Arsenal FC were unlucky at first, but then lucky: The Gunners defeated Manchester City after twelve league defeats in a row, but in doing so also let their arch-rivals rejoice.
No surprise, even for the runners-up: The top match started with a lot of possession for City. And almost with an early lead for City, who recorded a huge double chance after just four minutes: Rice saved from Gvardiol on the line after a corner, seconds later Aké shot over from six metres.
Both teams pressed intensively and high, with the home side having the greater problems. Alvarez almost blocked the ball into the goal against Gunners’ keeper Raya, who had held it too long (17th). From time to time, the Skyblues appeared dangerously in front of the Spaniard, whose front men, however, were hardly ever present in the opponent’s third. City dominated the game with their defence.
Kovacic in luck
In phases, the Gunners were also well in the game, albeit without much goal threat – Nketiah shooting wide after a lapse by Dias (26th). Their own strength almost earned them an overtime, but referee Michael Oliver twice decided not to send off Kovacic, who ran viciously into Ödegaard and Rice. City were lucky. The Croatian’s first intervention, when he caught Ödegaard in the Achilles’ heel from behind with an open sole, could have been punished with a red card (29th).
Meanwhile, top scorer Haaland was quite out of touch with the powerful Saliba – and too perplexed in the 41st minute when Raya dived under a Foden cross. The Norwegian could have headed into the orphaned goal. So it went into the catacombs goalless.
After the break, in which Guardiola did not substitute Kovacic by the way, the Londoners were suddenly better in it. Arteta brought on Martinelli, who was busy on the left and tested Ederson (51st). Nevertheless, the most dangerous chance of the opening phase came from Alvarez, whose shot was blocked after a Foden pass (58th).
Joker Havertz prepares
However, the impression was not deceptive: the champions were increasingly lacking energy and inventiveness. They were left with defensive stability, which Arsenal continued to cut their teeth on. Several long-range shots did not provide any danger either. Both coaches changed eagerly, but the top match still seemed to be heading for a goalless draw. Deep in the closing stages, however, Martinelli took heart after a pass from substitute Havertz – Aké deflected his second-range effort unstoppable (86th).
City then failed to create an equalising chance, beating Arsenal again after twelve league defeats in a row. The Gunners also overtook the champions at the top of the table, but Tottenham are now level on points, having scored two more goals.