Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
In Saturday's early kickoff, Manchester City made a major statement of intent with a 6-3 victory at home to Arsenal in a battle of title challengers at the Etihad Stadium.
With the result, City moved temporarily into second place, three points behind Arsenal, who remained atop the table with 35 points.
City started brightly, dominating the ball and harrying Arsenal when the visitors had possession. The hosts went ahead in the 14th minute, and not surprisingly, it was Sergio Aguero on the scoresheet. Martin Demichelis met a corner at the near post, flicking it toward Aguero at the back post, where the Argentine volleyed into the net.
It was Aguero's 19th goal in 20 games in all competitions this season. He has scored 13 goals in the Premier League, two fewer than top scorer Luis Suarez of Liverpool.
Arsenal drew level in the 31st minute. Aaron Ramsey dispossessed Yaya Toure in the midfield and passed to Mesut Ozil on the left. Ozil pulled back for Walcott, whose slightly deflected shot kept Costel Pantilimon rooted to his spot.
City soon went back ahead, with Alvaro Negredo making it 2-1 in the 39th minute. Toure had plenty of time and space in the middle to pick out Pablo Zabaleta's run on the right. Zabaleta crossed for Negredo in the middle, and Negredo finished coolly.
To make matters worse for Arsenal, defender Laurent Koscielny left the pitch on a stretcher following the goal. Initial reports, relayed from Arsenal by The Guardian's Daniel Taylor, indicated Koscielny suffered a "deep laceration" on his left knee.
City received mixed news in the moments following halftime. First, Aguero left the match with a calf injury. Then, City went ahead 3-1 as Fernandinho curled in a shot from the edge of the box in the 50th minute.
Arsenal pulled one back through Walcott's curled finish in the 63rd minute, but City restored their two-goal lead three minutes later via David Silva's near-post strike.
City dominated thereafter as Arsenal tired, and Fernandinho added his second goal, City's fifth, in the 88th minute.
Arsenal substitute Nicklas Bendtner headed the ball into the net in the closing moments, but his effort was ruled out for offside. The Gunners got their third in stoppage time on Per Mertesacker's header from Bacary Sagna's cross.
But the scoring was still not complete. Substitute James Milner won a penalty for City in the fifth minute of stoppage time, and Toure converted the spot-kick to seal the win.
Manuel Pellegrini said after the game that it was not City's "best performance of the season" and that his side gave Arsenal too many good chances. However, Arsene Wenger was disappointed in Arsenal's performance and said, "What hurts me most is we had an opportunity to put MCFC to nine points. Now it is three and that is hard to swallow."
On target: 7-6