Images from the Premier League matches played on Sunday.
IMAGE: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring the second goal for Manchester City against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, on Sunday. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored two goals each as Manchester City restored their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points with a convincing 4-1 derby victory over Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
United had put up a decent fight in the first half, going in 2-1 down at the break, but City’s quality showed after the interval with Ralf Rangnick’s side looking increasingly demoralised.
City have 69 points from 28 games with Liverpool on 63 from one game less. United slip down to fifth place, a point behind Arsenal who beat Watford on Sunday and have three games in hand.
Belgian De Bruyne was outstanding, running the game from central midfield and then presenting himself as a threat in the box.
United were without Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani through injuries and surprisingly Rangnick opted to play Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in forward positions.
City made the perfect start with De Bruyne putting them ahead in the fifth minute, slotting home a low pulled-back pass from Bernardo Silva after they overloaded the left side.
But United drew level through a superb curling shot from Jadon Sancho, who took his time and cut inside after a swift break before beating Ederson with his confident strike.
But Belgian De Bruyne restored City’s advantage finding the target after Phil Foden had powered into the area and seen his shot parried out by David De Gea.
IMAGE: Riyad Mahrez scores the fourth goal for Manchester City. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
City dominated after the break and made it 3-1 when De Bruyne struck a corner deep to the edge of the box and Mahrez met it with a first-time drive which took a slight deflection off Harry Maguire.
Mahrez completed the victory with a goal that was initially flagged as offside but VAR found Alex Telles had played the Algerian onside before he latched on to an Ilkay Gundogan pass and blasted in off the shoulder of De Gea.
The scoreline was a fair reflection of City’s dominance and manager Pep Guardiola was full of praise for his team.
“It was excellent from the first minute. We played really well and had to be patient in the first step,” said the Spaniard.
“Football is emotions. It’s tactics, definitely, but it’s also emotions. Without the ball, we are a team with desire and passion to regain the ball from the first minute to the 90th,” he added.
Rangnick felt his tactics had been the right way to take on City before the gulf in class became evident.
“It was working. For us it was clear if we want a chance to win the game we have to do a lot of running. You have to be in attacking and hunting mode and we did that in the first half. The third goal killed us off in the end,” he said.
“It’s difficult, if we attack them very high there is a lot of negative running you need to do. The third goal is a brilliantly taken corner and it is almost impossible to defend that. The second half they were the better team and they showed the quality they have. We struggled especially after they scored the third one.”
Arsenal beat Watford
IMAGE: Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after scoring their side’s third goal against Watford at Vicarage Road in Watford. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Arsenal added to struggling Watford’s woes with a 3-2 win at Vicarage Road on Sunday, boosting their hopes of Champions League football next season and keeping their hosts mired in the Premier League relegation zone.
Martin Odegaard put the Gunners ahead in the fifth minute, latching on to a Bukayo Saka pass after a sweeping move down the right and lashing the ball in low under Watford keeper Ben Foster.
Cucho Hernandez replied in spectacular fashion for Watford six minutes later, meeting a Kiko Femenia cross whipped in from the right with a perfectly timed bicycle kick that left the Arsenal back line rooted to the spot.
Watford showed no signs of having lost their previous seven home games in a row as they piled pressure on the visitors, who are trying to secure Champions League football for the first time since the 2016-17 season. But the home side were held back by wayward shooting.
Instead, it was Saka who reclaimed the lead for Arsenal on the half hour, stealing the ball off Tom Cleverley outside the box, playing a one-two with his captain Alexandre Lacazette and thumping his shot high into the net.
IMAGE: Arsenal’s Cedric Soares reacts before receiving a yellow card from referee Craig Pawson. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Early in the second half, Gabriel Martinelli finished off a well-worked Arsenal move involving Odegaard and Lacazette again, with a strike from distance to give the visitors a two-goal cushion.
But Arsenal slipped into cruise-control too early and Watford’s Moussa Sissoko set up an action-packed finale in the 86th minute when he skipped in behind the defence and squeezed a shot under keeper Aaron Ramsdale to reduce the deficit.
The visitors rode their luck in the final minutes, however, and held on for the win.
“This is the dream this year, to be in the top four and qualify for Champions League football. We have to stay humble and focus on ourselves,” Arsenal’s Saka told Sky Sports.
Arsenal climbed to fourth place in the table ahead of the Manchester derby, with 48 points from 25 games — and with games in hand on the teams around them. Watford remained 19th on 19 points.
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