Arsenal ends winless run against Manchester City

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Although just a win and three points, the impact of Sunday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City could be profound for Arsenal. The Gunners had not beaten Manchester City in their previous 15 Premier League games since January 2015. They have suffered a staggering 12 consecutive defeats in this league, including two defeats last season when they struggled to win a fifth title in six games as Pep Guardiola’s side struggled to win the title. are at a disadvantage both in terms of strength and strength. season.

Against this backdrop, there was a cathartic element to the celebrations celebrating Gabriel Martinelli’s 86th-minute winner: eight years of pain and suffering lifted away in the moment the glass ceiling shattered.

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City were well below par – more on that later – but Arsenal were without talisman winger Bukayo Saka for the first time in 88 consecutive league games but they still found a way to beat English football’s leading side to end An ominous omen that will inevitably fade away. their confidence. Instead, they now have a positive reference point for the challenges ahead, memories of an experience that rivaled any Arsenal inside the Emirates Stadium, a sight that was a joy to watch when the final whistle blew.

“I don’t know if it’s a hurdle but obviously it’s something we need to go through,” Arteta said. “To beat them we have to lose them and we probably have to lose the way we lost at the Etihad. We lost in two different ways last season and here we are the better ball. The team. The team showed real maturity today and experience comes with experience. Sometimes you need that to become a better team. Certainly it sends a message to the team to continue to believe in what they are doing, Because they’re a great group of players. The way they try and the chemistry they have, you need it to be there. So I’m really proud.”

For a long time, Sunday’s game was a cautious, tactical game. For a while in the second half, the game seemed uneventful.

It was almost laughable considering the quality of the opposition, and it was the first time Arsenal had kept a clean sheet at home in the league this season. Arteta explained that there are holes in his team’s record as they struggle to deal with emotions on certain occasions and try to attack too quickly, leaving themselves exposed. They were more balanced here, limiting City to four shots and only one on target, Josko Gvardiol’s deflected shot from Declan Rice in the fourth minute. ) cleared the ball and Nathan Aké shot over.

It was City’s most threatening performance all afternoon, demonstrating how William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes kept Erling Haaland quiet while Rice made 13 defensive interventions – – This number is exceeded only by Gvaldiol of both sides. Haaland’s final expected goals score was 0.00.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya was repeatedly criticized by the home fans while waiting for the ball, and Arteta took responsibility for it.

“It’s my fault, it’s all my fault,” he said. “They can boo me. I asked him to do that. Especially against this team, you start doing other things and then you’re in big, big trouble. He’s outstanding, the way he dominates the penalty area, he The way it comes is to prepare for a cross at a set piece. He has big balls. The crowd was like this and other players started kicking the ball everywhere. I said to him, make sure you don’t do this. “

But the defeat also raised questions about City’s ability to cope with back-to-back league defeats for the first time since December 2018 without Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri. De Bruyne played an important role in both City’s wins over Arsenal last season. No other midfielder in the league can match his ingenuity on the ball.

But given the combative nature of this game – especially away from home – Rodri’s absence is just as significant. They have lost five of their last eight league away games without Rodri starting. Since his league debut in August 2019, their overall winning percentage is 74%. That rate drops below 60% without him and they have now lost to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup, Wolves last weekend and Arsenal with him suspended for three games.

Guardiola said: “Rodri is a very important player like the others because he has played a lot of games in the past few years. “The Carabao Cup game is a little different, but today’s game against Wolves is also important. . We know that. It doesn’t matter, but we need to find a way to do that when he’s not around.”

Think of Kalvin Phillips, who was told he was overweight after returning from the World Cup last season, and then hearing Guardiola admit that Manchester City were late to sign Rice before he joined Arsenal from the West. He couldn’t perform at his best. With Rodri missing the biggest game of the season so far, Hamm is now unavailable – even as a substitute.

Guardiola’s decision to flood the midfield with Bernardo Silva, Mateo Kovacic and Rico Lewis could stifle Arsenal but also sacrifice a lot of City’s creativity.

“The fact that we don’t have Rodri, I want more ball protection. Players who are really good at keeping the ball – Bernardo, Kovacic and Rico – the players in the center have the ability to turn and attack,” Guardio Ra said.

It could have been a much easier afternoon for Arsenal had Kovacic been sent off, whether for his poor first tackle on Martin Odegaard (for which he was booked) Or the second tackle on Rice (for which he completely escaped censure).

But the fact they won 11-11 means more to them in the long run, although Guardiola will not panic as they overturned an eight-point deficit against Arsenal at the start of April. There are now just two points separating the Gunners from Tottenham Hotspur – who were top of the table ahead of the international break thanks to their north London rivals’ win over Manchester City.

“No team has ever won four (titles) in a row,” Guardiola said. “Failures can happen but we’re already in October. Sometimes it’s good to be behind. This isn’t the first time we’ve been behind a contender in front of us. , last season we were a lot behind. This season is long. We have to get the guys back.” Facing strong opponents like Brighton and Manchester United, try to break (the losing streak) as soon as possible. You know the situation and carry on. “

City know they can hold out until the end. But Arsenal now believe more than ever that they can do the same.

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