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Manchester City and Arsenal draw 0-0 to hand Liverpool Premier League title-race advantage

MANCHESTER, England — Arsenal nullified reigning champions Manchester City in a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, allowing Liverpool to take top spot on a pivotal day in the Premier League’s three-way title race

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, in the hunt for their first league title in 20 years, are second in the table on 65 points with nine games remaining, while City are third with 64. Liverpool, on 67 points, claimed the lead with their 2-1 comeback victory over Brighton & Hove Albion earlier on Sunday.

“No way can you be fully happy (with just a point),” Mr. Arteta told Sky Sports. “Listen, I think we have made a big step today. Coming to these big places not a lot of teams have done what we have done today, especially when there is a lot at stake and the pressure elevates. To respond to it is another step.”

The match failed to live up to its billing as a battle of titans. City dominated possession with 72.2% and came at Arsenal in waves.

But the visitors frustrated Pep Guardiola’s men — including league-leading scorer Erling Haaland — with a textbook defensive display to extend their unbeaten league run to nine games and end their streak of eight losses at the Etihad. “Tough game … take the point and onto the next,” Mr. Guardiola told the BBC. “They make a really good pressing. They are a master of that. It is what it is. In the end we tried. They have really top players in defence, defending perfectly compact. Low block. We tried.”

Usually prolific Man City were restricted to just one shot on goal and it was the first time in 58 games across all competitions that they have not scored at home.

“We want all the three points obviously, and we tried our best to get the win … but we’ll take the point and move on,” Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard said.

“We had to defend a lot, a bit more deep than we would have liked. It was a tight game and a tough one. So much can happen before the end of the season, we have to take it game-by-game.”

‘NOT SATISFIED’Gabriel Jesus had Arsenal’s best chances, firing two shots just wide in the first half and then narrowly failing to meet an inviting cross from Bukayo Saka.

City’s best opportunity was Kevin De Bruyne’s early corner kick that glanced off the shoulder of Nathan Ake but fell to keeper David Raya. Manchester City parked themselves in Arsenal’s half over a final tense few minutes but the visitors held strong.

The normally reliable Mr. Haaland failed to make contact with the ball when he seemed to have a simple finish from Josko Gvardiol’s header late in the game, holding his head in his hands in frustration while the Manchester City fans groaned.

While Arsenal lacked the firepower of recent weeks — they had scored an astounding 33 goals in eight successive league victories — shutting down Man City was mission accomplished for the Gunners, who were clobbered 4-1 at the Etihad last season before Man City ran away with the title.

“We can’t be satisfied when we draw,” said Arsenal defender William Saliba. “We leave with one point, but we are not satisfied. We know they are the best team in the world, so we have to be focused.

“We didn’t score but we didn’t concede, so we are happy. We defended well. We have to keep going like that.”

The game marked the final clash between two of the top three teams this season. — Reuters

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