Arsenal brought an end to their 12-game Premier League losing streak against a lacklustre Manchester City side, clinching a well-deserved 1-0 victory in front of an ecstatic Emirates crowd on Sunday afternoon.
With Bukayo Saka unable to recover in time for the crucial clash, Arsenal lined up with Leandro Trossard, Eddie Nketiah, and Gabriel Jesus in their attacking lineup, while Jorginho was chosen over Kai Havertz in the midfield.
Meanwhile, City’s rising star, Rico Lewis, earned a starting spot after his impressive performance against RB Leipzig. The champions immediately tested a visibly nervous David Raya, with the Spanish goalkeeper needing Declan Rice to clear Josko Gvardiol’s goal-bound effort off the line within six minutes. Twelve minutes later, Julian Alvarez charged down Raya’s clearance, resulting in the ball narrowly missing the target and finding the side netting.
Arsenal eventually managed to ease the pressure on their shaky goalkeeper, and City midfielder Mateo Kovacic narrowly avoided a red card for a studs-up challenge on Martin Odegaard. VAR reviewed the incident, ultimately deciding that Michael Oliver’s yellow card was sufficient. However, Kovacic was lucky not to receive a second yellow card just four minutes later for another late challenge on Rice.
This sense of injustice spurred Arsenal, who finished the first half stronger than their opponents. At half-time, Arsenal brought on the fit-again Martinelli for Trossard, while Guardiola chose to keep the risk-prone Kovacic on the field.
An energetic Martinelli needed only six minutes to test the City goalkeeper, Ederson, but his shot from a tight angle went straight into Ederson’s arms. Lewis found the back of the net for City in the 55th minute, but the referee had already blown the whistle for a foul.
The breakthrough finally came for Arsenal in the 87th minute, albeit in a highly fortunate manner. Takehiro Tomiyasu headed the ball down to Havertz, who set up Martinelli for a first-time strike into the center of the goal, with the ball taking a significant deflection off Ake’s head.
The four minutes of added time were insufficient for City to break down Arsenal’s resolute defence, and as a result, the Gunners climbed above the champions in the table.