 3-3 draw they got through the opening minute without conceding.

But the writing was on the wall as Haaland and De Bruyne began to combine to devastating effect.

Haaland showed great strength to control a high ball and send de Bruyne racing away with a neat pass and the Belgian advanced before nonchalantly curling a shot inside the post.

City sensed Arsenal’s fragility and went for the jugular, tearing through the visitors lines at will.


De Bruyne looked poised for a carbon copy of his opener as Arsenal’s high-line defence was again caught out but this time his shot was blocked. Minutes later Ramsdale denied Haaland as the Norwegian bullied his way through more flimsy defending.

Haaland forced another sharp save from Ramsdale before Arsenal finally threatened with Thomas Partey shooting wide.

The onslaught continued though and Haaland thought he had scored only to see his left-footed shot flash wide before yet again forcing a save from Ramsdale.

Had Arsenal reached halftime a goal down it would have felt like a psychological victory, but Stones rose to head in De Bruyne’s lethal delivery in stoppage time.

The goal was initially ruled offside but a VAR check showed Stones was played on by a chunk of Ben White’s foot.

If Arsenal still harboured any hopes of salvaging something they vanished in the 54th minute when Haaland fed De Bruyne for another silky finish past Ramsdale.

“I don’t think they were scared, but the way we started the game, we put ourselves in trouble,” Arteta said.

“When you come here you need to be at your best. Today we were far from that.”

Treble-chasing City throttled back and Arsenal gave their fans some cheer when Holding fired in from the edge of the area.

But Haaland had the last laugh as City, who are in the FA Cup final and face Real Madrid in the Champions League semis, made it 28 points from the last 30 on offer.

Matip header keeps Liverpool in European hunt after 2-1 win over West Ham

A bullet header from Joel Matip gave Liverpool a 2-1 Premier League win over West Ham United that moved them above Tottenham Hotspur and back into the European places after a frenetic end-to-end game at the London Stadium on Wednesday.

The Reds are in sixth spot in the table on 53 points, ahead of Spurs thanks to their far superior goal difference and one point behind Aston Villa with a game in hand as they seek to salvage a disappointing season.

The visitors had to battle hard for their victory, with West Ham taking the lead in stunning fashion in the 12th minute when Lucas Paqueta cut in from the left and played a one-two with Michail Antonio before firing home from the edge of the area.

That lead lasted only six minutes as Dutch striker Cody Gakpo received a pass in a central position, taking a touch before quickly unleashing a bouncing shot that evaded the dive of Lukasz Fabianski before nestling in the far corner.

It took a brilliant piece of defending by Virgil van Dijk to prevent West Ham going ahead again just before the break as he got a toe to a superb angled ball from Said Benrahma to prevent Antonio from scoring at the far post.

Liverpool dominated possession throughout but the Hammers were dangerous on the break, and they had a brilliant solo goal by Jarrod Bowen ruled out after a VAR review found him to be offside early in the second half.

After having a shot blocked a minute earlier, Matip got the winner in the 67th minute when he powered home a close-range header from Andy Robertson’s corner.

West Ham had a late shout for a penalty turned down when the ball struck the arm of substitute Thiago Alcantara as he went in for a tackle, but the referee waved away their appeals and VAR did not come to their aid as Liverpool hung on for their third win in a row.

The loss brought an end to a run that saw West Ham take seven points from three games and dropped them one spot to 14th, five points ahead of Leicester City in 18th place.

Brentford deepen Chelsea’s slump with 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge

Brentford condemned Chelsea to a fifth defeat in five games in all competitions under interim coach Frank Lampard on Wednesday as an own goal by Blues’ captain Cesar Azpilicueta and a strike by Bryan Mbeumo handed the Bees a 2-0 win in the Premier League.

The loss left toothless Chelsea 11th in the Premier League table, stumbling towards possibly their worst campaign since the 1993/94 season – when they finished 14th under Glenn Hoddle – despite their new US owners’ huge outlay on players.

Brentford went ahead when defender Mathias Jorgensen headed on a corner at the near post and the ball struck Azpilicueta and went in after 37 minutes, before the visitors had even had a shot of their own on target.

Lampard — Chelsea’s third coach this season after Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter were fired — brought on winger Mykhailo Mudryk and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at halftime as he sought to end a goal drought that has now seen the London side score only once in seven games in all competitions.

But it was substitute Mbeumo who showed the Blues how to do it in the 78th minute when he drifted in from the right and his fiercely hit shot was deflected beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The three points pushed Brentford up a spot to ninth in the league, eight points ahead of their big-spending west London neighbours for whom this season cannot finish quickly enough.

Media reports said Chelsea were close to hiring former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino as coach from next season.

Forest climb out of relegation zone with Brighton win

Nottingham Forest moved out of the relegation zone as Brazilian Danilo scored his first goal for the club to help seal a 3-1 Premier League victory over Europe-chasing Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.

Brennan Johnson missed an early penalty for Forest at the City Ground and Brighton deservedly led when 18-year-old Argentine Facundo Buonanotte also netted for the first time in the Premier League.

But Forest forced Brighton midfielder Pascal Gross to put the ball into his own net seconds before halftime, and Danilo capitalised from more sloppy play to put the home side in front in the second period.

Morgan Gibbs-White added a late third from another spot-kick as Forest climbed to 17th with 30 points from 33 games, one clear of the drop-zone, while Brighton remain in eighth position on 49 points from 30 matches.

The victory, achieved with 25 percent possession, ends an 11-game winless streak for the hosts, who had to weather a storm from their visitors in the first half, but profited from three Brighton errors to snatch victory.

There was perhaps a hangover for the south coast club from their penalty shootout loss to Manchester United in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final as they lacked their usual precision and wasted numerous opportunities to score in a below-par performance.

Johnson saw his early penalty saved superbly by Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele and the nerves grew more strained for the home fans when Buonanotte tapped home after Keylor Navas spilled a tame shot into his path.

The home side were level at the break as Gross turned Renan Lodi’s low cross into his own net, after which Kaoru Mitoma missed a golden chance for the visitors.

Forest took the lead when Brighton’s Moises Caicedo was sloppy in possession and Danilo was sent clear to score, before Lewis Dunk’s late handball provided another spot-kick for the hosts and this time Gibbs-White made no mistake.

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