Manchester City put on a stunning display to thrash Arsenal 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, dropping the Gunners to the bottom of the Premier League table with their third consecutive loss.
Ilkay Gundogan scored within the first ten minutes of the match thanks to a cross from teammate Gabriel Jesus, putting an unchallenged header past Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno to put his side in the lead.
Arsenal continued to fall short throughout the match, with defender Cédric Soares failing to clear the ball and giving opponent Ferrán Torres the chance to score in the 12th minute — the earliest the Gunners have conceded two goals in a Premier League match since December 2017.
And things only went from bad to worse for Arsenal, as Granit Xhaka was shown a red card following a clumsy challenge on João Cancelo.
England star Jack Grealish, who signed with City from Aston Villa earlier this month, also capitalized on Arsenal’s shortcomings, dribbling past Calum Chambers to set up Gabriel Jesus for City’s third.
Torres and fellow Spanish midfielder Rodri wrapped up their side’s victory with two second-half goals to clinch City’s second consecutive 5-0 win.
A disappointing start to the season
Arsenal have recently struggled with a historic impasse — notably losing to newly-promoted club Brentford 2-0 in the season opener — but the Gunners have yet to score in three league matches, continuing a very poor run of form for the North London side.
“I have to say thank you to the 3,000 fans that came here today because on a difficult day like this to give the support that they have,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Arsenal Media after the match.
“Coming here and starting and competing well and then going down to 10 men is mentally really demanding, so we have to manage the game as best as we could,” he said.
“We conceded another two goals [after the break] and I’m really disappointed,” he added.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also weighed in, telling BT Sport, “it’s not going to be easy” for Arteta to motivate the squad after Saturday’s match.
“It’s going to be difficult, but as I said we are a team and we have to stick together in this moment. And as the senior players, we have to show the way as well to the young players. I know it’s not going to be easy, but we will try to give our best,” he said.
Speaking about his team’s performance, Aubameyang added, “Today, it wasn’t enough, and against a team against City, 11 against 11, you have to take risks and you have to be brave on the ball, and we didn’t today.”
“And after that, we took the red card, it was a completely different game, but as I said this is not enough and everyone has to raise the level, watch ourselves in the mirror and work hard as a team and stick together. This is the only way to go forward.”
‘I know the job he can do’
However, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told BBC Sport he’s convinced Arteta “will do an excellent job.”
Arteta had become an integral member of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City, winning seven trophies in his three years as assistant manager at the club before leaving to take over at Arsenal in 2019.
“He knows how I love him. In the two or three years he was here, he was important to what we built,” Guardiola said.
“I know his awareness as a manager and as a leader, the moment everyone is back, he will do an excellent job. I know this because I know him, I know the job he can do,” he added.
Despite his club’s impressive performance, Guardiola said City needs “to do better.”
“The first time we arrived in the Arsenal half, we scored. We had problems in the first 15-20 minutes in our build up play. After 2-0 and sending off, the game is completely different,” he said.
“We are still in the process of improving — like I said to the players after the game. It was nice winning today but we have to be better.”
City’s win comes as they enter the 2021/22 Premier League season without a reinforcement up front, after two failed transfer pursuits in Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo — who is set to return to Manchester United after 12 years away from the club.
Guardiola told reporters in a pre-match interview he wasn’t “frustrated” by his club’s failed transfers, saying they “have an exceptional squad.”
“It’s good that a player like Cristiano Ronaldo is back in England for the Premier League, it’s good news.”
Arsenal will look to pick itself up next Saturday when it faces fellow table bottom-dweller Norwich City.
Meanwhile, title defender City is next scheduled to play Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
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