Like a juggernaut with faulty brake pads, Man City are unstoppable as demonstrated thumping by Fulham 4-0... Arsenal are living on a prayer to win the title now, writes SAMI MOKBEL

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We have seen this movie before. Arsenal will be sick to the back teeth of having to watch it on repeat.

Mikel Arteta’s side have the remote in hand but can’t change the channel.

There’s nothing they can do now, it’s out of their control. They’re relying on an unexpected twist in the script.

Manchester City, with two games to play, have moved top of the Premier League - goals from Josko Gvardiol, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez here at a sizzling Craven Cottage enough to secure their seventh consecutive top-flight victory.

You’d be a brave man to bet against them finishing there when the season climaxes next Sunday.

Manchester City comfortably saw off Fulham to move back into pole position in the title race

Manchester City comfortably saw off Fulham to move back into pole position in the title race

Manchester City comfortably saw off Fulham to move back into pole position in the title race

The defending champions were relentless from the opening whistle at Craven Cottage

The defending champions were relentless from the opening whistle at Craven Cottage

The 4-0 win saw them extend their extraordinary unbeaten run to 21 games in the league

The 4-0 win saw them extend their extraordinary unbeaten run to 21 games in the league

Like a juggernaut with faulty brake pads, this team - when it matters most - are unstoppable, obliterating anything and everything in their way.

What a relentless outfit they are. This will be their fourth consecutive title, not even Sir Alex Ferguson can boast such excellence.

MATCH FACTS

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Robinson, Bassey, Diop, Castagne, Palhinha, Iwobi, Willian (Cairney 46), Pereira (Wilson 74), Decordova-Reid (Traore 46), Muniz (Broja 67)

Subs: Rodak; Tete, Reed, Jimenez, Ream

Booked: Robinson

Sent off: Diop

Manager: Marco Silva

MAN CITY (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Gvardiol, Ake (Walker 22), Dias, Akanji, Kovacic (Lewis 82), Rodri, Foden (Bobb 82), De Bruyne (Doku 75), Silva, Haaland (Alvarez 82)

Subs: Ortega; Stones, Gomez, Nunes

Goals: Gvardiol 13', 71', Foden 59', Alvarez 90+6 (pen) 

Manager: Pep Guardiola

 

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We shouldn’t be surprised; their undeniable knack of getting over the line when stakes are at their highest something we almost take for granted.

They have not lost a league game since December 6 - a run of 21 matches.

They’ve not lost in 90 minutes for 33 matches - their Champions League penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid the only blot, albeit a significant one, on their copy book.

But their ruthless ability to keep chalking off the wins deserves greater appreciation.

They’ve set a standard that is simply unrivalled, their ability to execute under immense pressure a sight to behold.

Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Sunday where anything but victory would surely signal the beginning of the end.

Of course, victory at Old Trafford will see the Gunners move above City ahead of their final game of the season against Everton on Sunday.

But they are living on prayer now. If City triumph in their final two games - against Tottenham and West Ham - then they are champions. Again.

There’s part of you that almost feels sorry for Arteta’s side.

They have kept to their end of the bargain - 44 points from a possible 48 hardly the sequence of a team relinquishing their title tilt with a whimper.

But there’s levels to this game - and City are a level apart.

With every passing week Arsenal’s hopes of a first title in 20 years have died a little.

Victory on Saturday also put an end to Liverpool's chances of catching the Citizens this season

Victory on Saturday also put an end to Liverpool's chances of catching the Citizens this season

But Nathan Ake limping off in the first-half will be cause for concern for the champions

But Nathan Ake limping off in the first-half will be cause for concern for the champions

The introduction of Adama Traore at half-time offered the hosts a glimmer of hope

The introduction of Adama Traore at half-time offered the hosts a glimmer of hope

But Phil Foden put an end to any chance of a comeback by doubling City's lead on the hour mark

But Phil Foden put an end to any chance of a comeback by doubling City's lead on the hour mark

The 23-year-old is now seventh in the league's scoring charts with 17 goals this campaign

The 23-year-old is now seventh in the league's scoring charts with 17 goals this campaign

Gvardiol then added a second to his tally to put the result beyond doubt heading into the closing stages

Gvardiol then added a second to his tally to put the result beyond doubt heading into the closing stages

Not necessarily through any fault of their own - although their mid-winter slump, that included a defeat here at Craven Cottage, and last month’s home loss to Aston Villa look set to be decisive setbacks - but because of City’s merciless brilliance.

When City are involved, there is no margin for error. Arsenal will vouch for that.

Here at Fulham, Pep Guardiola’s team eased to their latest triumph with the sort of ease that should have Arsenal bracing themselves for disappointment.

Second gear, maybe third gear at times; but nothing approaching their breathtaking best. Not that it mattered as City dispatched of Fulham with consummate ease.

What’s more, Arsenal’s once gaping goal-difference advantage - a factor that could yet be crucial - is now down to two.

Noel Gallagher, positioned in the away end here in west London, certainly approved. Hugh Grant, sat just in front of the press box, not as appreciative, the Hollywood star departing before the final whistle.

City’s first arrived in the 13th minute, Gvardiol exchanging passes with Kevin De Bruyne before cooly slotting past Bernd Leno.

It was beach weather in west London, the sun sizzling down on the luscious turf here at Craven Cottage.

Was this result down to Fulham’s players having one eye on their summer holidays or simply a result of City’s brilliance? Probably somewhere in the middle.

Not that it’s relevant at this point of the season; victories are all that matter. City know that better than any team on the planet.

There was a concern, however, in the 22nd minute when Nathan Ake limped off to be replaced by Kyle Walker with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

The introduction of Adama Traore at half-time saw Fulham set the cat amongst the pigeons for a short period.

Try as they might, Fulham were unable to even lay a glove on Pep Guardiola's side

Try as they might, Fulham were unable to even lay a glove on Pep Guardiola's side

City made several changes in the closing stages with Tuesday's clash with Tottenham looming

City made several changes in the closing stages with Tuesday's clash with Tottenham looming

They were no less dominant after making the substitutions, and Julian Alvarez won a penalty after being brought down by Issa Diop

They were no less dominant after making the substitutions, and Julian Alvarez won a penalty after being brought down by Issa Diop

The Argentinian then converted the stoppage-time spot kick to complete the rout

The Argentinian then converted the stoppage-time spot kick to complete the rout

Indeed, who knows how the game would have panned out had Rodrigo Muniz finished from Traore’s pass in the 57th minute.

City were glad they didn’t need to find out. Phil Foden doubled City’s lead with an unerring finish beyond Leno after excellent work from Bernardo Silva before Gvardiol notched his fifth goal in seven matches in the 71st minute to put his team on easy street.

Guardiola had the luxury taking De Bruyne, Foden and Erling Haaland off in the closing stages as his attentions turned to Tuesday’s trip to Spurs.

Issa Diop was sent off for a second yellow card deep into storage time in the incident that led to Julian Alvarez noticing City’s fourth from the spot.

City are can smell the title now. In contrast, Arsenal need Tottenham, of all clubs, to do them a favour.

Good luck. You’ll need it.

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