Arsenal back on top as Man City held to draw in EPL

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Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, second right, and Manchester City's Erling Haaland, right, react after missing a scoring chance during the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester City at City ground in Nottingham, England, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

LONDON – In an English Premier League title race that keeps producing twists, the pendulum swung back Arsenal’s way again after a frustrating day for Manchester City.

Arsenal came from behind twice before scoring two goals in injury time to beat Aston Villa 4-2 in the early kickoff on Saturday and halt a three-game winless streak in the league.

City then conceded a second-half equalizer and was held at Nottingham Forest to a surprising 1-1 after wasting chances to put the game away. The normally prolific Erling Haaland was guilty of a glaring miss.

That put Arsenal back atop the league standings, two points above City and with a game in hand after Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead on goal difference on Wednesday following a 3-1 win over the Gunners.

Also, Chelsea’s struggles reached a new low after losing at home against last-placed Southampton 1-0, which should ramp up the pressure even further on manager Graham Potter.

The match also had some worrying scenes as Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta sustained a head injury after taking a kick in the face in the second half. He was taken off on a stretcher.


Having seen an eight-point lead slip away, Arsenal badly needed to beat Villa and bounce back from the defeat to City midweek.

It came thanks to a lucky late bounce.

At 2-2, Jorginho’s shot from outside the area in the third minute of injury time struck the crossbar and bounced in off the head of Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to put Mikel Arteta’s team in front.

“We needed a magic moment and Jorginho produced it,” Arteta said of his new signing, who joined from Chelsea in January.

None of Chelsea’s expensive January signings seem able to produce much of anything at the moment. Instead, set-piece specialist James Ward-Prowse scored the only goal at Stamford Bridge with a free kick just before the halftime break.

The result comes on the heels of three straight league draws and a 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League for Potter’s side. To make matters worse, Azpilicueta needed lengthy treatment on the field after being hit in the face by an attempted overhead kick by Sékou Mara in the 74th minute.

Azpilicueta was taken off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and breathing from an oxygen mask after a 10-minute stoppage of play.

On a low-scoring afternoon, three of the other six mid-afternoon kickoffs also finished 1-0.

Fulham beat Brighton away, Everton earned a crucial victory over fellow relegation struggler Leeds, and Bournemouth won at Wolves. A last-gasp equalizer earned Brentford a 1-1 draw at home against Crystal Palace.


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