Man City title verdict clear after Arsenal sent 'ominous' warning by Pep Guardiola's side

Erling Haaland of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal
Erling Haaland of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal -Credit:2024 Visionhaus

Manchester City ramped up the pressure on Arsenal on Saturday evening after producing a commanding display against Wolves.

Winning 5-1 on home soil, Pep Guardiola's side moved back to within one point of the Gunners as Erling Haaland enjoyed another memorable day in a City shirt.

Arsenal had done their bit on Saturday, beating Bournemouth 3-0 at Emirates Stadium, though the Sky Blues are refusing to back down as they bid to secure a fourth successive Premier League crown. It remains to be seem which club will come out on top in the next fortnight, with any slip-up likely to be punished.

Offering their thoughts on the weekend's action and what it means for the title race, the thoughts of the national media can be found below.

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'Pushed to the edge'

Miguel Delaney of The Independent wrote:

"A scoreline that would have been predicted, but from a match that shredded nerves. Arsenal may not know if they will be Premier League champions, but they certainly know what it’s like to be pushed to the edge in a run-in. Bournemouth more than did their bit in a 3-0 Arsenal win that, for the moment, puts them four points clear of Manchester City but with two more games played.

"The expectation that Pep Guardiola’s team would go and win their four remaining matches hung over everything, especially Bukayo Saka’s 45th-minute penalty. If you wanted a scene to capture the deepest tension in a stadium, this was it. Saka rolled it in to bring relief but not yet total release. Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth made Arsenal do much more.

"There was still that immersive tension about the occasion, Arsenal aware that any slip could bring back so many agonising memories from last season.

"As for the title, they're now in another nervously exciting situation. They have to watch two Manchester City matches before going to Old Trafford next week for a game that will be enlivened by so many narratives, and some high stakes.

"It might well come down to that. This season could yet end as everyone predicted but it already looks like it will shred every nerve until then."

'Hard to back against the champions'

James Ducker of The Telegraph wrote:

"Arsenal have been good - oh so good this season - but they must worry City are simply not going to falter over the next fortnight. Liverpool know only too well how that feels and there were certainly no signs of City slipping up here against Wolves, not with Haaland in wrecking mode.

"And so, regardless of what Arsenal do over the next couple of weeks, the title will be headed back to the Etihad if City beat Fulham and Tottenham away and West Ham at home on the final day. It is hard to back against the champions, all the more so when Haaland is taking it upon himself to play like this."

'It was ominous for Arsenal'

Jonathan Northcroft of The Times wrote:

"It still looks tight, still looks like a who-blinks-first affair where a single misstep is likely to cost the side who makes it. City’s manager certainly wants his players to think in those terms. Three games, three wins and you’re champions. Anything less, it is Arsenal’s prize.

"You suspect he is correct. The lesson of a rare Saturday on which both contenders were playing is that neither look at all prone to faltering. Both scored handsome wins against decent and potentially awkward opponents. On this form, you would expect a City victory in their next game, away to Fulham.

"Perhaps it was ominous for Arsenal that Guardiola was not especially happy with his team’s performance despite winning 5-1, and that Erling Haaland was not overjoyed about coming off after his four-goal haul.

"Both want more. It is why Haaland has a clear lead once again in the Golden Boot contest, and why Guardiola is pushing City towards something unprecedented — the achievement of being the first team in history to win four consecutive English league titles.

"If anything can stop a City side that hasn’t lost in the league since early December, it could be a visit to Tottenham. Then again, if any place can derail Arsenal, Old Trafford might. We’re set for quite the last week."

'Needing an unlikely snooker'

Jack Gaughan of The Daily Mail wrote:

"And City are in the mood, 24 goals in their last six league games since a drab draw against Arsenal that seemed to hand the title advantage over to both the Gunners and Liverpool. Now it's in City's hands and, given the way in which Wolves appeared beaten from the off, Arsenal will be praying that they are not relying on favours come the last day.

"So this title race – violently swinging from the best ever to boring in the court of public opinion once City clicked into gear – hinges on a couple of consecutive away matches for City.

"Fulham on Saturday before the dreaded trip to Tottenham three days later. Although winning there in the FA Cup four months ago broke their hoodoo, City have still yet to score a Premier League goal at the new stadium. Even a broken Spurs is a tricky Spurs for the champions.

"Guardiola is insistent that they must win all three games – which would mean nine straight victories, their longest run since this time last year – to clinch another crown. He is adamant Arsenal will not drop further points, predicting that they beat Manchester United and Everton.

"If that transpires then Spurs and Fulham are the games, they are the title race.

"The away record is improved this year, City chalking up 37 points from 17 games – one more than all of last season – but these are two grounds where they were made to work. Julian Alvarez dug out a wonder goal to seal a win at Craven Cottage in the run-in, while Spurs have always had something over them. It's by no means done but come out the other side of those and Arsenal will be left needing an unlikely snooker or two."