“Smash and Grab” is not a term one normally associates with Manchester City given the emphatic performances they offer.
Nonetheless, the term acts as an apt description of the nature of their victory over Arsenal.
Entering the game City were without a doubt the favorites, the narrative saw a seismic change after full time as they were fortunate enough to walk away with all 3 points.
The first half of the game is certainly one that the Gunners can be proud of, the London team outperforming the English champions.
Giving the opposition a taste of their own medicine, Arsenal relentlessly insisted, suffocating the Cityzens.
The Sky Blues are known for their poise under pressure and for the eloquent passing maneuvers with which they dismantle opposition presses.
However, unlike the above, City seemed to lack answers and often collapsed in front of Arsenal press.
CAN-linked Thomas Partey delivered a MOTM performance, dominating a midfielder made up of Rodri and De Bruyne.
Alongside him, forwards Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were among Arsenal’s stars.
The pair lit up the wings and put their pace to good use, passing Cancelo and Nathan Ake on several occasions.
1) Bukayo Saka puts Arsenal in front of the foot
And it was the young England international who opened the scoring for Arsenal, arriving in the right place at the right time and passing the ball past a plunging Ederson.
The second half started off the same and the Gunners showed no sign of braking.
Unfortunately, in the space of just 2 minutes, the game rocked.
2) Gabriel’s first yellow as Mahrez equalizes the score
A penalty call for a towing tow on Bernardo Silva by Granit Xhaka was given after a VAR check causing a series of dramatic events.
Ahead of the shot on goal, Arsenal center-back Gabriel Magalhaes received a warning for obstructing the penalty spot, an unruffled Riyad Mahrez then converted the penalty to draw City back to a level playing field.
3) Gabriel Martinelli misses the open goal
The drama didn’t end there as a terrible pass to Ederson by Aymeric Laporte was heroically cleared from the line by Nathan Ake, the ball then fell gently for Gabriel Martinelli who had an open net to aim for.
The Brazilian forward missed his shot and hit the outside of the post, causing audible moans in the Emirates.
4) Arsenal reduced to 10 men after the expulsion of Gabriel Magalhaes
No more than 30 seconds later, the Gunners’ agony increased further, as Gabriel Magalhaes faced a second yellow for obstruction and was therefore sent off.
And just like that, a potential win for Arsenal was now an uphill battle for survival with 10 men.
Despite the disadvantage, the Gunners defended valiantly, keeping City at bay with good effect.
5) Rodri gives a punch
It wasn’t until the 93rd minute that Arsenal’s resistance was shattered.
A very lucky goal from Rodri concluded an evening of classic Premier League football and a very lucky escape for the defending champions.