Manchester City pushed Arsenal deeper into crisis as they won with embarrassing ease at Emirates Stadium.
It was a harrowing experience for Arsenal. Caretaker manager, Freddie Ljungberg who had minimal impact since succeeding Unai Emery reflected in a record of one win from his five matches in interim charge.
On the other side, De Bruyne produced a first-half masterclass as City cruised into a three-goal lead by the interval with two superb strikes.
A perfect pass laid on City’s second for Raheem Sterling gave it a simple finish.
Meanwhile, City remains 14 points behind Liverpool after this win. However, this was a classic reminder of the quality the reigning Premier League champions possess.
City’s quest to claim a third successive Premier League title is beyond them. The club languishes so far behind Liverpool. But still, the team is still a superb sight in full cry.
At the hub of it, all was the brilliant Belgian, De Bruyne. He ripped through Arsenal at will in the first half scoring twice and making another.
De Bruyne’s first goal was a masterpiece of technique, a flashing side-footed finish into the top corner. His third was precisely placed into the bottom corner.
He created Sterling’s goal with a left-flank run that left the England attacker with the simplest of finishes. He would have scored a supreme hat-trick had it not been Arsenal’s keeper Bernd Leno who showed great athleticism to fingertip his rising shot onto the woodwork.
What about Arsenal?
Arsenal is in serious decline. The caretaker manager has not been able to coax an ounce extra out of the squad he inherited after Emery was shown the door.
But then, this is not all the Swede’s fault. This was a rot that set in long before Emery’s dismissal.
The disturbing part is Ljungberg’s lack of impact on Arsenal. This has been exemplified by how Arsenal was treated almost with contempt by Manchester City.
The results leave Arsenal stuck between the top four and the relegation zone-seven points away from both. The thousands of empty seats and a game concluded in resigned silence from the home support spoke volumes.
Arsenal had no spark, no creation, and no fight. This made City go easy on them in the second half.
While the relegation talk is a stretch, that spark is something they must find soon whether under Ljungberg or a new full-time manager. Otherwise, for Arsenal, the decline will be more aggressive.