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Mikel Arteta risks Arsenal regret after Man City draw as Erling Haaland fluffs his lines | Football | Sport

Arsenal missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League against a weakened Manchester City by playing out a cagey 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium. The battle between Pep Guardiola and his former protege, Mikel Arteta, didn’t live up to its billing, but the result at least leaves the title race wide open with nine games to play. Here, Express Sport takes you through four key talking points…

Mikel Arteta risks Arsenal regret

Given the injuries in City’s defensive ranks, Guardiola was forced to abandon his usual shape in possession comprising three central defenders and two deep-lying midfielders. Instead, the hosts lined up with a traditional back-four, featuring Josko Gvardiol at left-back and Manuel Akanji on the right.

The tinkered system also saw Kevin De Bruyne play high up the pitch, alongside Erling Haaland at times, with Guardiola attempting to make the best of the options he had available.

Gunners boss Arteta set his side up defensively, particularly in the first period, and he may come to regret not going all out to capitalise on his best opportunity to take all three points from the Etihad Stadium in recent years if his side don’t go on to win the title.

Erling Haaland fluffs his lines

The City striker has more than justified his price tag and eye-watering wages since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2022, but he may lose sleep tonight over a gilt-edged opportunity to lay on the winning goal.

Popping up at the far-post in the 84th minute, Haaland attempted to square the ball across the six-yard box to a completely free Ruben Dias, but swiped at fresh air with his left foot. The Norwegian clasped his head in his hands, and Gary Neville rubbed salt in his wounds by saying on Sky Sports commentary duty: “He’s a great goal scorer but it looked like he’d never played football before, for two seconds at least.”

Saliba ends City streak

William Saliba was a big miss at the back-end of last season, when his injury coincided with Arsenal’s Premier League title bid falling apart. The Frenchman was at his brilliant best on Sunday, however, as he inspired his side to the rarest of clean sheets at the Etihad.

City had scored in 57 straight matches on home turf, including in every Premier League match since 2021. Saliba’s centre-back partner, Gabriel Magalhaes, also deserves credit for a solid display which saw Haaland kept firmly under wraps.

Advantage Liverpool

The Reds knew that their narrow 2-1 win over Brighton earlier in the day would be enough to keep them at the summit if City and Arsenal could not be separated – and so it turned out.

In Jurgen Klopp’s final season at the helm, Liverpool are now two points clear with only nine matches left to play. Arsenal occupy second spot, a point ahead of City, who have a three-point deficit to try and claw back between now and the end of the campaign.

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