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EPL PIX: Arsenal hold City; open up title race for Liverpool

Last updated on: April 01, 2024 01:33 IST
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Man City and Arsenal draw 0-0 to hand Liverpool title-race advantage


IMAGE: Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu in action with Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Arsenal nullified reigning champions Manchester City in a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, allowing Liverpool to take top spot on a pivotal day in the Premier League's three-way title race

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, in the hunt for their first league title in 20 years, are second in the table on 65 points with nine games remaining, while City are third with 64. Liverpool, on 67 points, claimed the lead with their 2-1 comeback victory over Brighton & Hove Albion earlier on Sunday.

"No way can you be fully happy (with just a point)," Arteta told Sky Sports. "Listen, I think we have made a big step today. Coming to these big places not a lot of teams have done what we have done today, especially when there is a lot at stake and the pressure elevates. To respond to it is another step."

The match failed to live up to its billing as a battle of titans. City dominated possession with 72.2% and came at Arsenal in waves.

But the visitors frustrated Pep Guardiola's men - including league-leading scorer Erling Haaland - with a textbook defensive display to extend their unbeaten league run to nine games and end their streak of eight losses at the Etihad.

"Tough game ... take the point and onto the next," Guardiola told the BBC. "They make a really good pressing. They are a master of that. It is what it is. In the end we tried. They have really top players in defence, defending perfectly compact. Low block. We tried."

Usually prolific Man City were restricted to just one shot on goal and it was the first time in 58 games across all competitions that they have not scored at home.

"We want all the three points obviously, and we tried our best to get the win ... but we'll take the point and move on," Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard said.

"We had to defend a lot, a bit more deep than we would have liked. It was a tight game and a tough one. So much can happen before the end of the season, we have to take it game-by-game."

Gabriel Jesus had Arsenal's best chances, firing two shots just wide in the first half and then narrowly failing to meet an inviting cross from Bukayo Saka.

City's best opportunity was Kevin De Bruyne's early corner kick that glanced off the shoulder of Nathan Ake but fell to keeper David Raya.

City parked themselves in Arsenal's half over a final tense few minutes but the visitors held strong.

The normally reliable Haaland failed to make contact with the ball when he seemed to have a simple finish from Josko Gvardiol's header late in the game, holding his head in his hands in frustration while the City fans groaned.

While Arsenal lacked the firepower of recent weeks - they had scored an astounding 33 goals in eight successive league victories - shutting down City was mission accomplished for the Gunners, who were clobbered 4-1 at the Etihad last season before City ran away with the title.

"We can't be satisfied when we draw," said Arsenal defender William Saliba. "We leave with one point, but we are not satisfied. We know they are the best team in the world, so we have to be focused.

"We didn't score but we didn't concede, so we are happy. We defended well. We have to keep going like that."

The game marked the final clash between two of the top three teams this season.

Salah stunner sends Liverpool top

Mohamed Salah

IMAGE: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their second goal. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Striker Mohamed Salah scored the winner as Liverpool came back from a goal down to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 and go top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City's showdown with Arsenal later on Sunday.

Salah's sublime second-half strike leaves Liverpool on 67 points, three ahead of second-placed Arsenal and four ahead of City on a pivotal day in the title race.

The Egyptian striker tormented Brighton, taking 12 shots to notch up his highest total in a Premier League game and, even though only one of them found the back of the net, it was to prove vital.


Mohamed Salah

IMAGE: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their second goal. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Danny Welbeck gave Brighton the lead after 84 seconds when his side broke up a Liverpool attack and burst forward to find him just inside the box and he drilled an unstoppable shot past Caoimhin Kelleher to break the deadlock.

The early goal jolted Liverpool into life and Luis Diaz put them level in the 27th minute after Joel Veltman's attempted clearance went awry, allowing the Colombian winger to steal in behind the defence and hook the ball home.

Liverpool's suffocating pressure and incisive attacking paid dividends again when Alexis Mac Allister teed up Salah to fire them into the lead.


IMAGE: Brighton & Hove Albion's Danny Welbeck shoots at goal. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Diaz thought he had put the Reds 3-1 up six minutes later but his goal was ruled out for a razor-thin offside that was confirmed by the VAR and Salah went close on the break in the 74th minute, but fired his effort straight at the keeper.

Brighton substitute and former Liverpool player Adam Lallana dragged a shot wide in the 86th minute, and Salah forced a brilliant diving one-handed save from Bart Verbruggen in the final minute of normal time as Liverpool held on to win, much to the delight of Mac Allister, another former Seagull.

"We didn't start as we wanted but it was an amazing game. We played against an unbelievable team. I know them very well, I know what they can do and it was a tough match, but in the end we won it and we are very happy," he told Sky Sports.

"I would rather not concede so early but the mentality of the boys is amazing and that is what you need when you are 1-0 down, and today we showed it again. But next time we have to start the game winning, not losing," he added.

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