City’s title-winning history ultimately paid off in a frantic match at the Emirates Stadium, as a goal from Jack Grealish (72) and a 26th of the season from Erling Haaland (82) won a potentially important victory for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Earlier, Bukayo Saka’s penalty (42), awarded after Ederson was adjudged to have fouled Eddie Nketiah, had cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s (24), stunning first-time finish over Aaron Ramsdale after a weak Takehiro Tomiyasu backpass.
Arsenal, without Thomas Partey due to a muscular injury, deserved their leveller having started positively, but their recent slip-ups against Everton and Brentford had opened the door to City and Mikel Arteta’s side were unable to resist their second-half pressure.
The defeat extends Arsenal’s winless run to three games and puts the momentum behind a City side seemingly galvanised by the charges levelled against them by the Premier League. They go top on goal difference, albeit having played a game more.
Arsenal came into the game feeling a burning sense of injustice following the VAR error that allowed Ivan Toney’s equaliser to stand in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford and it could be felt in the ground, the home fans generating a crackling atmosphere.
Arsenal started strongly, despite the absence of Partey, replaced by full debutant Jorginho, and after surviving a nervy moment when Haaland elected to cross rather than shoot from a Riyad Mahrez cross, the hosts created the first clear chance of the game, Nketiah heading wastefully wide from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s diagonal cross.
It was a let-off for City and within two minutes they ruthlessly capitalised. Tomiyasu, selected ahead of Ben White at right-back, left his backpass short for Ramsdale and De Bruyne nipped in, lifting his finish over the stranded goalkeeper brilliantly.
It came from another Arsenal error as Gabriel ceded possession in his own half, but what followed was brilliantly clinical from City as they rapidly worked the ball out to Grealish, whose low finish took a slight deflection off Tomiyasu on its way into the net.
The game was then sealed by Haaland, who was passed fit to start having suffered an injury scare in City’s 3-1 win over Villa. The Norway striker controlled De Bruyne’s cut-back brilliantly before firing a low finish across Ramsdale and into the far corner for his 26th Premier League goal of the campaign.
Arsenal kept fighting, with Nketiah heading another effort wide, but by that point their fate was sealed, City’s experience and clinical edge proving the difference in a thrilling contest which may change the course of the Premier League title race.