Manchester City have gone top of the Premier League table thanks to a 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners had gone into the game three points clear of City, but goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland were enough to earn the reigning champions a win that puts them top of the standings thanks to their superior goal difference.
The first big chance of the game would fall to Arsenal and Eddie Nketiah. The striker – still deputising for the injured Gabriel Jesus – found himself unmarked inside the penalty area and was brilliantly picked out by a curling Oleksandr Zinchenko cross. Nketiah’s subsequent effort on goal however didn’t quite match the quality of the delivery, as he headed well wide of the post.
Arsenal were made to pay for that missed chance a few short minutes later as City took the lead.
The goal would come following some woeful play from Takehiro Tomiyasu, who played a blind – and terrible – pass, which was intended for Aaron Ramsdale, into the path of De Bruyne. The Belgian then brilliantly volleyed over Ramsdale and into the net.
Not to be deterred by going behind, Arsenal continued to press forward with real intent and enthusiasm and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty in the 40th minute. Ederson was penalised for collided with Nketiah in the box, and Bukayo Saka stepped to confidently side-foot the resulting spot kick into the bottom left corner of the net.
In the six (yes, six) minutes added on at the end of the first half, City came within a whisker of re-taking the lead through Nathan Ake/Rodri. And we say ‘Nathan Ake/Rodri’ because the latter headed goalward and the former may or may not have touched the ball on it’s way toward Ramsdale’s net to deflect it onto the crossbar.
Manchester City wrestled some control of the game back fully at the start of the second half, and thought they had won a golden opportunity to re-take the lead when the referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot following a coming together between Erling Haaland and Gabriel Magalhaes. A VAR review would come to the rescue for the Gunners however, as Haaland was adjudged to have been offside in the lead up to the incident.
Arsenal would then come close to breaking the stalemate following a wonderful sweeping move involving their full frontline and the murauding Tomiyasu. After some neat interplay between Nketiah, Saka and Martinell the ball found it’s way out to Tomiyasu on the right flank. The Japanese international drilled a brilliant ball across the box but a sliding Nketiah was just unable to latch onto it.
Seconds later, City came close through Haaland. The forward capitalised on some sloppy play from Zinchenko before firing into the mid-riff of the onrushing Ramsdale on the right-hand side of the penalty area.
In the 71st minute, City would finally make it 2-1 through Grealish. The England international side-footed calmly into the bottom right corner of the net after Haaland capitalised on some sloppy play from Gabriel and squared the ball to Ilkay Gundogan, who then squared to Grealish on the left of the penalty area.
Haaland would then kill off the game, making it 3-1 in the final ten minutes. Once again the goal came from some fantastic play from De Bruyne, who pulled the ball back to Haaland in the box. The Norwegian controlled with his left before firing into the bottom corner with his right.
GK – Aaron Ramsdale – 5/10 – He couldn’t do too much about any of the goals.
RB – Takehiro Tomiyasu – 3/10 – Woeful mistake cost Arsenal in the first half.
CB – William Saliba – 4/10 – Struggled to deal with the physicality of Haaland.
CB – Gabriel Magalhaes – 2/10 – He’s been sloppy in recent weeks and that sloppiness permeated into this game too. Lost the ball clumsily in the lead up to City’s second goal.
LB – Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6/10 – All action at both ends.
CM – Martin Odegaard – 5/10 – Much quieter than Arsenal fans were hoping he’d be.
CM – Jorginho – 4/10 – Got swallowed up in the midfield by City.
CM – Granit Xhaka – 5/10 – Too slow making decisions off the ball, but battled when when out of possession.
RW – Bukayo Saka – 6/10 – Confident penalty drew Arsenal level.
ST – Eddie Nketiah – 5/10 – Missed a decent chance in the first half but made amends by winning a penalty for his side.
LW – Gabriel Martinelli – 3/10 – He never really got the better of Walker all night.
SUB – Leandro Trossard – N/A.
SUB – Ben White – N/A.
SUB – Fabio Vieira – N/A.
GK – Ederson – 5/10 – He didn’t have a whole lot to do to be honest.
CB – Kyle Walker – 7/10 – Dealt with Martinelli very well throughout.
CB – Ruben Dias – 6/10 – Another confident and composed performance.
CB – Nathan Ake – 6/10 – Solid at the back.
DM – Bernardo Silva – 5/10 – Played in a more defensive role than he’s used. Bit weird from Pep if we’re being honest.
DM – Rodri – 7/10 – Full of energy and vigour in the middle of the park.
RM – Riyad Mahrez – 3/10 – A quiet outing for Mahrez on the right flank.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne – 9/10 – Scored a brilliant goal and then set up the third. The best player in the Premier League and it’s not really up for debate so stop trying to debate it.
CM – Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – His wonderful pass into the path of Grealish proved to be a decisive moment in the game.
LM – Jack Grealish – 7/10 – Composed finish to make it 2-1. Subbed off with an injury soon after.
ST – Erling Haaland – 7/10 – Scored a crucial goal in the final 10 minutes. Really showed his quality at times in the second half.
SUB – Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Shored up City’s defence when he came on.
SUB – Phil Foden – N/A.
SUB – Kalvin Phillips – N/A.