Manchester City keep heat up on leaders Arsenal with win over wasteful Forest

Manchester City reeled Premier League leaders Arsenal back in with a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest as the title race heads towards a thrilling finale.

The Gunners moved four points clear when they beat Tottenham in a frantic north London derby earlier on Sunday, but City immediately responded thanks to goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland at the City Ground.

Victory leaves them a point behind Mikel Arteta’s side with a game in hand and ensured Pep Guardiola’s 300th Premier League match in charge of City ended in success.

It is now 19 league games unbeaten as they perform their perennial trick of coming good just when it matters the most and they know they will be champions for a fourth successive year if they win their remaining four games.

Missing Phil Foden through illness, City were far from their best as Forest, fighting for their lives at the other end of the table, gave them an almighty scare, but could not convert several golden chances.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side remain in the relegation mire, sitting one point above 18th-placed Luton, though they will hope to recover at least one point from their appeal against the deduction for breaking Premier League financial rules.

Forest fans roundly booed the Premier League anthem before the kick-off in protest at their perceived VAR injustice at Everton last week and it made for a raucous atmosphere.

The roof would have come off the City Ground had Neco Williams converted a presentable chance after just 24 seconds, but the Wales international could not make proper contact with Ola Aina’s cross at the far post.

They could have done with that going in as City soon took control, with Kevin De Bruyne forcing a good save out of Matz Sels and Jeremy Doku drilling wide.

Forest’s main weakness this season has been defending set-pieces and they conceded for a 23rd time in the 32nd minute.

Gvardiol ran across his marker to the near post and flashed his header past a helpless Selz.

But City should have been pegged back six minutes later as Chris Wood spurned a great opportunity, completely missing his kick from six yards out from Gonzalo Montiel’s ball back across goal.

Forest were causing their own problems from set-pieces and had another chance to level in first-half stoppage time when Ederson, who was taken off at half-time, flapped at a corner and Murillo saw his close-range effort glance the crossbar.

Wood missed another golden chance soon after the restart as his close-range effort from Anthony Elanga’s cut-back was blocked by Gvardiol.

But teams simply cannot afford to miss chances of those quality against City and get away with it.

The introduction of Haaland in the 62nd minute swung the momentum back to the visitors and nine minutes later the Norwegian found the back of the net.

De Bruyne fed Haaland, who toyed with Murillo before slotting home with the type of clinical finishing Forest lacked at the other end.

It was his 21st league goal of the campaign and saw him move into the lead in the race for the Golden Boot.

It also gave City a cushion they were never going to let slip and they held out for an important victory.


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