Manchester City delivered a masterclass to overwhelm Premier League leaders Arsenal and strike a huge psychological blow in the title race at Etihad Stadium.
The confrontation billed as a potential title decider turned into an embarrassingly one-sided affair.
Pep Guardiola’s side, now two points behind Arsenal with two games in hand, were inspired by the devastating partnership of Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne.
Haaland set De Bruyne away for a silky finish for City’s opener after seven minutes, and Arsenal then survived a constant bombardment of attacks before John Stones headed home from a corner in first-half stoppage time, the goal given by VAR after originally being ruled offside.
City goal machine Haaland was outstanding, once again setting up De Bruyne for the third in the 54th minute, the Belgian passing a classy finish between the legs of Gunners defender Rob Holding.
Holding did pull one back for Arsenal late in the game before Haaland, denied four times by Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale earlier in the match, sealed a memorable night with his 49th City goal.
City can go top with victory at Fulham on Sunday while Arsenal must somehow pull out of a slump that has seen them go four league games without a win at a crucial stage of the season.