Arsenal vs Manchester City was a wild, drama-filled clash at the Emirates Stadium as Rodri won it in stoppage time against a brave 10-man Gunners side.
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Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal a deserved first half lead and the Gunners were dominant as City didn’t get going at all.
After the break a wild two minute spell saw Man City equalize through a Riyad Mahrez penalty kick, Arsenal then came close to going 2-1 up and then Gabriel was sent off to swing the game in City’s favor.
Rodri then won it in stoppage time, but in truth City got away with one as Arsenal were the better team for the first 60 minutes.
The win was City’s 11th in a row as they extended their lead atop the table, while Arsenal lose ground in the top four race as they continue to struggle against the big boys.
Arsenal vs Manchester City final score, stats
Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City
Goals scored: Saka 31′, Mahrez 57′, Rodri 93′
Shots: Arsenal 7, Manchester City 15
Shots on target: Arsenal 2, Manchester City 2
Possession: Arsenal 29, Manchester City 71
Three things we learned from Arsenal vs Manchester City
1. VAR calls dominate game: VAR was used to see if Ederson fouled Odegaard and no penalty was given. It was then used to award City a penalty as Xhaka hauled down Silva in the box. Referee Stuart Atwell had waved away calls for a foul initially but then went to the pitch-side monitor and overturned his own call. VAR dominated the big moments in this one and although Arsenal fans will complain about Gabriel being sent off and the big penalty kick calls, these were tough decisions. Referee Stuart Atwell and VAR will get a lot of stick over him not being sent to the screen for Odegaard’s potential penalty. But it’s hard to defend Xhaka and Gabriel in particular as Arsenal once again showed indiscipline at key moments. More on that below.
2. Sluggish City edge to victory: This was not a vintage City display at all, but after a quick turnaround from their win at Brentford on Wednesday it was a performance of champions. They edged to victory and did what they had to do, but their forward line was sluggish as Sterling, Jesus and Mahrez didn’t click at all. Pep Guardiola didn’t look best pleased despite the late win and he will admit that this was far from City’s best display. But they got the win, their 11th straight, as they continue to pull away at the top of the table.
3. Gutsy Gunners deserved more: They imploded but they deserved more. This was a very good display from Arsenal. Especially the first 55 minutes before all hell broke loose. They were incisive on the break as Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette and Odegaard were on the same page and ripped City apart. Arsenal should have been at least two goals up when City won their penalty kick. They continue to struggle to get points against the big boys and that is the final step for this young side to seriously push for a top four finish. Xhaka and Gabriel were at fault for rash decisions and Arsenal’s youngsters deserved more. Perhaps if Mikel Arteta was on the sidelines (he tested positive for COVID-19) he could have helped them get over the line, but he will still be proud of their display and they’re heading in the right direction.
Man of the Match: Bukayo Saka – Took his goal superbly and was a constant threat. What a player he is. Still only 20 years old.
Open, exciting start
Manchester City went close twice early on with headers from Gabriel Jesus and Ruben Dias, while at the other end there was a moment of controversy.
After a slick Arsenal move the ball fell to Martin Odegaard and Ederson caught him, as well as getting his foot on the ball. VAR checked the decision for a foul but no penalty kick was given.
Gabriel Martinelli then cut in from the left but his shot on goal was saved by Ederson.
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Gunners go ahead
After a fluid, incisive attack, Arsenal were ahead.
Ben White won the ball back and started an attack, and after a few slick passes Kieran Tierney found Saka to sweep home and send the Emirates wild.
Martinelli then curled a beautiful shot inches wide of the far post and flashed another shot inches wide of the post after yet another incisive Arsenal attack.
City handed a lifeline
Just when Arsenal looked likely to kick on in the second half, they handed City a lifeline.
Bernardo Silva wriggled into the box and although he went down under a challenge from Granit Xhaka and the referee waved away calls for a penalty kick, VAR told Stuart Atwell to go to the pitch-side monitor.
A penalty kick was then given and Mahrez slammed home to make it 1-1. Moments later Laporte almost scored an own goal as he looped a header over Ederson but Nathan Ake heroically cleared off his own line, then Martinelli blasted the rebound wide.
Seconds later Arsenal were down to 10 men as the game swung further in Man City’s favor. Gabriel took down Gabriel Jesus on the halfway line and picked up a second yellow card to be sent off.
Hosts can’t hand on
Arsenal steadied the ship admirably after going down to 10 men and had the occasional chance on the break, as Man City barely created any clear-cut chances. Until the 93rd minute.
A Kevin de Bruyne cross into the box saw a shot from Laporte blocked, then the ball dropped to Rodri who squeezed home the winner.
Cut wild celebrations among the City players and a sense of despair for everyone connected with Arsenal.