London, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- Kevin De Bruyne returned from a month-long stretch on the injured list to the Manchester City lineup on Sunday and the team continued its spectacular streak, powering to a 1-0 road victory over Arsenal and raising to 18 the number of Pep Guardiola’s consecutive wins.
The match was played at Emirates Stadium in London to empty stands due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.
It took just two minutes for Mikel Arteta’s team to see their resistance breached, although last week they had crushed Leeds with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pocketing a hat trick.
On the scene for the tally was Raheem Sterling, who just two minutes into the action found the twine on a header to put Man City on the board and – in an entertaining back-and-forth match that seemed to be, paradoxically, never in doubt – there the score remained right through the closing whistle.
City dominated the match for the first 30 minutes or so, keeping possession most of the time and giving the impression that they were never going to let Arsenal breathe, but the home squad did manage to find a little room to challenge the visitors, although they never really managed to mount all that much of a threat.
City never lost its focus or its nerve, believing and knowing on some level that they would keep their streak alive on this outing. Helping craft Manchester’s impenetrable defense immeasurably were Ruben Dias and John Stones.
Arteta, of course, is quite familiar with City’s play, having spent several years as the squad’s assistant manager, and some had suspected that this might give him an edge in figuring how to put the kibosh on Guardiola’s victory plans.
But Arsenal – which with the loss remains in the 10th spot in the premier League table – could not really find the tactical combination that would have enabled them to break through the defense.
The win got Man City back 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals – Man United and Leicester – in the Premier League table and if they can pull off seven more victories in the next seven matches, they will have set a new world football record of 25 consecutive wins, breaking Coritiba’s 24-game streak, and pulling ahead of Bayern Munich’s 23 late last year and into the early going this season and Real Madrid’s 22-game winning streak during the 2014-2015 season.
Arsenal: Leno; Tierney, Mari, Holding (Luiz, m.82), Bellerin; Elneny (Ceballos, m.86), Xhaka, Odegaard (Lacazette, m.73); Saka, Pepe (Smith Rowe, m.73) and Aubameyang.
Manchester City: Ederson; Zinchenko, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, De Bruyne (Jesus, m.63) and Mahrez.
Referee: Jonathan Moss yellow-carded Xhaka (m.52) and Bellerin (m.87) for the locals and Silva (m.51) and Cancelo (m.64) for Manchester City.