Mikel Arteta finally claimed a first-ever managerial Premier League victory over Manchester City as Gabriel Martinelli’s late strike earned Arsenal a 1-0 win over the champions.
Martinelli’s effort, which deflected off Nathan Ake and past Ederson, condemned the defending champions to back-to-back league defeats for the first time in five years (since December 2018).
Before kick-off, Man City had gone 15 Premier League games without defeat to Arsenal, winning the last 12 in a row, so it was unsurprising that they started the mouth-watering showdown more confidence than their North London counterparts.
With the match still in its infancy, Josko Gvardiol saw an effort cleared off the line by Declan Rice before Ake rifled an effort over the crossbar, rattling the Gunners to their core.
However, it didn’t take long before Arteta’s side began to grow into the game, although there were a few hairy moments in the first half with David Raya particularly under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The Spanish shot-stopper was fortunate to see the ball hit the side netting when his attempted clearance was blocked by the hardworking Julian Alvarez.
With Arsenal growing in confidence as the game progressed, an end-to-end encounter ensued as Edward Nketiah cut inside Ruben Dias and curled an effort wide.
A controversial point in the game emerged when Mateo Kovacic was shown a yellow for a dangerous tackle on Martin Odegaard – a decision that satisfied VAR.
The Croatian midfielder also appeared to leave one in on Rice shortly after, but not enough to be awarded a second yellow to the frustration of the Gunners faithful.
Arsenal started the game without Bukayo Saka in the matchday squad, but Gabriel Jesus did his best to ensure the Englishman’s absence wasn’t felt.
Saka had featured in Arsenal’s previous 87 Premier League games in a row – a club record for most consecutive appearances in the division.
However, his partner in crime, Martinelli, made his return from injury, replacing the lacklustre Leandro Trossard at half time and immediately injected energy and enthusiasm into the Gunners’ attack.
As the match transitioned into a dull affair, both managers turned to their bench in search of a spark, making triple chances each.
It was Arsenal who reaped the rewards as Martinelli’s shot cannoned off Ake to wrongfoot Ederson and nestle in the back of the net, securing a potentially season-defining victory for the Gunners.
The Gunners kept things tight at the back to ensure a first victory with a clean sheet over Man City for the first time since April 2012 when Arteta himself bagged the matchwinner.
It was also the first time Arsenal have managed a clean sheet against Guardiola in the Premier League, with the title holders now heading into the international break on the back of a disappointing defeat.
Arsenal have managed to extend their unbeaten start to the season and join North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Premier League summit on 20 points each, although they trail on goal difference.
Both North London clubs remain the only sides yet to suffer defeat in the division – a record that could have telling significance for Arsenal’s chances in the title race.
David Raya (4/10): Looked shaky throughout the game, and it didn’t help that his distribution was poor. His performance doesn’t bode well for his chances of solidifying a place in the starting XI.
Ben White (7/10): An astute performance from the Englishman, although he had to be more focused and assured in his tackles against Jeremy Doku.
William Saliba (7/10): Marshalled Erling Braut Haaland effectively, barely allowing the Norwegian marksman a whiff at Raya’s goal.
Gabriel Magalhaes (6/10): Made some crucial blocks to keep Man City at bay.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (6/10): Didn’t have much to do in the first half with Silva sitting deeper but held his own in the few minutes against Doku.
Jorginho (6/10): A decent performance, considering he was making his first Premier League start in a high-stakes fixture.
Declan Rice (7/10): Had a shaky start to the game but denied Man City an early lead with an important goal-line clearance. Showed his class in the second period with several key interceptions.
Martin Odegaard (6/10): Marked his 100th start for Arsenal across all competitions with a hardworking performance but struggled to stamp his authority in midfield – although he looked dangerous in the final third.
Gabriel Jesus (6/10): Looked dangerous every time he got the ball.
Edward Nketiah (6/10): Struggled in the first half but played with more enthusiasm and purpose in the second period.
Leandro Trossard (5/10): Struggled to assert himself in the game from Walker’s back pocket and was rightly replaced at the interval.
Gabriel Martinelli (7/10): Turned the tide in Arsenal’s favour after his introduction and turned out to be the matchwinner.
Thomas Partey (6/10)
Kai Havertz (7/10)
Takehiro Tomiyasu (6/10)
Ederson (6/10): Characteristically impressive with his distribution unlike his opposite number, but didn’t have much to do in terms of saves.
Josko Gvardiol (7/10): Came under siege a lot with much of Arsenal’s attack coming down his flank, but dealt with the barrage effectively. Nearly handed his side an early lead too.
Nathan Ake (7/10): Was the more composed centre-half and looked assured on the ball. Did well to keep Nketiah quiet but was unfortunate for the goal.
Ruben Dias (6/10): Looked out of sorts at the heart of Man City’s defence.
Kyle Walker (7/10): Solid at both ends of the pitch. Had more work to do when Martinelli entered the fray in the second half.
Mateo Kovacic (5/10): Lucky not to be sent off in the first half after a couple of concerning tackles.
Rico Lewis (7/10): Looked lively in the middle of the park and was arguably Man City’s best performer.
Phil Foden (6/10): Showed flashes of his trickery and flair and made several runs in behind the defence, but there was not much to show for it.
Julian Alvarez (5/10): Was hardworking and effective when pressing but barely had a sight at goal.
Bernardo Silva (7/10): Dropped deep to help his side navigate Arsenal’s high press and dictated proceedings effectively.
Erling Braut Haaland (6/10): Failed to muster a shot on target and was anonymous for most of the game as Arsenal’s defence marshalled him effectively.
Jeremy Doku (5/10)
Matheus Nunes (6/10)
John Stones (4/10)
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