Manuel Akanji: Title-chasing Manchester City can’t relax after Arsenal victory
Manuel Akanji insists there will be no complacency at Manchester City following their emphatic win over title rivals Arsenal.
The treble-chasing champions took firm control of the title race as they overpowered the Premier League leaders 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
The victory took them within two points of the Gunners at the top and, with two games in hand, they now look strong favourites to secure their fifth league crown in six years.
“It was a big game and a massive win for us,” said defender Akanji. “It helps us a lot but there’s still so many games to play.
“Seven games – still 21 points to grab so we can’t relax now on this win. We’ve got to go on Sunday and win the next game against Fulham.”
Arsenal had seen their once-healthy advantage eroded with three successive draws heading into the hotly-anticipated encounter.
City, having hit form with 11 wins in their previous 12 games in all competitions, not only sensed their opportunity but ruthlessly took it.
They tore into the visitors from the first whistle and took the lead as Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne combined for a superb breakaway goal after seven minutes.
John Stones added a second just before the break but City might have already been out of sight by then with Haaland having spurned a host of chances.
Goals from De Bruyne, Stones and Haaland put Arsenal to the sword in @premierleague title clash! 💪
Here's how it happened 👇 pic.twitter.com/36s6scZq7F
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 26, 2023
De Bruyne’s second early in the second half wrapped up the win before Haaland got the goal his performance deserved – his 49th of a remarkable campaign – late on after Rob Holding netted an Arsenal consolation.
It was City’s third victory over Arsenal in just over three months, a strong statement against the side that have been their toughest challengers this season.
Akanji feels the team’s experience of success in the latter half of the campaign has come to the fore.
The versatile Switzerland international, who joined the club from Borussia Dortmund in September, said: “The whole team played really good and had a really good team performance over 90 minutes.
“We were strong in the duels, we were good with the ball and that was different to the game at the Emirates.
“Then we used our chances and we played well defensively and I think that’s the key to these wins, (as is) the experience that the guys in the locker room have.
“They won three championships in the last four and the experience that they bring into the team, and for me also as a player to come into the team, helps.”