|Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after firing Arsenal to a win of huge significance over Manchester City on Sunday at the Emirates. Arsenal won 1-0. (Photo credit: Sporting News)|
The game was poised for a pulsating yet unprecedented goalless draw with five minutes left on the clock, but Mikel Arteta’s inspired changes turned the game in Arsenal’s favor to end a bitter 12-game losing streak to Manchester City.
The champions were looking to make it thirteen wins on the bounce against Arsenal to set a new record for the longest winning streak against a single opponent in the league, and despite missing key players like Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri, City still had the upper hand.
Despite the heartwarming news earlier that Bukayo Saka was in the Arsenal squad to face Manchester City, the youngster missed out on the matchday squad totally, and Leandro Trossard was named as his replacement, with Gabriel Jesus on the right.
Manchester City named Rico Lewis in midfield alongside Matteo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva, with a strong defense of Kyle Walker, Josko Gvardiol, Nathan Ake, and Ruben Dias, and all was set for another dominant display against the Gunners.
City dominated the opening exchanges as Arsenal had to be patient and disciplined, but Nathan Ake should have scored shortly after Declan Rice cleared off the line early in the game, but that was Manchester City’s best chance of the entire game.
Arsenal grew into the game but couldn’t test Ederson's goal. David Raya was lucky not to concede after he delayed on the ball and Julian Alvarez caught up with him, but the Argentine could only find the side netting.
The talking point of the first half was Kovacic, who should have been sent off. His first tackle on Rice was one that was borderline red, but Anthony Taylor only flashed a yellow, and VAR stuck with him. Less than ten minutes later, Kovacic went hard on Rice again, but Taylor gave the free kick without caution.
Arsenal controlled large spells in the second half, and it was time for the chess game between the managers. Pep Guardiola sent on John Stones, Jeremy Doku, and Mattheus Nunes to replace Lewis, Kovacic, and Alvarez, but not a lot changed.
Arteta responded with his own trio of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Kai Havertz, and Thomas Partey, and that proved to be the master stroke. Gabriel Martinelli had replaced Trossard after halftime, and he already injected pace into the Arsenal front line, and he eventually got what became the winner.
All three fresh subs combined to get the ball to the Brazilian, and Ake was unfortunate to hand him a helping hand on the way. Partey’s long ball met Tomiyasu, who dropped it down for Havertz; the former Chelsea man rolled it to Martinelli, who curled one towards goal, but Ake’s head wrongfooted Ederson.
The Emirates went into a frenzy of sheer bedlam that reverberated across the whole of London. Arsenal managed the game intelligently from there, and City couldn’t get a sniff. The win, Arsenal’s first over City since 2015, got them joint top with Tottenham going into the international break.