Man City see off Forest to close gap on Arsenal

Man City see off Forest to close gap on Arsenal
Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring for Manchester City against Nottingham Forest © JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

Summary:

  • Manchester City defeated Nottingham Forest 2-0, closing in on Premier League leaders Arsenal. Goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland secured the win for City, who are now just one point behind Arsenal with the title race in their hands.

Manchester City overcame relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest 2-0 on Sunday to close to within one point of Premier League leaders Arsenal and keep the destiny of the title race in their own hands.

Mikel Arteta’s team had thrown down the gauntlet earlier in the day, fending off a Tottenham fightback to win 3-2, briefly moving four points clear of City.

But the champions — chasing an unprecedented fourth straight English top-flight title — saw off a spirited Forest with goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland.

“It was a difficult game, they played with bravery,” City manager Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports.

“They have fast players with a lot of quality so we found a goal in the moment when it was 10 against 11 (while Neco Williams was receiving treatment off the pitch).

“It is a great victory as we had a lot of games behind us. Now we have a long week to recover.”

Forest, fighting for their lives near the foot of the table, will rue missed chances, including two clear-cut opportunities for Chris Wood.

City remain firm favourites to land yet another league title with four games remaining — one more than Arsenal.

Third-placed Liverpool are four points behind City having played a game more and are realistically out of the title picture.

Forest, last month docked four points for breaches of Premier League financial rules, remain just one point outside the relegation zone with three games to go.
Forest chances

But Guardiola’s City, who came into the match on the back of a 30-match unbeaten run in all competitions, did not have it all their own way at the City Ground.

The home side had a chance to take a shock lead in the opening seconds but Williams failed to make clean contact from close range.

Forest looked dangerous when they came forward, with Nathan Ake forced to stretch to keep the ball off the toes of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

But City took the lead in the 32nd minute when Gvardiol powered home a Kevin De Bruyne corner at the near post.

Forest, undaunted, continued to test the visitors but Wood missed a glorious chance to level from close range when found by substitute Gonzalo Montiel, getting his feet in a tangle.

Guardiola made two changes at half-time, bringing on goalkeeper Stefan Ortega for Ederson, who had a shoulder issue, and introducing Mateo Kovacic for Jeremy Doku.

Forest were quickly out of the blocks but Wood again had a moment to forget when he failed to make proper contact after being found by Antony Elanga.

City began to establish more control as the second period wore on.

Haaland, who has been short of his razor-sharp best in recent weeks, came on for Jack Grealish shortly after the hour mark.

He eased City’s nerves in the 71st minute, latching onto a De Bruyne through ball, evading Murillo before finding the net for his 21st Premier League goal of the season.

It gave City a cushion they were unlikely to let slip and they held out for a crucial victory.

“It’s an important win, it does not matter how we do it, and it is good to be back,” said Haaland, who had missed the past two games with an injury.

“We knew it was going to be a fight, and the pitch was not the easiest to play on but we cannot complain, it is about winning and that is exactly what we did.”

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