Raheem Sterling was on target as Manchester City got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Etihad Stadium.
The England forward netted his fourth club goal of the new campaign when he drilled home on 23 minutes after Bernd Leno had initially denied Phil Foden.
City were buoyed by the return to action of Sergio Aguero after a four-month absence through injury, and he helped add to the hosts’ cutting edge during his 65 minutes on the pitch.
As expected, Arsenal played on the counter attack for the most part, but were unlucky not to snatch a leveller before the break as Ederson produced a superb stop to deny Bukayo Saka.
The Gunners brought on £45m new signing Thomas Partey late in the second half, but couldn’t find a way through as they suffered a seventh league loss in a row against the Citizens.
The result sees City climb up to 10th place, six points adrift of leaders Everton, having played a game less. Arsenal stay fifth.
Both teams will now turn their attention to Europe with City hosting Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday and Arsenal away to Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday.
Raheem Sterling of Manchester City scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Manchester, England
Image credit: Getty Images
City back on track, but Arsenal away run goes on despite obvious improvement. For too long a trip to the Premier League’s leading lights led to feelings of unease for the Gunners with many a heavy defeat in recent years. They may have lost at both Liverpool and now City this season, but there are definitely signs that they are made of much sterner stuff and ready to compete with a clear organisation and game-plan.
The ongoing wait to end the winless run away to the so-called big six may well have stretched to 29 Premier League games, but on this evidence it is only a matter of time until that stat is put to bed. They have now faced arguably their two toughest away encounters and despite a pair of defeats, can take many positives from them.
City will be delighted to have dug out a narrow win without having to score plenty of goals to make sure of the points. Pep Guardiola’s side leaked five in their last league game at home, but Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake looked assured at the back, with Ederson once again showing why he is regarded as one of the best stoppers in the business. They will feel they are back on track and, boosted by a clean sheet, will set their sights on a much-needed winning run.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City). The forward marked a lively overall display with a clinical finish. He was named captain for the day and ensured it ended with an important victory.
Man City: Ederson 8, Walker 7, Dias 8, Ake 8, Cancelo 7, Rodri 7, Foden 6, Silva 6, Mahrez 7, Aguero 7, Sterling 8. Subs: Gundogan 6, Fernandinho n/a.
Arsenal: Leno 7, Luiz 7, Gabriel Magalhaes 7, Tierney 7, Bellerin 7, Ceballos 6, Xhaka 7, Saka 7, Willian 7, Aubameyang 6, Pepe 6. Subs: Lacazette 6, Partey n/a, Nketiah n/a.
23’ – GOAL! Man City 1-0 Arsenal. Sterling rattles the rebound into the bottom corner after Leno had parried Foden's low shot. It all developed after Mahrez and Aguero carved the visiting rearguard open.
35’ – MAN CITY CHANCE. Arsenal give the ball away cheaply deep in their own half. Sterling and Aguero combine to feed Foden, but the youngsters sees his side-foot effort well saved by Leno.
42’ – ARSENAL CHANCES. Tierney and Saka wreak havoc on the left. Saka plays a one-two with Aubameyang to get in-behind the City defence, but Ederson rushes off his line and makes a brilliant save to deny the Arsenal youngster. The visitors then get in again just seconds later. Pepe diverts a pass through for Aubameyang, but once more Ederson is out well to thwart his thumping shot.
45’ – ARSENAL PENALTY SHOUT? Walker tries to defend a corner with a high boot. Gabriel takes it down and sees his shot blocked. No interest from VAR it seems... Could Arsenal have had a penalty? The VAR debate will roll on!
- Sterling has been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League appearances against Arsenal (4 goals, 2 assists).
- Sterling has scored an unrivalled 35 goals among Premier League players in all competitions since the start of last season.
- Arsenal have lost each of their last seven league games against Manchester City, their longest such run against an opponent since losing seven in a row vs Ipswich between 1974-1977.