MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City delivered another devastating attacking display to beat Premier League leader Arsenal 6-3 in a wild shootout on Saturday, leaving the chastened leaders in range of the chasing pack in the title race.
After putting four goals past Manchester United and six past Tottenham at Etihad Stadium this season, City dismantled another of its main rivals for an eighth straight home win that showed just why Manuel Pellegrini's freescoring team is most pundits' favorites for the title.
Arsenal, weary after a grueling Champions League defeat at Napoli on Wednesday, was breached by prolific strikers Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo in the first half and disintegrated after the break as Fernandinho (two), David Silva and Yaya Toure plundered more goals.
Pellegrini's players are living up to their tag as the Premier League's entertainers — they have scored 35 goals in eight matches at the Etihad and are now just three points off Arsenal.
"At times the tempo was frightening," City captain Vincent Kompany said. "It is a real fortress here."
Arsenal arrived in Manchester with the league's stingiest defense and left with its title credentials back under the microscope.
Theo Walcott scored twice, to make it 1-1 and 3-2, with Per Mertesacker grabbing the Gunners' other goal in second-half stoppage time. But they were ripped apart by City's sparkling forward department, reviving memories of their 8-2 loss at Manchester United in August 2011.
This was Arsenal's third high-intensity match in the space of seven days, having drawn 1-1 with Everton last weekend, and they have clearly taken their toll. Thankfully for the creaking leaders, they have a much-needed nine-day break before playing Chelsea next.
"Our strength until now was our defensive discipline and that went as the game went on," said Wenger, who refused to use the short turnaround from the Napoli game as an excuse.
"It was 6-3 but what hurts me more is that we had an opportunity to put Man City at nine points (behind). It's three tonight and that's difficult to swallow."
City's confidence couldn't be higher at the moment — even its second-choice team beat reigning champion Bayern Munich 3-2 in the Champions League in midweek. And goals are coming from all areas, with Brazilian defensive midfielder Fernandinho finding time to maraud forward and join the party here.
"For me, it's very important to be an entertaining team," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "There are managers who prefer to score one goal, hold their team back and try to counter attack. Our philosophy is to continue trying to score more goals. That's the best way to win."