Arsenal vs Manchester City
Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off would see Arsenal and Manchester City face off.
Arsenal headed into game on a fine run of form. However, the Gunners’ record against the top clubs this term has been particularly poor, whilst their overall record against the Sky Blues in recent years is horrific.
Arsenal lost 5-0 to Pep Guardiola and co. earlier this season, whilst Arsenal have beaten Manchester City just once in their last 12 meetings across all competitions.
So, despite Arsenal looking to be on the up, a City win did seem very likely this weekend.
However, Arsenal dominated for large periods during the open half-hour and were eventually rewarded 30 minutes in when Bukayo Saka slotted home from a Kierney Tierney ball.
Bukayo Saka with a perfectly placed first-time shot 👌
Arsenal made a great start against City and it’s their number seven who gets the goal! pic.twitter.com/OHWbeUBOOY
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 1, 2022
City, though, were handed a way back into the tie largely down to stupid mistakes on the part of Arsenal’s players.
Firstly, Xhaka pulled down Bernardo Silva to hand City a penalty, which Riyad Mahrez scored.
Gabriel was then sent off just a few minutes later, leaving Arsenal with 10 men for over half an hour of the game.
And, despite a valiant effort from Arsenal, City eventually scored the winner 92 minutes in. A huge gut punch for the Gunners who, barring some individual errors, put on one of their best displays of the season.
Here are 101’s Arsenal player ratings from the match.
Arsenal player ratings
Aaron Ramsdale: 6.5/10
Distribution from Ramsdale was excellent during the clash, including early in the tie when his long ball led to an Arsenal penalty shout.
He had little else to do throughout the game. Dived the wrong way for Mahrez’s penalty.
Takehiro Tomiyasu: 7/10
Back at right-back today, Tomiyasu did a solid job of neutralising the threat of Raheem Sterling, who had been in fine form before Saturday.
Ben White: 6/10
A fairly quiet game for White. He did not do a lot wrong and was able to keep Gabriel Jesus – City’s centre-forward on the day – from having too much joy in front of goal. The ball did bounce off White in the build-up to Rodri’s goal but there was not that much he could have done.
Gabriel had decent first 45, but he was shown a second yellow card 59 minutes in after blocking Gabriel Jesus.
It was a challenge he really did not need to make, and it has cost his side massively.
Kieran Tierney: 7/10
There was some debate in recent weeks over whether Nuno Tavares could become Arsenal’s no.1 left-back.
However, Kieran Tierney’s showing against City proved why Arteta is right to stick with him. The defender was a constant threat down City’s right flank and it was his clever ball that set up Saka for the opener.
Thomas Partey: 8/10
Partey’s display vs Man City was one of his best in an Arsenal shirt. The midfielder was full of intensity, won countless duels and was pressing very well.
It is unfortunate for Arsenal that they now have to lose Partey for the AFCON.
Granit Xhaka: 4/10
Death, taxes and Granit Xhaka doing stupid to cost Arsenal. The Swiss midfielder had a very solid opening 50 minutes vs Manchester City, but then gave away a penalty, bringing down Bernardo Silva.
The City man clearly went down very easily, but Xhaka should not have pulled on Silva’s shirt anyway.
Bukayo Saka: 7.5/10
Saka had a fairly quite start to the game, but he came up big with a lovely finish 30 minutes in.
Martin Odegaard: 7/10
Odegaard did a superb job of neutralising Man City’s ability to play out from the back in the first 45, sticking on Rodri and not allowing City to build out from the back via the Spaniard.
Was taken off after 63 minutes following the red card.
Gabriel Martinelli: 7/10
Gabriel Martinelli continued his fine run of form against Man City. The Brazilian was unable to get himself on the scoresheet in the opening 45.
However, Martinelli still caused City all sorts of problems down their right flank and forced several good saves out of Ederson.
He also should have scored when he was presented with an open goal after Nathan Ake cleared off the line.
Another bright showing from the youngster, who now looks to have 100 per cent taken Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s starting role on the left-wing.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6.5/10
Lacazette did not cause Man City too many problems in front of goal.
However, his pressing game was once again on point for the Gunners. He was brought off after 71 minutes for Emile Smith Rowe – a move that likely would not have been made if Arsenal still had 11 men on the pitch.
Emile Smith Rowe: 5/10
Came on for the final 19 minutes in place of Lacazette, but could not affect the game too much. This, though, was to be expected due to Arsenal being a man light.
Rob Holding: 3/10
Played just over half an hour in place of the sent-off Gabriel. Perhaps could have done better with the cross that came in for Rodri’s goal.
Mohamed Eleny: N/A
Was only on the pitch for around 10 minutes, did not do anything egregious.
Read more: 101greatgoals.com