Kevin De Bruyne had two goals and an assist in the first half as Manchester City rode past Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
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Man City has a six-point cushion on fourth place Chelsea, and is 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.
The clean sheet was Man City’s first in 11 outings across all competitions.
Arsenal remains ninth with 22 points.
1. Dynamic De Bruyne breaks dam: Kevin De Bruyne had nine assists in his first nine matches to set a threat towards the league’s record, but hadn’t collected a helper in six league outings (though he scored thrice) when he set up Sterling’s goal. The play was everything you like about your favorite wizard. De Bruyne drove the ball up field before laying off and running to a dangerous area.
In case you missed it – KDB's first half in 38 seconds.
1️⃣ near miss that could have completed the hat trick pic.twitter.com/EykRiWGl5g
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 15, 2019
2. Walker commands the right side: It took a while for Kyle Walker to grow into his price tag at City, but the right back was a force on Sunday. No City player touched and passed the ball more than Walker, who seemed to find another gear when he recognized he’d be facing young Bukayo Saka off the bench. Walker had two tackles, two dribbles, and was passing at 92 percent by the hour mark. He didn’t even have to play goal.
3. Fernandinho all over the pitch: It may be tempting to forget the Brazilian is a center midfielder, given his serial status as starting center back. Fernandinho reminded us of his creativity with a long dribble to help set up the first goal. He also did what he always does, winning four aerials, blocking a shot, and managing five clearances.
Bernd Leno was troubled twice early, but Man City opened the scoring in between the chances when Fernandinho dribbled from his own half to cut Gabriel Jesus to the end line. Jesus then swept the ball back post to De Bruyne for a vicious finish and 1-0.
It was just too easy, as De Bruyne turned provider to find Sterling alone thanks to a wobbly Sead Kolasinac.
He’d score again in more challenging fashion, a powerful and clinical strike to make it 3-0. Arsenal was lost and Man City finding itself.
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An injury to Sead Kolasinac brought Bukayo Saka into the fold for another turn at wingback, and that helped to improve the Gunners.
Gabriel Jesus stripped Callum Chambers and dribbled toward the Arsenal 18, where he was stymied by Bernd Leno.
The second half was a sleepy one, City resolute even when Arsenal got into the final third.