It was billed as a must-win game for Manchester City and the team delivered when it mattered most. In fact, it was a bit surprising how easy it turned out to be. Arsenal have been one of the best teams this season. Sitting atop the Premier League is by no means flattery for Mikel Arteta and his men. They have worked hard and even convinced the naysayers that they are deserving challengers to Manchester City for the title.
Unfortunately, the Gunners have not been able to challenge the Cityzens head-to-head. Three times the London side has faced City this season and each have ended in defeat. The latest 4-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium was a huge statement that, even though Arsenal have been very good this season, City are still the better side.
And so if the Blues end the season as Premier League champions, they will be deserving champions. That much has been demonstrated against Arsenal. Not once. Or Twice, but thrice.
Now well-placed as the firm favourites to win the league, City could get carried away by the victory and take their feet off the pedal. It’s a scenario that played out earlier in the season when City allowed the Gunners to re-establish a five-point lead at the top of the table even after the gap was closed.
City defender Kyle Walker has assured us that will not be allowed to happen again. The right-back revealed the team’s attitude in a recent interview.
“It’s a great result but it’s definitely not done,” Walker stated. “We did what we needed to do which was to get the three points. The game at the Emirates was different to what it was today. We tweaked a few things, and we looked professional – we did the job that was needed. You can understand the tension. You worked so hard all year to receive the prize at the end. Both teams are fighting for it.
“Arsenal have been fantastic this season and deserve to be where they are – they still sit at the top of the table, so we still need to catch them.
“It’s a good position [to be in]. A couple of months back we weren’t in this position, so we have to take that. We’ve done something good tonight, but we have to keep going and keep this momentum going. Hopefully, we can achieve some great things.”
As has been demonstrated in previous games this season, nothing can be underrated. Beating Arsenal results one step on the way to achieving the goal. The team can still drop points against supposedly small teams which will allow Arsenal back into the title race.
At this point in the season, any slip-ups can be costly. Guardiola and his players know that quite well. Walker’s comments show just that. Fortunately, the players have won the league title enough times to be experienced in these matters.
As Guardiola would say any day any time, the team will take it one game at a time. Walker also echoed his manager’s words. The team will have to approach each upcoming fixture with all seriousness knowing that even one loss in any of the three competitions could be costly in the quest to win the treble.