Manchester City exposed the first cracks in Arsenal’s title challenge, beating the Premier League leaders 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium as their attacking talents cut loose in another free-scoring home display.
City’s stylish showmen sealed their eighth consecutive home league success by out-punching Arsenal, whose lead at the top of the table was cut to two points after Chelsea snuck a 2-1 win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Everton also kept their noses in the title-race trough with a 4-1 win at home to Fulham moving them to fourth, while at the bottom of the table West Ham United and Sunderland played out a 0-0 draw that was little use to either side.
Cardiff City beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0, while Newcastle United and Southampton drew 1-1.
Arsenal’s previously watertight defence was prised open at will by the hosts’ marauding all-out attack.
It was the third time this season that City scored six or more, after they dished out similarly crushing blows to Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City and moved them to third within three points of the leaders.
The win also put down a light blue marker in a now-congested title race that could have turned decisively in Arsenal’s favour had they managed to conjure a win.
City, whose early opener from Sergio Aguero was cancelled out by Theo Walcott, opened up a two-goal lead with Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho efforts either side of halftime.
Arsenal briefly rallied with a superb second from Walcott, but David Silva restored the two-goal lead from close range and Fernandinho poked home his second to maintain City’s 100 percent home league record.
Even Per Mertesacker’s late consolation for Arsenal was trumped by City as Yaya Toure stroked in a stoppage time penalty.
Fifth-placed Liverpool can move back into second if they beat sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.