Kuala Lumpur Post


Arsenal return to Premier League summit as Man City cruise

LONDON — Arsenal leapfrogged Liverpool at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Brighton on Saturday after Kevin De Bruyne scored twice in Manchester City’s victory at Crystal Palace.

Goals from Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard lifted the Gunners to 71 points – one clear of Jurgen Klopp’s men, who are tied on 70 points with defending champions City.

Liverpool face a trip to mercurial Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday in the next chapter of a thrilling three-way title race.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have now won 10 of their past 11 league games and have added steel to style after faltering badly in the home straight last season.

The Gunners boss hailed his team’s maturity and cleverness against a side who had not lost at home since August.

“In attack and defence we had big performances individually,” he told the BBC.

“We missed some big chances but the team looked really connected and had purpose. The last pass and shot to finish the situation could have been better, but it doesn’t matter as we kept going.”

Arsenal, who have not been crowned league champions since 2004, dominated the first half at the Amex Stadium but needed a penalty to take the lead.

The breakthrough came when Gabriel Jesus was brought down by Tariq Lamptey and the returning Saka sent Bart Verbruggen the wrong way for his 14th Premier League goal of the season in the 33rd minute.

Arsenal doubled their lead shortly after the hour mark when Jorginho set up Havertz at the near post for a simple tap-in and Trossard made it three with a deft chipped finish.

In the early kick-off, De Bruyne netted twice and top scorer Erling Haaland hit his 19th league goal of the season in City’s 4-2 win at Selhurst Park.

Jean-Philippe Mateta gave the home side a shock early lead but De Bruyne levelled in the 13th minute with a curler into the top corner to quell any nerves from the visitors.

Palace carried an attacking threat but Rico Lewis put City ahead just after half-time and De Bruyne and Haaland combined for the third.

Midfielder De Bruyne added his second with a stinging shot in the 70th minute – his 100th goal for the club – to make the game safe, before substitute Odsonne Edouard scored a consolation.

City boss Pep Guardiola hailed the Belgium international, who missed five months of the season with a hamstring injury he sustained in the opening match at Burnley.

“Sometimes it’s Phil (Foden), Erling or Julian (Alvarez), today it was Kevin,” he said.

“Without him we would not be able to win this. You talk about managers but players like Kevin make this game easy.”

Everton went into their match against second-from-bottom Burnley desperately searching for a spark after a run of 13 Premier League matches without a win.

They struggled to impose themselves but benefited from a huge slice of fortune when goalkeeper Arijanet Muric’s clearance deflected in off Dominic Calvert-Lewin in first-half stoppage time.

Everton, who last played outside the English top-flight in the 1953/54 season, are now four points above the relegation zone.

But the club need everything they can get as they wait nervously to find out if they will be handed a second points deduction this season for breaking Premier League financial rules.

Fourth-placed Villa, who drew 3-3 against Brentford, will rue a second-half collapse that could prove costly in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Unai Emery’s men had led 2-0 before three goals in nine minutes from Mathias Jorgensen, Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa turned the match on its head.

But Ollie Watkins levelled in the 80th minute, leaving Villa just three points above Tottenham, who have two games in hand.

Carlton Morris scored a 90th-minute goal in Luton’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth – a result that leaves them in the relegation zone but now level on points with 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

Newcastle edged past Fulham 1-0 courtesy of a late goal from Bruno Guimaraes while West Ham came from behind to beat Wolves 2-1. — AFP