Arsenal hosted Manchester City in the first Premier League match of 2022, a match between two sides in good form.
Few managers are more animated on the touchline than Mikel Arteta, but the Arsenal players did not have their boss’s instructions on the touchline this afternoon when Manchester City visits the Emirates.
The Gunners have won four games in a row to move into fourth place, four points ahead of West Ham and Manchester United, and five ahead of their north London rivals Tottenham, despite the fact that Spurs have two games in hand.
Arsenal have lost their last nine Premier League games against Manchester City, dating back to a 2-2 draw in April 2017 – their longest losing streak against an opponent in league history.
City, meanwhile, haven’t lost in the league since October and have built an eight-point lead over second-place Chelsea, while Liverpool – who visit Stamford Bridge tomorrow – are a point further back with a game in hand.
Manchester City won 110 points in the Premier League in 2021, 27 more than any other side. It is the most points any side has won in a year in top-flight history, with their win over Brentford taking them ahead of the 107 that Liverpool won during 1982.
Covid-19 has an impact on both teams in some way. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will watch the game from home as he recovers from a positive test result, so assistants Albert Stuivenberg and Steve Round will take charge, while City will be without Phil Foden due to a lack of fitness.
After skipping past White, Sterling should have been awarded a free kick on the edge, only to be brought down a few yards from the penalty box. As a battle for the ball in midfield erupts, Sterling receives a kick from Odegaard.
A fantastic goal, and Arsenal deserve it! Saka maintains his excellent form, guiding Tierney’s low ball past Ederson and into the far corner. Arsenal’s move is lovely – worked out to the left to Tierney via Odegaard. Tierney’s rolled ball back across was perfectly judged, as was Saka’s finish. This is his fourth goal in three Premier League games.
Bukayo Saka, 20, is the second-youngest Arsenal player to score a @premierleague goal against the reigning champions, following Nicolas Anelka against Manchester United in November 1997. (18y 240d).
Bukayo Saka (6) and Emile Smith Rowe (8), the club’s two highest goalscorers in the competition in 2021-22, have scored 42 percent of Arsenal’s 33 Premier League goals this season.
Jesus makes a brilliant turn to unexpectedly open Arsenal. He has De Bruyne open to his left, but he paused too long, and the Belgian was offside by the time he played the ball.
Martinelli, on the other hand, lets fly with a curling effort from the angle – just wide!
Man City 1-0 Arsenal
That couldn’t have gone any better for the Gunners, who have been outstanding. When they’ve sat off, they’re solid in shape, with excellent pressing from the front line, and they’re dangerous in attack, especially down the wings.
Saka scores, and he’s had a fantastic 45 minutes, as have many others in red shirts.
City has had some bright moments in recent weeks, but they have been second best. They’ll undoubtedly improve after the break.
Penalty Man City
Huge calls for a penalty for City after Bernardo is brought down in the box by Xhaka! It’s so clumsy of Xhaka to leave his leg outstretched while also pulling on Bernardo’s shirt. Stuart Atwell has had enough and tells Bernardo to get back up – but he’s been told to look at it on the monitor!
Xhaka will always be Xhaka.
Goal Man City
This was a significant turning point in the game. As he smashes it to his right, Mahrez sends Ramsdale the wrong way.
Red Card Arsenal
Arsenal are now down to ten men! Gabriel was sent off in the 59th minute for a second yellow card!
Insane. This game has completely changed in a matter of seconds. Gabriel was booked for scuffing the penalty spot just before Mahrez’s penalty, and he receives his second yellow card in as many minutes after pulling down Jesus at the halfway line.
Although Jesus had rolled the defender and was turning into open space, the first booking for scuffing the penalty spot was completely unnecessary.
In the seventh minute, the game completely changed, with Arsenal dropping deep and City having their best spell of possession since the beginning.
But Arsenal will remain patient and in shape, and the sight of Laporte shooting from 25 yards will be pleasing. The city must be more patient than that.
Emile Smith Rowe replaces Alexandre Lacazette. Smith Rowe has recently had a lot of success scoring goals off the bench, but that’s probably not his top priority this afternoon. Arsenal’s main goal is to remain consistent.
Goal Man City
Arsenal’s free kick is not cleared, and De Bruyne swings the ball in towards Laporte. It is broken to Rodri, who converts for a dramatic late winner. He rushes to the Arsenal fans’ corner, removes his shirt, and is pelted with objects.
This second half was absolutely wild, and City could come away with a huge late winner.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 1 : 2 Manchester City
A breathless 90 minutes ends with City winning their 11th Premier League game in a row. They had to put in a lot of effort for this one.
Saka put Arsenal ahead in the first half, but City scored twice after the break… both after Gabriel was sent off.
Despite the Gunners’ staunch defense, Rodri popped up at the death to poke home from close range.
The Gunners can learn a lot from their performance, but it’s a heartbreaking defeat after the display they put on.
The final scenes reflect the battle that we have just witnessed. Manchester City and Arsenal players are on the ground, and the referee is surrounded.
Arsenal players appear dejected, whereas City players appear to be celebrating as if they’ve just gotten away with something. It’s also a huge win, extending their Premier League winning streak to 11 games and putting them 11 points ahead of Chelsea and 12 points ahead of Liverpool.
Manchester City now leads the league with 53 points, 11 more than second-placed Chelsea, despite having played one more match. Arsenal is still in fourth place with 35 points.