City scores easily even without Haaland, Arsenal teaches Leeds a lesson
Manchester City keeps the pressure on Arsenal thanks to a simple win over Liverpool: 4-1. The guests still took the lead, but in the end Nathan Aké’s team was far too strong for ‘The Reds’ of Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo.
Leaders Arsenal also ate their opponent with skin and hair, despite an unfit star player Bukayo Saka, Leeds United was beaten 4-1.
In the first quarter of an hour, the home side had the best chances. Rodri shot once into the hands of goalkeeper Alisson Becker and Riyad Mahrez curled a free kick just wide of the goal. Yet it was Liverpool that took the lead.
Mo Salah made it 0-1 in the 16th minute on a pass from Diogo Jota with a watched ball into the cross. VAR did take a quick look at whether Jota was not in an offside position earlier in the attack, but City defender Manuel Akanji was a fraction behind the Portuguese and so the goal stood.
Ten minutes later it was already level. After a fine combination, Jack Grealish delivered a measured cross to striker Julián Álvarez, who slid in with control. The Argentine had a starting place because club leading scorer Erling Haaland was in the stands with an injury.
After 34 minutes, there was a heated discussion between players from both clubs and the referee, which occurred after a foul by Rodri on Gakpo. The Dutchman’s holding appeared to be a foul ripe for yellow, but referee Simon Hooper spared the midfielder.
Rodri had received a yellow card shortly before and thus would have been sent off with a second yellow card. The flame flared every so often after this moment, but Hooper kept his cool. There were no major chances until halftime.
Two goals in eight minutes
City shot off like a comet after the break. After barely a minute, Rodri fed a deep ball to Mahrez, the Algerian laid the ball off ready for the on-running Kevin De Bruyne: 2-1.
A few minutes later, the match was decided. After a fine attack, a shot by Álvarez was still blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold, but İlkay Gündoğan’s rebound was unstoppable for goalkeeper Alisson. Thus, eight minutes after halftime, Liverpool suddenly found themselves trailing 3-1.
Fifteen minutes before time, things got worse for Jürgen Klopp’s team. Jack Grealish rounded off a one-two with De Bruyne while falling and made sure that even the last glimmer of hope from ‘The Reds’ disappeared.
This defeat leaves Liverpool in sixth place with as many points as number seven Brighton and number eight Brentford, Brighton having played two games less. A place among the top four, and thus Champions League soccer, is thus increasingly out of the picture.
Arsenal vs. Leeds
With Dutch defender Pascal Struijk and striker Crysencio Summerville in the starting lineup, Leeds started the match against Arsenal. Leaders Arsenal had to do it this time without Saka, who was already not feeling well at training and took a seat on the bench. The first time in 485 days that Saka was not a base player.
Leeds showed themselves dangerous on a number of occasions in the first half and got a big chance fairly soon through former Ajax player Rasmus Kristensen. But ten minutes before halftime things went wrong for the visitors, due to a tackle by Luke Ayling on Gabriel Jesus. The ball went to the spot, and was shot hard through the middle into the ropes by Jesus himself: 1-0 for Arsenal.
Shortly after halftime, Ben White put Arsenal up 2-0, and a few minutes later Jesus made it 3-0, cleverly freeing himself and shooting inexorably hard into the left corner. Thus, the frontrunner still pulled this match to their advantage, with, moreover, a substitute from Saka in the end.
Fifteen minutes before time, Leeds had a fluke, after a shot from Kristensen; the ball ended up in the net via the back of Oleksandr Zinchenko: 3-1. But Leeds, hungry for more goals, left too much space at the back, which Granit Xhaka cleverly exploited with a header: 4-1.
And so Arsenal thundered on, the long-awaited title one step closer by the week.