On Sunday, Arsenal finally broke their winless streak against Manchester City in the Premier League, thanks to a goal scored by Gabriel Martinelli in stoppage time. The goal gave Arsenal a thrilling 1-0 victory against the defending champions.
At the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners had a moment of sweet revenge after suffering 12 consecutive league losses at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side.
The attempt taken by Martinelli with just four minutes remaining received a significant deflection off of the City defender Nathan Ake, which sparked wild celebrations as Arsenal earned a victory over the triple champions for the first time since December 2015.
Although Arsenal had previously triumphed against City in the Community Shield in August through penalty shootout, that win in the season-opening match of the domestic competition could not be considered as seriously as this potentially critical outcome.
It moved undefeated Arsenal into second position, two points ahead of third-placed City, but it still left them behind leaders Tottenham in terms of goals scored.
Following their 2-1 setback at the hands of Wolves last weekend, City have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League for the first time since December 2018.
When you factor in City’s defeat to Newcastle in the League Cup, you can see that they have now been defeated in three of their previous four matches.
A club that began their quest for a fourth consecutive championship by winning the first six games of the season shown a rare glimpse of fragility when they lost one of those games.
Guardiola has challenges to overcome as he attempts to rejuvenate a group that may have lost a little bit of desire after they won the treble. Few people will expect City to give up without a fight, but Guardiola will have problems to tackle as he does so.
Arsenal’s hunger for trophies is insatiable as the club strives to wipe the sour taste left by their late-season collapse, in which they threw away an eight-point lead and ultimately finished in second place, five points behind City.
This Monday, Guardiola said that Arsenal “are back” as long-term contenders to City’s domestic dominance owing to the intelligent supervision of his former assistant Arteta. Arteta was Guardiola’s assistant while he worked for City.
The tactical battle between Guardiola and his apprentice, Arteta, was won by Arteta this time, as Arteta’s replacements proved vital and provided an early narrative twist in the championship race.
The perfect play by Arteta
Declan Rice made a diving save to deny City from taking the lead in the first five minutes of the match after David Raya, the custodian for Arsenal, made a mistake in judging a cross. Josko Gvardiol’s goal-bound attempt was cleared off the line by Rice.
Nathan Ake of City should have scored for City from close range after Arsenal failed to clear the danger after barely escaping it, but the defender squandered his opportunity by shooting high and wide.
Raya nearly gave City the lead twice in the first twenty minutes of the game. The first time was when he took too long to deal with Gabriel’s back-pass, which allowed Julian Alvarez to close in on the custodian and deflect his frantic clearing inches wide. The second time was when he took too long to deal with Gabriel’s back-pass.
Eddie Nketiah made an attempt to relieve some of the pressure that Arsenal was under when he cut inside the City penalty area and curled the ball beyond of the far post.
Before Mateo Kovacic pushed the mood to a boiling point, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard boosted the decibel levels by frantically waving his arms to the fans. Mateo Kovacic took the environment to a boiling pitch.
Kovacic received a caution after a VAR review determined that he should not have received a red card for his tackle that went through the back of Odegaard’s ankle.
If Arteta was upset that Kovacic wasn’t sent off for that tackle, the Gunners manager was incensed when the Croatian escaped a second yellow card for chopping down Rice a few seconds later. Arteta thought that Kovacic should have been sent out for that action.
After a lacklustre performance in the first half, Arsenal emerged from halftime as the more aggressive team.
Martinelli, who came in as a replacement before the break, raced onto Rice’s ball and forced Ederson to make a stop at the near post.
After becoming frustrated with City’s disorganised performance, Guardiola substituted John Stones, Jeremy Doku, and Matheus Nunes, but the substitutions did not have the effect that Guardiola had hoped for.
But Arteta responded by making a move that turned out to be a brilliant masterstroke by adding Thomas Partey and Kai Havertz.
As the first half dragged on and there were less opportunities for either team, City were ready to settle for a draw. However, Arsenal maintained their pressure and were ultimately able to break through in the 86th minute.
Havertz received the long pass from Partey and then sent the ball to Martinelli on the outside of the area. Martinelli unleashed a powerful shot that took a nasty deflection off Ake and then sped past Ederson, who was caught off guard.