Free and Easy Citizens stroll past Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City provided the test for Arsenal in a mid December fixture. In the opening minute, after breezing past Nicolas Otamendi, although being checked by Fernandinho, the Arsenal youngster, Gabriel Marinelli, raced clear and it took the out stretched hand of Ederson, to turn his shot behind. But the Citizens responded instantly and opened their account with their first goal threat, as Fernandinho drifted forward to assist Gabriel Jesus on the left, whose cross was struck with venom by Kevin De Bruyne, high into the right side roof of the net, with just two minutes played. In the eighth minute through a threaded pass by Mesut Ozil, a well struck effort by Martinelli on the left side, produced a full length save to the right by Ederson, as he palmed the ball away and Nicolas Pepe, was kept out from the rebound. Although on the quarter of the hour mark, the Citizens doubled their advantage, when Phil Foden created space for De Bruyne on the halfway line, who then combined with Jesus, before laying the ball over from the left for Raheem Sterling, to roll a left footed shot, in at the far post, to the centre of the goal. The first booking went to Fernandinho for a bad foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Later on Rodrigo was the next City player to receive a yellow card for bundling over Sead Kolasinac, who required treatment after turning over his left ankle, and with Arsenal a man down and while they waited to make the replacement, the Citizens capitalised as Foden linked up play for De Bruyne, who turned away from Matteo Guendouzi, and as Calum Chambers backed off, from twenty five yards out, De Bruyne, curled a low finish into the bottom left corner, in the fortieth minute. The Gunners then made the change of Bukayo Saka for Kolasinac. Two minutes later, Foden set up De Bruyne again, whose bending strike was pushed against the inside of the right post from Leno’s over lapping hand, as he sprung into the air to make the save. Three minutes into the second half, through a cross by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the ball was guided past the left post from a header by Aubameyang. Although the Citizens pressed again in the fifty second minute, when De Bruyne went down the right flank, before Sterling found Jesus, who fired over. Soon City sacrificed Foden for Bernardo Silva, before Arsenal took off Ozil for Emile Smith Rowe, who shortly afterwards was hacked down by ILkay Gundogan, who was given a caution. In the sixty second minute from a sloppy pass by Sokratis Papastathopolous, caught in possession, Chambers lost the ball to Jesus, who went through before being blocked by Leno. Next in the book was Benjamin Mendy after giving away a free kick for an infringement on Pepe. Later on, Gundogan was taken off for Riyad Mahrez. After dragging down Jesus, a yellow card was given to Sokratis. In the seventy third minute, from an over the top ball by Lucas Torreira, the ball was dragged past the right post from Aubameyang. Four minutes later, through Rodrigo’s pass, a low right footed strike by De Bruyne was slotted straight at Leno, who made a comfortable stop. A final Arsenal substitution was made as Joe Willock took over from Torreira while City made their last change of Oleksandr Zinchenko for Mendy. In the eighty sixth minute, Sterling’s close range pass went to Mahrez at a difficult angle, who was kept out by a save from Leno at the foot of the right post. In the ninetieth minute, De Bruyne put the ball over to Sterling on the left, who turned a low strike wide of the right post, as Manchester City capped a 3-0 win at Arsenal in the Emirates stadium.