- Tom Cayless
Arsenal annihilated - Manchester City 5-0 Arsenal Review
After what was a frustrating week off the pitch for Manchester City fans, Pep Guardiola's side gave the fans something to smile about. For the third home game in a row, Manchester City won by a scoreline of 5-0 in what was, as cliche as it sounds, a five-star performance.
Guardiola, surprisingly, named an unchanged 11 for the first time, in the Premier League, since October 2017. But who could blame him after last week's display against Norwich?
City definitely will have gone into the game with full confidence. Arsenal started the day second from bottom and have an awful record against City in the league losing the last 8 Premier League games by an aggerate score of 19-2.
Arsenal kicked off the game, in their classic red and white kit, kicking left to right and actually started the better of the two sides. City were poor in possession with a few miss-placed passes and sloppy touches from the likes of Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker. Then out of nowhere, The Blues were one goal ahead. An excellent piece of progression play by Bernardo Silva carried City up the pitch, he picked the ball up and drove towards the Arsenal backline and picked out Gabriel Jesus on the wide right. He held the ball up and played a one-two with Silva, then beautifully floated the ball to the back post, where Ilkay Gundogan was free to head into an open net.
The 30-year-old German, started great and picked up positions he picked up often last season, he was rewarded with a similar chance but a good save from Leno denied that.
The Blues' next goal came just five minutes after the first. This was more down to shambolic defending from Arsenal than good play from City but a goal is a goal and City were 2-0 up 11 minutes in. A free-kick in the middle of The Gunners' half was played short, perhaps to the City fans' disappointment but made its way to Silva, whose poor cross wasn't dealt with by the Arsenal defence and presented Ferran Torres with a golden opportunity which he took with great confidence.
Arsenal's biggest opportunity came next, it wasn't created by them but a very poor and uncommon error by City keeper, Ederson. He let Emile Smith-Rowe pressure the ball, which was at his feet. The Brazilian played the ball across the box, Smith-Rowe intercepted it and it went wide by only an inch or so. A big let-off for City.
After an unusual event came a typical one. Granit Xhaka losing his head and getting a red card - his fourth for Arsenal. Two feet up, off the ground and out of control. Straight red and one of the quickest VAR decisions you'll see all season. Arsenal down to 10 men.
It's sometimes said playing against 10 men is tougher than 11 but City's dismissed the myth in their typical style. Ederson played the ball into Torres who turned and had eyes for only one thing, the Arsenal goal. He played in Jack Grealish who toyed with Holding down the left and put the ball across to Jesus who finished into an open net. The half-time whistle went and City and were in total control.
Kyle Walker came off at half-time, although it's thought not to be with an injury, for Zinchenko which pushed Cancelo over to his more natural side.
The second-half started and despite being 3-0 up, Guardiola didn't seem too pleased and was constantly spotted aggressively directing orders. Not surprising for someone with such high standards.
Rodri added a fourth in just 8 minutes after the half. Definitely the best out of the lot. The way City recycled the ball was just sublime. Tiki Taka at its finest. The finish from Rodri just topped it off. The ball fell to him around 20/25 yards out, using the Arsenal defence to blind Leno, he curled the ball around from outside the post into the bottom corner. Goal of the season so far, even if it is only three games in.
The domination continued throughout the rest of the half. Arsenal fans were even seen walking out 30 minutes early as their team participated in what was basically a training session. Attackers vs defenders, Arsenal didn't even take the ball into their attacking half until the 74th minute. The home side's dominance was further highlighted when BT Sport displayed a graphic showing City had 97% possession within the 60th and 65th minute. That's staggering.
More chances came, with substitute Raheem Sterling missing a 1-on-1 after being played in from an excellent Mahrez through ball. He also had a great chance from again Mahrez, but this time a cross but his header was excellently saved. Sterling should have definitely had a goal, but was great when he came on.
Just before the end, Torres got his second and City's fifth. Deserving of an assist, Mahrez once again cut inside and crossed the ball towards the six-yard box. Grealish and Torres both pealed off their markers and Torres headed home from close range.
Shortly after, the final whistle went on what was City's greatest and most controlling performance in a while.
Player ratings: Ederson (6) Walker (6.5) Dias (7) Laporte (7) Cancelo (8) Rodri (8.5) Gundogan (8) Bernardo Silva (8) Grealish (7.5) Torres (8.5) Jesus (8)
Substitues: Zinchenko (7) Sterling (7.5) Mahrez (8)
Man of the Match: Ferran Torres
Much has been said this week about City's need for a 'typical number 9' but those conversations were silenced, for today at least. That's the second time in a row that starting 11 has scored five goals. Yes, it's against poor opposition but Chelsea were praised for their 2-0 victory against Arsenal last week so why shouldn't City today.
The season will be different, without a striker, but City once again proved they can score goals no matter what. Now comes the international break, barring no new injuries, City should go into Leicester confident.
Written by: @Tom72ii
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