Arsenal 1, Manchester City 0
A narrow 1-0 defeat via a deflected Gabriel Martinelli goal completed a hat-trick defeats in Manchester City games without the suspended Rodri after the influential Spanish midfielder was sent off against Nottingham Forest.Embed from Getty Images
The fact that during this run Rodri was able to play in the Champions League victory at RB Leipzig underlined the point that City currently struggle to play well without their key defensive midfielder.
This time it was Bernardo Silva’s turn to replace him at the base of midfield as City made two changes from the side that beat RB Leipzig in Germany.
The suspended Rodri and the injured Manuel Akanji stepped down and they were replaced by Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake.
It was a game that could have gone either way considering how few chances there were and the fact that neither side tried to overcommit which led to a somewhat stodgy spectacle which did not live up to the pre-match billing.
This was the first win for Arsenal over City in the Premier League since 2015 – a 12 match losing streak – as they restricted City to just four shots on their goal – and only 1 on target – their fewest in a Premier League since April 2010 – also against Arsenal.
Manchester City had the better of the opening half and should have scored early on when Phil Foden’s corner was met by Josko Gvardiol whose shot was cleared off the line and Nathan Ake blazed over under pressure from William Saliba.
David Raya was lucky to escape without conceding a needless goal when he didn’t see Julian Alvarez coming up on his blindside to block his kick – the ball bounced away to safety but could easily have gone in.
Chances were few in the game though and City might have been down to ten men when Mateo Kovacic escaped an upgrade on his yellow card for a studs up challenge on Martin Odegaard.
The Croatian was rode his luck again when later scything down Declan Rice.
Gabriel Martinelli was introduced to the action in the second half and forced Ederson into a save but City’s intensity receded in an cagey second half and with 4 minutes to go Arsenal’s substitutes combined to produce the winner.
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partay were involved in the build-up which ended when Kai Havertz laid off to the ball to Martinelli and his drive took a wicked deflection off the luckless Ake’s head to wrong foot Ederson and spin into his net sparking huge celebrations from Arsenal.
The result meant that the Gunners leaped over City into second place – leaving Pep Guardiola’s team in third position – 2 points behind league leaders Spurs.
Victory meant everything for Mikel Arteta who finally beat City although the celebrations were marred by a post match incident involving Kyle Walker, Erling Haaland, and members of the Arsenal bench as they were walked down the tunnel by security.