Contentious goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling earned Manchester City a come from behind 2-1 victory against Arsenal in what was quite literally a game of two halves at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Arsenal took an early lead in the game in just the 4th minute as some woeful defending from Manchester City allowed Hector Bellerin to run with the ball up the pitch and find Alexis Sanchez in the Citizens’ half. The Arsenal forward was allowed time and space to turn and find Theo Walcott in the box, who despite a poor first touch, had enough time to poke the ball home past Claudio Bravo to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal had ample half chances in the first half to press home their advantage, but failed to make the most of them as for the second game in succession struggled to get anything on target.
Manchester City on the other hand bossed the ball but did little with it. Their best chance of the first period fell to the head of Raheem Sterling, who couldn’t direct a pacey left wing cross on target.
Arsenal did have the ball in the back of the net a second time in the first half as Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi combined well down the Arsenal left, but the goal was correctly ruled out for a marginal offside.
That would prove to be a crucial element of the game as the Referee’s Assistant who made that decision in the first half, missed two such moments in the second half, which resulted in Manchester City netting both their goals.
Manchester City stormed back into the game just 2 minutes into the second half scoring virtually from Arsenal’s kick off. The Gunners were muscled off the ball in midfield with David Silva playing a ball over the top for Leroy Sane to run on to. Sane was marginally offside, but the referee’s assistant missed it, as did Arsenal’s defence, and the young German did well to stroke the ball home past Petr Cech to grab his first ever Premier League goal.
That goal lifted City and in what was an amazing turn around, it was all Manchester City in the second half as Arsenal failed to launch any offense of note.
The Gunners weren’t helped by an injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had to be replaced shortly after he came on for Alex Iwobi.
Instead it was Manchester City who went ahead and took the lead through to Raheem Sterling, brilliantly found down the right wing by a long cross field pass from Kevin de Bruyne.
Initially having been forced wide, the England international did well to cut back inside and fire the ball goalwards with his weaker left foot, beating Petr Cech for pace at his near post. The Czech international though had a right to feel aggrieved with David Silva running across the keeper’s line of sight at the time of Sterling’s shot and actually attempting to get something on the ball. Unfortunately for Arsenal though the Spaniard wasn’t flagged offside and deemed interfering with play, putting Manchester City 2-1 ahead.
While the goals might remain contentious there is little doubt that Arsenal were very poor, especially in the second half, and have only themselves to blame for not turning up against a side that were there for the taking.
That’s how the game finished as Arsenal slipped to their customary fourth place heading into Christmas, and will need three points desperately when 7th placed West Brom come calling on Boxing Day. Manchester City meanwhile move up into second place, ahead of Liverpool, who square off against Everton in the season’s first Merseyside derby tomorrow. City will look to consolidate their position in the Premier League standings when they visit relegation threatened Hull City on Boxing Day.
Manchester City: Bravo, Kolarov, Zabaleta (Sagna 46′), Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Sterling, De Bruyne (Iheanacho 84′), Sane (Navas 76′), Silva, Toure
Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Nolito, Navas, Stones, Iheanacho, Garcia
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Giroud 75′), Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 65′ (Elneny 78′)), Alexis
Subs: Ospina, Holding, Gibbs, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas, Giroud
Final Score: Man City 2-1 Arsenal (Walcott 4′, Sane 47′, Sterling 71′)