Manchester City reduced the gap at the top of the Premier League to two points for 24 hours at least as Sergio Aguero's hat-trick helped them to a 3-1 win over Arsenal.
The reigning champions took the lead after 46 seconds through Aguero's header as Arsenal nearly crumbled early on, but they were soon level as Laurent Koscielny scored a header of his own from a corner (11).
But City went in ahead at half-time as Aguero simply finished off from Raheem Sterling's fine assist (44), and the Argentine completed his hat-trick with a fortuitous close-range touch off the side of his body (61), through there was a suspicion of handball.
The result means pressure is back on Liverpool to regain their five-point lead against West Ham on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while Arsenal move down to sixth, three points off the top four.
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (7), Fernandino (7), Otamendi (7), Laporte (8), Gundogan (7), David Silva (7), De Bruyne (7), Bernardo Silva (7), Sterling (9), Aguero (10)
Subs: Jesus (NA), Mahrez (NA)
Arsenal: Leno (7), Lichtsteiner (6), Kolasinac (7), Mustafi (6), Monreal (6), Koscielny (7), Torreira (6), Guendouzi (7), Iwobi (5), Aubameyang (6), Lacazette (7)
Subs: Ramsey (6), Suarez (6), Mavropanos (NA)
Man of the match: Sergio Aguero
Pep Guardiola surprised all with his team selection as Fernandinho started at centre-back and Aymeric Laporte at left-back, but it looked to work a treat early on as City dominated.
After scoring just 24 seconds in against Newcastle, City fans had to wait 46 seconds for their opener this time courtesy of Aguero again, heading home unmarked six yards out from Laporte's left-wing cross after the Frenchman robbed Alex Iwobi on the edge of the area.
City piled forward and threatened a quick-fire second, but Arsenal levelled as Nacho Monreal flicked on Lucas Torreira's corner for Koscielny to nod in at the back post having got away from Sterling.
Man City made three changes following their surprise midweek loss, John Stones and Danilo dropping to the bench and Nicolas Otamendi and Ilkay Gundogan in the side. Bernardo Silva replaced Leroy Sane.
Mesut Ozil reverted to a substitutes' role for Arsenal but was joined on the bench by new signing Denis Suarez. Captain Laurent Koscielny returned.
Arsenal grew into the game and looked the happier of the two sides going into the break, but they were stung late in the half via a slick City move.
Ilkay Gundogan's deft chip over the Arsenal defence for Sterling still left the England winger with a job to do to find Aguero at the back post, but he did so superbly with a fine first-time volleyed cross for the Argentine to tap in.
City nearly got a third after the break as Bernd Leno blocked Kevin De Bruyne's close-range effort, but Aguero was in the right place to bundle Sterling's low cross from the left over the line just after the hour, though replays show the ball hit his arm.
Leno parried away Aguero's deflected effort from the edge of the box to deny him a fourth, and Leno kept the score down again moments later, smartly tipping away David Silva's 20-yard shot.
City eased the game out at 3-1, meaning attention turns back to Liverpool and their trip to London on MNF with just over a third of the season remaining.
Man of the match - Sergio Aguero
When City need their man, he always answers. Yes, you get chances playing in this wonderful side, but Aguero doesn't simply wait for them to fall at his feet. He's optimistic, works hard to force mistakes, and makes teams pay.
A man for the big occasion, Aguero has now scored a staggering 40 goals in 63 games against big-six opponents, 19 more than any other player since he arrived in England.
Not only is Aguero clinical in front of goal; his passing accuracy was the best of any attacking player on the pitch (92.6 per cent).
- Manchester City have won four consecutive top-flight games against Arsenal for the first time since April 1937.
- Since the start of 2018, only two teams have lost more away games than Arsenal (12) in the Premier League - Brighton (14) and Huddersfield (13).
- Manchester City have won eight of their nine games in all competitions in 2019 (L1), scoring 34 goals and conceding just four in return.
- Only Alan Shearer (11) has scored more hat-tricks in the Premier League than Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (10).
- Sergio Aguero has been directly involved in 27 goals in his last 15 home starts in the Premier League (22 goals, 5 assists).
- At the age of 24 years and 57 days, Raheem Sterling has become the seventh youngest player in Premier League history to register 100 goal involvements in the competition (59 goals, 40 assists).
- Sergio Aguero has scored both of the two quickest goals in the Premier League this season (24 seconds v Newcastle and 46 seconds v Arsenal), with both coming in Manchester City's last two league games.
- Manchester City's opening goal (0:46) was the quickest that Arsenal have conceded in a Premier League game since December 2014, when Stoke's Peter Crouch scored against them after 19 seconds.
- Fifty per cent of Manchester City's goals conceded in the Premier League this season have been from set pieces; the highest ratio in the division (10/20).
City now go to Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday night, before returning to the Etihad on Super Sunday to face Chelsea, live on Sky Sports Premier League. Arsenal are at Huddersfield on Saturday at 3pm. Follow live coverage of both games on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.