The curse is finally over!
Despite victories in the Community Shield and the FA Cup, it had been eight years since Arsenal had last been victorious against Manchester City in the league, a year before Pep Guardiola joined the club.
Mikel Arteta finally overcame his old boss and moved above City in the Premier League table, joining Tottenham at the summit.
A wickedly deflected Gabriel Martinelli shot in the closing stages was the difference between the two sides in an underwhelming game. The fixture started well, with Declan Rice clearing the ball off the line in the opening five minutes but it never really got going after that.
Mateo Kovačić should certainly have been sent off for a terrible challenge on Martin Odegaard, or for a late tackle on Rice a few minutes later but referee Michael Oliver dismissed the Arsenal appeals.
Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez were barely visible for the Cityzens, similar to Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard for the Gunners with neither team really able to stamp their authority on the game.
4 standout Arsenal players in 1-0 win over Man City
That being said, a few Arsenal players did stand out. Captain Odegaard had a very poor game and David Raya was somewhat shaky in goal, almost conceding from an Alvarez charge down. Arsenal did very well to limit City to unthreatening possession.
A shout-out goes to Gabriel Jesus, who constantly worked and threatened but he just lacked the quality in the final third to properly stand out.
Without further ado, let’s get into the 4 standout players.
1. Gabriel Martinelli
The game-winner had to be included. Martinelli wasn’t deemed fit enough to start the game but he was substituted on at half time and instantly made a difference.
His dynamism and speed caused problems for the City side as soon as he was subbed on and just having him on the pitch gives Arsenal a threat they can’t pose otherwise.
His goal was lucky in how it went in, but the build-up was fantastic. A long pass from Rice found Takehiro Tomiyasu in the box who nodded it down to Kai Havertz. The German seemed to take too long but he laid it off nicely for Martinelli who then opened his foot, looking for the opposite corner. The ball hit Aké square in the face, taking it beyond Ederson and sending the Emirates crowd into a frenzy.
Martinelli’s return is a massive relief for any Arsenal fan as he offers so much with his pace and directness. He was essential in the victory and it won’t be a game he’ll forget in a long, long time.
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