MAN CITY 5, ARSENAL 0
Manchester City’s ruthless display against Arsenal proved why they ought not to be too disappointed by the failure to sign Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo.
And despite club legend Sergio Aguero having departed and Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden injured, City still possess a formidable cutting edge as they inflicted their biggest-ever win against Arsenal.
They became only the third team in the Premier League era to score 10 goals in their opening two home games of the season.
Ferran Torres, who only had a lukewarm debut season at the Etihad, found the net twice as he is now in the scoring groove while there were also goals for Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus and Rodri.
But spare a thought for Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, formerly Pep Guardiola’s number two at City.
Arsenal have lost their first three league games, scored no goals, conceded nine and find themselves bottom of the table.
It is the first time since 1954/55 season that the Gunners have lost their first three games of the season.
And this was a ninth straight Premier League defeat Arsenal have suffered against City with Guardiola taking 31 points from a possible 33 against the Gunners.
Guardiola had sympathy for under-fire Arteta as pressure mounts on his position on the 10th anniversary of another painful defeat, the 8-2 loss at Manchester United.Embed from Getty Images
He said: “He is beyond a good manager. They have six, seven eight important players injured.
“Arteta knows how I love him. In the two or three years he was here he was important to what we built. People want results right away, with the players he had today, Ben White, Thomas Partey were missing, many players they invested in were missing, without that it is difficult.
“I know his awareness as a manager and as a leader, the moment everyone is back he will do an excellent job. I know this because I know him, I know the job he can do.”
Guardiola was philosophical about his failure to land Kane and Ronaldo.
“We tried but sometimes it is no possible. I did not ask for one player and the squad is really good and I am very pleased with the result.”
Of the match, Guardiola said: “We scored a goal that we didn’t deserve. We didn’t play that good to score a goal.
“The first time we arrived in the Arsenal half we scored. We had problems in the first 15-20 minutes in our build up. After 2-0 and sending off the game is completely different.”
On what he wanted to see in the second half, Guardiola added: “Respect the opponent, be serious in our process and our job. We created chances, we scored two more, the most important thing is that we played with respect to the opponent and not do silly things with the ball.
“We are still in the process of improving. Like I said to the players after the game. It was nice winning today, but we have to be better.”
Guardiola named the same side that thrashed Norwich 5-0 last weekend.
There was no starting spot for Raheem Sterling who has a fine scoring record against the Gunners with five goals and two assists in his last six games.
Arteta made four changes following their 2-0 defeat by London rivals Chelsea a week ago.
Martin Odegaard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac came in, with Bukayo Saka fit to play despite hurting his knee in the Carabao Cup win against West Brom.
But there were no places in the squad for Hector Bellerin who has recovered from a thigh problem and Ben White who has missed two games following a positive coronavirus test.
Other absentees were the unwell Nicolas Pepe who impressed against West Brom, Partey and Eddie Nketiah while Gabriel wasn’t involved, having made his comeback from a knee injury by playing for the U23s on Friday.
Arsenal started brightly but it was City who took a seventh minute lead through captain Gundogan’s first goal of the season.
Gabriel Jesus provided the assist with a looping cross from the right to the far post for the German to head home, though goalkeeper Bernd Leno got a firm hand to the ball which went in off the underside of the crossbar.
And it soon got a whole lot worse for the Gunners as City doubled their lead in the 12th minute.
Bernardo Silva’s cross from the right somehow eluded the entire visiting defence allowing Torres a simply far-post finish.
Arsenal complained Callum Chambers was fouled in the build up but a VAR check deemed no offence and the goal stood, his first of the season.
It was the earliest Arsenal have conceded two goals in a Premier League match since December 2017 when they let in two in the opening 11 minutes against Manchester United.
The visitors were almost handed a way back into the game when goalkeeper Ederson’s errant clearance hit Emile Smith Rowe and almost rebounded into the net.
Arsenal’s day got even worse when Granit Xhaka was sent off in the 35th minute following a two footed challenge on Joao Cancello. It was his fourth dismissal since 2016.
It followed bookings in quick succession for Cedric Soares and Sead Kolasinac as Arsenal’s ill-discipline proved costly.
The 10 men were undone again two minutes before the break when Jesus made it 3-0 as he found the net in back-to-back matches.
Rodri burst forward from midfield and released Jack Grealish on the left and his low shot was converted by Jesus who turned superbly inside the six-yard box to create space before beating Leno.
There were two changes at the break, Kyle Walker making way for Oleksandr Zinchenko while Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka made way for Mohamed Elneny.
If Arsenal’s mission in the second half was damage limitation, it failed as City quickly added a fourth goal soon after Leno had denied Bernardo Silva with a one-handed save.
A neat passing move ended with Torres laying off the ball for Rodri to side foot home from 25 yards low to the left of Leno.
Then to add insult to injury, City brought on Sterling for Bernardo Silva just short of the hour while Arsenal replaced the ineffective Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Alexandre Lacazette.
City’s final change just after the hour saw Jesus replaced by Riyad Mahrez.
Sterling almost made it five with two chances within quick succession, a header brilliantly turned over by Leno and from the corner he bent a shot narrowly wide.
The livewire Sterling, clean through on goal, was denied by Leno who made himself big to make an important block.
The fifth goal came with six minutes left when Torres headed home a Mahrez cross from six yards which flew in off the upright.
And in stoppage time it might have become an even bleaker afternoon but for Leno who denied Mahrez and Cancelo.