(CNN) Manchester City have delivered a decisive blow in the English Premier League title race after the defending champions secured a 4-1 victory against current leaders Arsenal.
The game summed up the differences between the two teams and showed where they are in their respective evolution.
The home side took control of the game early on and took the lead after just seven minutes thanks to a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne goal from outside the box.
Manchester City then squandered big chances to double their advantage before John Stones headed home a De Bruyne free-kick just before the break.
De Bruyne added a third goal in the second half and, although Rob Holding reduced the deficit, Erling Haaland completed City’s comprehensive victory by scoring his 33rd Premier League goal of the season in stoppage time.
The win puts Manchester City just two points behind the Gunners, with Pep Guardiola’s side having two games in hand.
However, De Bruyne remained coy about whether City were now on course to win a third consecutive Premier League title.
“We know what people would say who won this game, but I think it’s so difficult and a lot can happen,” De Bruyne told BT Sport.
“There are still seven games left, that’s a lot of points and I know we have two games on the way but we are still behind them. People will say we are going to win the title now, but I know this team and we will not give not until it can be done mathematically.”
City have won their last seven Premier League games and Guardiola spoke about his team’s mood throughout their dominant run.
“We’re back-to-back Premier League winners, so in September, October, November, when you lose a game, I said, ‘We’ve got time, we’ve got time’, and Arsenal at the start were completely out. ‘opposite — so every game is like a final,” Guardiola, 52, told BT Sport.
Guardiola’s counterpart Mikel Arteta has given an honest assessment of his side’s performance and where Arsenal stand in the title chase.
“We were beaten by the best team for sure,” Arteta said. “They were outstanding today and when that’s the case it’s extremely difficult to reach that level.
“We are not going to give up and there are five games left in this league and anything can happen.”
Manchester City will look to continue their form with a trip to London this weekend to take on Fulham, while Arsenal meet London rivals Chelsea in their next Premier League outing.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s victory also bolstered Manchester City’s pursuit of the treble.
City will face 14-time European Cup winners Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals over two matches on May 9 and 17.
The reigning European champions will pose a serious threat to City but, having beaten Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, Guardiola’s side will be full of confidence.
Next, Manchester United await City in the FA Cup final on June 3. In Manchester’s first-ever derby at this stage of the knockout cup competition, City could secure the second leg of a treble, a week before the Champions League final in Istanbul. take place.