Unstoppable Man City end title race with Arsenal victory and 18th straight win

18 and counting now. Just give them the trophy already. It’s over.

Manchester City can’t be stopped – and if you’re winning games with Raheem Sterling headers, what hope is there?

City weren’t even at their best here. But they really didn't need to be to win their 18th game in a row.

Maybe they scored too early, because the rest of the game was a grind.

And the runaway Premier League leaders did not have all three points in the bag until the final whistle blew after failing to kill the game off.

But let’s be honest. No-one else is in England is in the same league right now.

City haven’t lost since November. They haven’t even trailed in a league game in that time. They haven't dropped a point since December 15.

With this win they equalled a club record of 11 successive away victories in all competitions.

And they have now kept 23 clean sheets this season – more than any other team in the top five European leagues, let alone England.

You can almost hear their rivals whimpering: “Make it stop!”

City are so comfortable at the top of the table they can now turn their full attention to the Champions League.

At this rate they may never have a better opportunity to win it. You certainly don’t give Borussia Monchengladbach much chance of stopping them on Wednesday.

It only took City 78 seconds to take the lead. Kieran Tierney offered no tackle as the cross came in from Riyad Mahrez.

But how Arsenal allowed Sterling, one of the smallest men on the pitch, a free header in your own six-yard box was anybody’s guess.

The England man made no mistake, and should have scored shortly afterwards as well as City completely dominated.

At times after that Arsenal looked like a beaten team already, despite the constant instructions and encouragement being shouted at them by Mikel Arteta.

To the Arsenal boss it must have looked like one of those attack versus defence drills he would organise as Guardiola’s No 2 at the Etihad. Old habits die hard.

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  • Rob Holding blocked a shot from Ilkay Gundogan, but too many Arsenal players were caught standing or strolling around as City had the freedom of the Emirates.

    By the end of the half the Gunners had somehow managed to work their way back into a bit, but they only had one shot on target to show for it.

    Still, City had failed to kill the game off and the longer it stayed at 1-0 the more chance there was off a comeback.

    But Kevin De Bruyne was only inches away with a lob with Bernd Leno beaten and the Arsenal goal gaping at the start of the second half.

    Holding then denied Sterling at one end, with John Stones stopping Bukayo Saka at the other as both teams went for it.

    Guardiola sent on Gabriel Jesus. Arteta countered with Alex Lacazette and Emile Smith Rowe.

    Leno was at full stretch to deny Gundogan, Fernandinho blocked a shot by Saka. But neither side could find the target.

    Jesus and Joao Cancelo worked a lovely one-two down the right which ended with Cancelo curling one wide just when you thought the net would bulge.

    Arsenal had their moments before it was over. But it was all half-chances and missed opportunities, and you never really believed they would score.

    ARSENAL (4-2-3-1):Leno 6; Bellerin 6, HOLDING 7 (Luiz 82), Mari 6, Tierney 6; Elneny 6 (Ceballos 86), Xhaka 6; Saka 6, Odegaard 6 (Lacazette 72), Pepe 6 (Smth Rowe 72); Aubameyang 5. Subs: Gabriel, Willian, Soares, Ryan, Martinelli. UP NEXT: Benfica (h) Europa League, Thursday

    MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3):Ederson 6; Cancelo 6, Dias 7, STONES 8, Zinchenko 6; Silva 6, Fernandinho 6, Gundogan 6; Mahrez 6, De Bruyne 6 (Jesus 64, 6), Sterling 7. Subs: Walker, Aguero, Steffen, Laporte, Rodri, Torres, Mendy, Foden. UP NEXT: Borussia Monchengladbach (a) Champions League, Wednesday

    Man of the match: John Stones – immense

    Worst performer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – lethargic

    REFEREE: Jon Moss 6

    MATCH: 3

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