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Ten title-race turning points: how Manchester City overtook Arsenal | Manchester City

Manchester City are Premier League champions after Arsenal lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Here is how their dramatic, nine-month title race with Arsenal unfolded.

Erling Haaland scores in Manchester City’s draw at Aston Villa in September

Villa hold City, United defeat Arsenal

3 September: Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester City

Erling Haaland scores his 10th league goal of the season in City’s sixth game, but Villa hit back to claim a point through Leon Bailey.

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, and Steven Gerrard, then Aston Villa manager
Manchester United’s Antony scores in the win over Arsenal in September

4 September: Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal

The following day, Arsenal fail to open a lead at the top as they lose 3-1 at Old Trafford, but are already emerging as serious title contenders.

Arsenal: 15 points (played six games)
Man City: 14 points (played six games)

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores against Manchester City, October 16, 2022.

Salah on the mark

16 October: Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City

Arsenal bounce back to win their next four games, putting pressure on City to get a result against old rivals Liverpool at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp’s side kick off in the bottom half of the table but find a glimpse of their old form to end the visitors’ unbeaten start, Mohamed Salah getting the winner after Phil Foden’s goal is disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

Salah streaked through to score the game’s only goal, handing City a first defeat of the Premier League season and reminding everybody that this Liverpool team are a long way from being a spent force – Andy Hunter

Arsenal: 27 points (played 1o)
Man City: 23 points (played 10)

Ivan Toney of Brentford celebrates after scoring against Manchester City in November

Ivan at the double

12 November: Man City 1-2 Brentford

In the final round of games before the World Cup break, Ivan Toney’s double earns Brentford a shock win at the Etihad that means Arsenal will be top at Christmas. Mikel Arteta’s squad watched the match and then ran out 2-0 winners at Molineux, Martin Ødegaard’s two goals opening a gap at the top.

Martin Ødegaard of Arsenal celebrates after scoring against Wolves

Being top at Christmas is a milestone that Arsenal have not managed since 2007 and, even if they have played only 14 games, it is increasingly difficult to quell the excitement around his vibrant team – Ben Fisher

Arsenal: 37 points (played 14)
Man City: 32 points (played 14)

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford scores past Manchester City’s Ederson

Derby days

14 January: Man Utd 2-1 Man City

Many expect the leaders to wobble when the league resumes but instead it is City who falter, with derby defeat at Old Trafford compounded by Arsenal’s nerveless win at Spurs the next day. Arsenal pull eight points clear and are looking unstoppable.

This is not the City who have been champions in four of the past five years. There is a discordant note to their play that has knocked them crucially off kilter – Jamie Jackson

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City looks dejected during the loss to Manchester United
Aaron Ramsdale, the Arsenal goalkeeper, winks after making a save against Tottenham Hotspur

15 January: Tottenham 0-2 Arsenal

Arsenal are eight points clear at the top after 18 matches and a first title since 2004 is theirs to lose – David Hytner

Arsenal: 47 points (played 18)
Man City: 39 points (played 18)

Everton’s James Tarkowski celebrates after scoring in the 1-0 win over Arsenal

Unstuck at the Toffees

4 February: Everton 1-0 Arsenal

After the two title rivals meet in the FA Cup fourth round (with City winning 1-0), Arsenal’s five-month unbeaten run is unexpectedly broken by Everton. City cannot take advantage as they are beaten 1-0 by Spurs on a frustrating afternoon. The following day brings news of a raft of Premier League charges against City for allegedly breaching financial fair play rules.

Arsenal dominated possession but there was a distinct lack of quality or precision with it. Their title challenge needs an instant reaction – Andy Hunter

Harry Kane scoring for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City

5 February: Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City

Arsenal: 50 points (played 20)
Man City: 45 points (played 21)

Jack Grealish celebrates after scoring to put Manchester City 2-1 ahead against Arsenal

City rein in the Gunners

15 February: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City

The reaction doesn’t come, with Arsenal held at home by Brentford before a first league meeting of the season with City, in a fixture pushed back as an indirect result of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. After a hard-fought first half, City take control with goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland, climbing above Arsenal on goal difference.

Pep Guardiola, the City manager, during the match at Arsenal

It is strange to think how recently this looked like a long-term pursuit for Pep Guardiola’s team. That lead is now eaten away. The skinny-legged figure haring along in the rear-view mirror has become a pounding presence, grasping for the wheel – Barney Ronay

Erling Haaland scores the third goal against Arsenal

Man City: 51pts, +36 GD (played 23)
Arsenal: 51pts, +26 GD (played 22)

All 11 Arsenal players celebrate their 97th-minute winner, scored by Reiss Nelson, in a dramatic match against Bournemouth

Late drama at the Emirates

4 March: Man City 2-0 Newcastle, Arsenal 3-2 Bournemouth

Arsenal bounce back in style, winning seven in a row as City drop two points at Nottingham Forest. After the champions grind out a 2-0 win over top-four chasing Newcastle, the pressure gets to Arsenal as they go 2-0 down to Bournemouth – but a dramatic comeback, capped by Reiss Nelson’s last-gasp winner, fuels a sense of destiny at the Emirates.

The best title-winning campaigns all contain those flashes in time that set fate’s course: as Arsenal’s substitutes and coaching staff piled on to the pitch in delirium, the Emirates stands a blur of limbs and faces to an extent rarely seen, it was hard not to feel that Reiss Nelson had conjured one – Nick Ames

Reiss Nelson celebrates after scoring an injury-time winner
Phil Foden scores against Newcastle United

Arsenal: 63pts (played 26)
Man City: 58pts (played 26)

Jarrod Bowen of West Ham scores in the draw against Arsenal

Arsenal’s challenge falters

16 April: West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

As City relentlessly pick up results in the league and in Europe, Arsenal try to take the positives from their slip-ups. The Europa League exit to Sporting frees up the fixture list, but William Saliba’s injury is a worry. At Anfield, a two-goal lead is surrendered but a late onslaught withstood. Perhaps, all things considered, this was a point gained? The same cannot be said a week later, as Bukayo Saka’s missed penalty contributes to another draw.

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino scores in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal

If Arsenal’s wait for the Premier League title is to extend beyond the end of the season, this will go down as the day when their challenge faltered. There were not so many ‘what ifs?’ at Anfield even though they led 2-0. It was an entirely different feeling here. This was a game that Arsenal held in their palms – David Hytner

Arsenal: 74pts (played 31)
Man City: 70pts (played 30)

John Stones scores the second goal past Arsenal’s goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Title showdown in Manchester

26 April: Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal

City head into the game at the Etihad on a six-game winning run, while Arsenal scramble a point in a chaotic 3-3 draw at home to lowly Southampton. That result means Arsenal need to win at the Etihad to keep the title’s destiny in their hands. It never looks likely from the moment Kevin De Bruyne sweeps home with just seven minutes gone. Arsenal are still top, but City’s games in hand add to the sense that the pendulum has swung their way.

Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal in the match against Arsenal
Ederson, the Manchester City goalkeeper, mocks the visiting supporters

When did it become not just clear but utterly unavoidable that Manchester City were winning this game? Perhaps in the first few seconds, when the air was sucked out through the stadium roof and Arsenal were already panting, whirling, trying to find a foothold – Barney Ronay

City fans do the Poznan after the third goal scored by Kevin De Bruyne

Arsenal: 75pts (played 33)
Man City: 73pts (played 31)

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gündogan celebrates after scoring the opening goal at Everton

City on a roll, Gunners rocked

14 May: Everton 0-3 Man City, Arsenal 0-3 Brighton

As Pep Guardiola’s side chalked off wins over Fulham, West Ham and Leeds, Arsenal held on. They emerged from St James’ Park with a deserved victory, and Everton’s 5-1 win at Brighton offered an intriguing twist before the next round of fixtures. City’s two-goal opening salvo killed the game at Goodison, piling pressure on to their challengers. Arsenal finally gave in, the team surrendering and fans pouring out of the Emirates in a 3-0 defeat that left City one win from the title.

Erling Haaland scores the second goal at Everton
Pep Guardiola celebrates his team’s 3-0 victory with Erling Haaland

Arsenal have given it a heck of a roll – many people did not think they would even finish in the top four. But needing victory to keep alive their title hopes, they were brought to their knees by Brighton – David Hytner

Julio Enciso of Brighton scores the first goal past Aaron Ramsdale

Man City: 85pts (played 35)
Arsenal: 81pts (played 36)

Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey of Arsenal look dejected.
Manchester City fans celebrate outside the Etihad Stadium.

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