Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City: The Hoodoo is Over
Final Result: Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City (Martinelli 86′)
Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 75′), Saliba, Gabriel, White; Rice, Jorginho (Partey 75′), Odegaard; Trossard (Martinelli 46′), Jesus, Nketiah (Havertz 75′)
For the first time in 87 consecutive Premier League games, Arsenal was without its talisman, Bukayo Saka, for a game of this magnitude, but Mikel Arteta received a boost regarding the availability of Gabriel Martinelli, that pulled up short in the Everton game. Thomas Partey was not deemed fit enough to start the game, so Jorginho got the nod alongside Declan Rice to provide protection to the backline.
Manchester City came off the blocks from a corner that saw Josko Gvardiol nod the ball that bounced past David Raya but Declan Rice was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Shortly afterwards, another transition play saw Nathan Ake with a big chance in the six yard box but his shot sailed effortlessly over the bar. Raya was under intense pressure early on and almost conceded a goal when Julian Alvarez closed down on the goalie with the blocked effort hitting the side netting.
Arsenal’s first break came from Eddie Nketiah but his effort was blasted wide. Nketiah went on to have one of those games where he struggled to make an impact, despite his running and effort. While you can’t doubt his commitment, his ability still remains questionable and an ambitious club like Arsenal shouldn’t be resorting to the likes of him in games of this magnitude. When I think about the ruthlessness shown by Arteta on Aaron Ramsdale, I am expectant that he would do the same to Nketiah in the foreseeable future.
The next noteworthy major talking point arrived when Mateo Kovacic received a booking for his studs-up challenge on Martin Odegaard’s ankle. Shockingly, VAR reviewed it and deemed it not dangerous. This tackle was akin to what Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang committed in that away clash to Crystal Palace in Selhurst Park and he received his marching orders. As if it wasn’t bad enough, the same Kovacic lunged again and caught Rice on the ankle, and despite the groans from the crowd and the appeals from the players, Michael Oliver, somehow allowed him to remain on the pitch for what was certainly a bookable offense.
The level of officiating in the Premier League is at an all-time low and decisions like this prove why. Kovacic was meant to leave the pitch for his dangerous plays, but he stayed thanks to shitty refereeing.
Trossard had a torrid game, or was maybe injured, and replaced in half time by Gabriel Martinelli and the Brazilian winger brought some life to the dwindling Arsenal attack, which incited the home crowd. In a short time span, Martinelli had some shots that put Manchester City on the back foot, but as the game progressed, both teams traded blows in what was a real mental battle. Both teams were up for it and certainly didn’t want to lose it. Pep Guardiola made three substitutions to tilt the game to his favor, and Arteta responded with his own triple substitutions that had a direct impact on the match clincher.
Gabriel, who had been a monster all match, won a duel against Haaland, teed up a sub, Partey, who spotted the run of another sub, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and dinked it to his direction. Tomiyasu cushioned a header for another sub, Kai Havertz, that controlled the ball superbly and threaded it for a sub, Martinelli, whose one-time shot deflected off Ake into the Manchester City net. The fact that this goal came in the 86th minute was more satisfying.
A late rally from Manchester City ensued but Arsenal maintained their composure under pressure and managed the game till the ref’s whistle was like music to the ears of everyone associated with Arsenal. After losing 12 games on the bounce to Manchester City, the hoodoo was finally over, as Arsenal ensured that their visitors lost two Premier League games for the first time since 2018, which makes the final result all the more impressive.
The Gunners go into the international break in high spirits, joint top with their fierce rivals, Tottenham, and Arteta will be hoping for his players to return unscathed before the visit to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.
As always, Gooner Daily will cover the progress of the players during the international break, but it is really good to have secured a vital result over Manchester City, which will inspire confidence and fill the fans with optimism for what will be a pulsating campaign.
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