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Manchester City keep pressure on Arsenal with 2-0 win over Forest

MANCHESTER City took another step in their bid to win a fourth consecutive Premier League title with a 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, with Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland on target.

Pep Guardiola’s men kept the pressure on leaders Arsenal, pulling to within a point of the Gunners — who held on to win 3-2 at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day — in the table with a game in hand.

“I think the most important thing is to not think (about the title race), especially these moments, but take it day by day,” Haaland told Sky Sports. “Honestly if you overthink, you’re going to be crazy in your head, so relax now, enjoy, focus on the next one.”

Forest had matched City in a nervous first half at the sundrenched City Ground before Gvardiol got the holders on the scoreboard with his second career league goal when he headed in Kevin De Bruyne’s corner kick from the near post in the 32nd minute. Forest had only 10 men on the pitch at the time following an injury to Neco Williams.

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“I didn’t expect to score, but I found myself in a good position, Gvardiol said, then added about the title race: “We need to be focused on ourselves, and that’s what we’re doing. Four more finals until the end — let’s do it.”

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Haaland made a quick impact when he entered the game as a substitute in his first action since missing two matches with a muscle injury.

The Norwegian took a pass from De Bruyne in the 71st minute, took three touches, then launched it into the far corner for a league-leading 21st goal of the season. He had previously been level with Chelsea’s Cole Palmer.

“It was more than hard, such a difficult game but we knew that,” Guardiola said. “The game we played in Brighton (a 4-0 win on Thursday) feels like a few hours ago so it is always difficult.

Guardiola said his side did not feel added pressure from kicking off after Arsenal’s win.

“The pressure is how you play,” the Spaniard said. “If you play good and control the game then people say you don’t feel the pressure, if you play bad people say you feel the pressure.”

Forest, who are a point above the drop zone in 17th, looked little like a team facing potential relegation and had travelling City fans — including musician Noel Gallagher — breathing sighs of relief several times.

The home side had 14 shots to City’s 11, including an absolute sitter that a wide open Chris Wood missed when he got his feet tangled up in front of the net.

Forest have won just two of their last 15 league games, going back to Dec. 30, a poor record that has been overshadowed by their troubles off the pitch. They were docked four points last month for breaching the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules. They have appealed the decision.

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They also hit out at refereeing standards in the Premier League in an angry statement posted on social media platform X following their loss to Everton last Sunday – which has led to the FA launching an investigation into the club.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo, however, was pleased with the fight his squad showed.

“We played a good game, we were organised, compact, we had chances,” Santo said. “We did a good job, regarding the opponent, how hard it is for them to play City.

“With the attitude, and the way we played, we’re going to achieve what we want (avoiding relegation), this is more important.”

City’s Stefan Ortega replaced injured keeper Ederson at halftime, with the Brazilian leaving the stadium with his arm in a sling. The visitors were also missing Phil Foden, who scored five goals in his previous two league appearances, to illness.

City’s final four games are against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

By The African Mirror

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