De Bruyne puts on masterclass as City down Arsenal
Premier League, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3 (De Bruyne 2', 40'; Sterling 15')
Kevin De Bruyne produced a first-half master-class as Manchester City romped to a 3-0 victory at woeful Arsenal.
The Belgian star got Pep Guardiola's 200th match in charge off to a stunning start with a magnificent first-time finish inside 89 seconds.
De Bruyne then turned provider for Raheem Sterling to tap home before putting the game to bed with a superb 25-yard strike. The City playmaker almost had a hat-trick prior to the break, but saw his sumptuous curling attempt tipped on to the post by Bernd Leno.
Arsenal had some early moments of promise in attack, but could not find a way through despite some exciting flashes from 18-year-old, Gabriel Martinelli.
The result means third-placed City move to within four points of Leicester in second ahead of the teams' clash at the Etihad Stadium next weekend. However, the champions are still a whopping 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Arsenal have now failed to win any of their last six home matches in all competitions with caretaker boss, Freddie Ljungberg struggling to spark any obvious improvement since Unai Emery's departure. The Gunners are ninth and seven points adrift of the Champions League places.
Arsenal need to act fast. If this was an audition to claim the Arsenal job on a permanent basis, then Ljungberg came up well short. To be fair, the Swede is a managerial novice and it is going to take significant changes at the club to undo a continuing decline. He's picked up one win in five at the helm, but masterminding a victory here was always going to be a tall order. Guardiola's champions may not have hit the heights of the last two seasons, but they remain one of the best teams in Europe. There was a clear gulf in class between the sides and recent murmurs of any City travails are merely because they've set the bar so ridiculously high. Arsenal have now won just once in their last nine league matches and at this juncture look a world away from seriously competing with the other clubs hoping to challenge for the Champions League places. The calls for a new manager to be urgently installed will intensify following this loss. Mikel Arteta is among those names, but after witnessing the home team's display from close quarters on the City bench, few could blame him if he waited a bit longer before taking the plunge.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City). This award was done and dusted at half time. The Belgian was supreme and was clearly the game's protagonist with two goals and an assist. He was unlucky not to snare the match ball when he hit the woodwork at the end of the first period. Led the Gunners a merry dance throughout as City eased their way through the second 45.
2' - GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Man City. City take the early lead. Jesus cuts it back from the left for De Bruyne who guides a rising shot into the roof of the net. It's a tricky first-time finish, but the Belgian achieves the desired result with aplomb.
15' - GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Man City. This time KDB turns provider as he plays a one-two with Jesus before firing a low ball to the far post for Sterling to tap home.
40' - GOAL! Arsenal 0-3 Man City. City patiently probe with Arsenal still waiting to make a change. Foden feeds De Bruyne, who charges forward and fizzes a low shot into the bottom corner.
43' - MAN CITY CHANCE! Almost a treble for KDB, but his first-time curler is tipped on to the post by Leno.
63' - MAN CITY CHANCE! Jesus dispossesses Sokratis and races clear on Leno but can't find the finish as the Arsenal stopper produces a superb one-on-one save.
Kevin De Bruyne Getty Images
Since his Premier League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has both scored and assisted in 11 different games in the competition, more than any other midfield player.
Arsenal conceded three first half goals in a home Premier League game for only the second time - the other was also against Man City in March 2018.
Arsenal had just six shots in their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City - their fewest in a home Premier League game since December 2008 against Liverpool (also six).
Arsenal have gone six games without a win at the Emirates across all competitions (D3 L3), their longest run without a home win since between December 1994 and February 1995 under George Graham (eight games).
City scored for a 20th consecutive PL away match, which equalled their own club record set in March 2015.