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Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

All the action and reaction from the title clash at the Etihad


Manchester City handed Arsenal a timely reminder of just who was in charge of the Premier League title race with a comfortable 4-1 win over the Gunners at the Etihad to leave them with one hand on the trophy.

The home side flew out of the blocks, and saw a strong appeal for a penalty turned down just four minutes in when Thomas Partey and Kevin de Bruyne collided six yards out.

However, they were quick to make their pressure count, with Erling Haaland providing a deft touch for De Bruyne to sweep home a crisp finish from just outside the Arsenal penalty area, handing the Champions a precious lead.

An almost replica move nearly made it 2-0 to the hosts midway through the first half, only stopped by an excellent block by Ben White 8 yards out to keep his side in the game.

He repeated the trick moments later as the pressure from Guardiola’s side continued to build, and John Stones doubled Manchester City’s lead after VAR overruled the initial offside decision that had ruled it out.

Arsenal held on for the first ten minutes of the second half thanks to another excellent save from Ramsdale, but De Bruyne grabbed another just before the hour when he found the bottom corner of the Gunners net to put the home side out of sight.

As the game petered out, Rob Holding found a consolation goal but in truth it was for a well-beaten Arsenal, which leaves them top of the Premier League only by virtue of playing more games than their rivals.

And there was still time for Erling Haaland to add a fourth goal, which proved to be a new record in the Premier League era, to put the final nail in the Gunners coffin.

Here’s how we rated the two sets of players.

Player ratings

Manchester City

  • GK: Ederson (6) - Had very little to do but did it all without a fuss.
  • RB: Kyle Walker (7) - Came into the side to deal with the threat of Gabriel Martinelli
  • CB: Ruben Dias (7) - Perhaps a tad fortunate that he only saw yellow at the end of the first half, but was otherwise faultless.
  • LB: Manuel Akanji (8) - Kept Bukayo Saka virtually anonymous for much of the game, despite being in an unfamiliar position. Has to go down as one of the signings of the season.
  • CDM: John Stones (8) - Popped up with an excellent header to double his side’s lead and effectively put the game out of sight at the end of the first half.
  • CDM: Rodri (7)- Didn’t put a foot wrong in midfield for Guardiola’s side, not that he was really tested.
  • CM: Ilkay Gundogan (7) - Got through plenty of work in midfield and was excellent in their mauling of the league leaders. Got a standing ovation when he came off with 20 minutes to go.
  • CM: Kevin de Bruyne (9) - Opened the scoring with a gorgeous finish before he added a third in an imperious performance.
  • RW: Bernardo Silva (7) - Trusted so often on the right wing by Guardiola in big games, he continued to repay his manager’s faith with a good pressing performance.
  • ST: Erling Haaland (8) - Toyed with Rob Holding for much of the first half, creating space for his teammates to run into.
  • LW: Jack Grealish (7) - Carried the ball well and offered a big threat on the left even though he was overshadowed by his fellow City attacker.

Substitutes

  • Riyad Mahrez (5) - Tidy without offering much when he came on.
  • Julian Alvarez (5) - Came on with the game at a walking pace and suffered as a result.
  • Phil Foden (N/A) - On for the final five minutes.

Arsenal

  • GK: Aaron Ramsdale (6) - Will feel that he could have done better for the first goal but made some strong saves in the first half.
  • RB: Ben White (6) - Arsenal’s best player in the first half, making two vital blocks to keep his side in with a chance.
  • CB: Rob Holding (3) - Not good enough to play at the level required on the night and was ruthlessly exposed. Scored a sweetly stuck goal to pull back a consolation though.
  • CB: Gabriel (5) - Made one good block but, like Holding, was given the run around for the most part by Manchester City’s attack.
  • LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko (4) - Looked all at sea even moving into central midfield in the first half, and couldn’t find any way through the Manchester City press.
  • CDM: Thomas Partey (4) - Arguably his worst game in an Arsenal shirt, the midfielder was all at sea for much of the first half, and partly at fault for the Manchester City third as well as being lucky not to concede a penalty minutes in.
  • CM: Granit Xhaka (4) - Was largely anonymous and threatened to lose his temper on a couple of occasions, forcing Mikel Arteta to take him off after an hour.
  • CM: Martin Odegaard (4) - Gave the ball away for the Manchester City third and could never really get into the game in the way that he would have wanted.
  • RW: Bukayo Saka (5) - Arsenal’s biggest attacking threat but that doesn’t say much.
  • ST: Gabriel Jesus (4) - Couldn’t hold the ball up and was regularly crowded out by a Manchester City swarm.
  • LW: Gabriel Martinelli (4) - Hardly had a touch of the ball before he was taken off on the hour mark.

Substitutes

  • Leandro Trossard (5) - Made very little impact in the half hour he was on the pitch.
  • Jorginho (6) - Calm and collected when he came on, but the game was already well gone.
  • Emile Smith Rowe (5) - Replaced Odegaard but couldn’t really get into the game.
  • Reiss Nelson (N/A) - On for the final 10 minutes.
  • Eddie Nketiah (N/A) - On for the final 10 minutes.

Expert Analysis

Fan Reaction

Read more:

‘We look like amateurs’ Arsenal fans all make same point in first half of Manchester City clash

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.


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