Dazzling De Bruyne ensures City bounce back at Arsenal
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Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and teed up Raheem Sterling for Manchester City's other goal as Arsenal crumbled to another humiliating 3-0 home defeat on Sunday.
Victory sees City close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool back to 14 points and edge to within four of second-placed Leicester, who they host next weekend.
Arsenal, on the other hand, remain ninth on the back of just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions.
That victory came at West Ham on Monday, but if there was any hope a corner had been turned under caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg for the Gunners, it was quickly quashed by the brilliant De Bruyne.
Arsenal could have taken the lead even before the Belgian opened the scoring after just 90 seconds.
Gabriel Martinelli retained his place ahead of Alexandre Lacazette after scoring for the first time in the Premier League on Monday and got the better of Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi to muscle his way in on goal before his shot was blocked by Ederson.
City broke straight up the other end and Gabriel Jesus's low cross picked out De Bruyne to stroke the ball into the roof of the net.
Pep Guardiola's men had been ruthlessly cut apart on the counter-attack in losing to Manchester United last weekend and were conscious not to make the same mistake again as they allowed Arsenal possession for large spells before breaking at speed.
The visitors doubled their lead just 15 minutes in with De Bruyne this time the creator as he carried the ball forward before squaring for Sterling to slot home his 16th goal of the season.
De Bruyne showed his superior quality to any other player on the pitch again five minutes before half-time as this time he curled into the bottom corner on his weaker left foot from outside the box.
And only a brilliant save from Bernd Leno denied the City midfielder a first half hat-trick moments later as the German's fingertips turned another long-range De Bruyne effort onto the post.
Arsenal's preparation for the game had been disturbed by the controversy surrounding Mesut Ozil's support for the Muslim minority Uighurs in Chinese province Xinjiang.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV pulled coverage of the match and Arsenal distanced themselves from Ozil's comments.
The German was still selected by Ljungberg, but made little impact before being substituted on the hour mark and his slow walk to the touchline with his side trailing 3-0 drew the wrath of some disgruntled Arsenal fans.
Only Leno prevented the scoreline from becoming even more embarrassing for Arsenal as he saved one-on-one from Jesus and at his near post from Riyad Mahrez.
However, with just one win in five games since Ljungberg took temporary charge after the sacking of Unai Emery, the appointment of a new manager cannot come soon enough if they are to salvage anything from a thoroughly disappointing season so far.
© 2019 AFP