Manchester City extended their winning run to 18 games with victory against former assistant Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side.
City are in confident form, and are ten points ahead of Leicester and Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table. Both rivals play today as well as City, who won their game in hand this week to take full control of the title race. With Liverpool losing again yesterday, a win for City at the Emirates will move them 19 points ahead of the defending champions.
Pep Guardiola was able to recall Kevin De Bruyne, who returned off the bench at Everton this week following seven games out, while Sergio Aguero was on the bench again after making the last two matchday squads. Ilkay Gundogan missed the Everton win, but started at the Emirates, although Nathan Ake was absent despite returning to individual training.
The game was settled inside two minutes, with Raheem Sterling’s header the only goal. City should have scored more, but were forced to defend well to seal another three points.
Follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from the Etihad.
City equal club record
Another game, another record.
Pep: The last 15 minutes was brilliant
Guardiola says he was delighted with City’s game management in a game where his side ‘suffered’ a lot.
He told Sky Sports:
“It was hard like we expected it would be. We suffered a lot. It’s difficult to play against Arsenal and Mikel [Arteta], that’s why I give the players incredible credit for this victory.
“Mikel knows everything. He’s so good. It’s not because he’s my friend. He’s so clever. I learn a lot watching his teams. Today I learned something that I can use in the future. He knows everything about football.
“People look at our run of wins and think it’s so easy. I didn’t expect it. I’m more than grateful for these players for what they’re doing, but winning these games 1-0 is what we need to do.
“The last 10-15 minutes was brilliant. We didn’t push the action, the action came through the passes and movements in the right tempo.
“At half-time we adjusted our pressing and won a lot of balls. In the first half we could not. The second half was better. We didn’t create chances but enough to win the game.
“Fernandinho commanded absolutely everything in the middle. We need everyone. Now having a game every three days with travel, I’m going to have to rotate the team. It’s impossible to sustain this rhythm.
“We now have four games in a row in the Premier League. We know what we want to do. We want to make a big step.”
Sterling’s verdict on another win
More from Raheem Sterling, who says this run, now at 18 wins in a row, is better than previous streaks under Pep Guardiola.
The two centre half pairings have been great, have a great understanding. Even when Aymer is there they have unity, a bond. Like me scoring goals you want to keep a run going and they are the same with clean sheets.
It’s even better now, we had difficult start to the season, we were not used to not scoring as much goals as we’re used to. Credit to the team, we started to dig results out and that’s the sign of title-winning teams, digging results out when it really matters.
Any team you go to you can lose, nobody is dominating, we have to keep our focus and go onto the next one.
Raheem Sterling, speaking to Sky Sports, has given his verdict on today’s narrow win.
We moved the ball well, Riyad was really aggressive in first five mins, we kept the pressure on, got the goal early on. They’re a good team, you see they play good football under Mikel. We kept our composure and grinded a result out.
On his goal:
I’m 5″7 and a half! I got up really well, really happy whenever I score a header, it’s an extra buzz. This was a bit better, a lot better leap, I got up well and happy to score.
Why City struggled to get a second goal:
You can tell Mikel worked here plenty of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a lot of time finding gaps and they made it difficult.
Report: City give rivals an excuse in Arsenal win
FT – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Full time! City hold on!
There’s the whistle, and City hold on for an 18th straight win to put their gap at the top of the Premier League back to ten points.
Raheem Sterling’s early goal settles it. City should have put the game out of sight on a number of occasions, but defended well to ensure a single goal settled a hard-fought game.
90′ – Arsenal 0-1 City Joe Bray
Four minutes added
That injury to Holding has added four minutes for City to hold on.
89′ – Arsenal 0-1 City Joe Bray
Jesus strikes over
Gabriel Jesus is all on his own as he is sent free in the Arsenal half, but defenders get back quickly, hold up the strike, and force a shot from range that is well over the bar.
87′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Hector Bellerin is booked for stopping Gabriel Jesus. Turns out it was Granit Xhaka booked before, so it’s only Bellerin’s first yellow.
86′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Ceballos comes on
Arsenal bring on Dani Ceballos. Mohamed Elneny off.
83′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
City gain another sub
Rob Holding is replaced as a precaution for concussion, David Luiz comes on.
As part of the new concussion substitutes trial, City can now use an extra substitute. They’ve used one change so far.
80′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Cancelo should score
Gabriel Jesus does well to advance into the box and feed Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese sells a lovely dummy but goes for a shot with the outside of his right boot and the ball curls wide. Should have got the shot on target at least.
76′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Sloppy from City
City have looked worse since De Bruyne went off, despite a more rigid formation. Arsenal are growing in confidence and will fancy their prospects of nicking something in the final 15 minutes.
73′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Mix up at the back
A high ball across the back line from Joao Cancelo is mishit and drops perilously close to Ederson’s goal. The goalkeeper gets it clear, but only as far as Mohamed Elneny, who volleys wide. A massive let-off for City.
For Arsenal, Smith-Rowe and Lacazette are on. Odegaard and Pepe off.
68′ – Arsenal 0-1 CitySimon Bajkowski
More traditional front line
Jesus has lined up in the middle, with Mahrez on the right and Sterling left, so it looks like we will see a more conventional frontline for City in the final third.
66′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Stones recovers well
A rare misplaced header from John Stones concedes a throw-in, which Arsenal take quickly. Aubameyang chases, but Stones does well to recover and usher the ball out when that could have been a dangerous attack. Ruben Dias is straight over to high-five his partner, who looked annoyed at the initial header.
A proper duo.
64′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Cancelo gets a yellow
Joao Cancelo goes for a header but gets nowhere near and catches Keiran Tierney. Not intentional, but still a booking.
63′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
De Bruyne replaced
He’s been everywhere, but only lasts an hour on his first start back from injury. Jesus comes on, presumably to lead the line with Bernardo dropping back into midfield.
61′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Jesus coming on
Gabriel Jesus is getting ready to come on. Sergio Aguero is warming up.
60′ – Arsenal 0-1 CitySimon Bajkowski
Stones and Dias standing firm
Arsenal are probing but are getting absolutely nothing from Stones and Dias, allowing City to control the game because Arsenal simply cannot get in at the City defenders.
57′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
De Bruyne strikes over
A cross into the box is headed to the edge of the area, where Kevin De Bruyne goes for the spectacular first time volley. It’s hit sweetly, but doesn’t have enough dip and flies over.
56′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Ilkay Gundogan picks his spot, but Bernd Leno is equal to the effort, pushing it away from the bottom corner. Good effort, good save.
54′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Watch De Bruyne chance from earlier
Right at the start of the second half, Kevin De Bruyne went for the spectacular. It looked a nothing chance on first viewing. Replays show just how much skill the Belgian put into that.
52′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Granit Xhaka stops Raheem Sterling from jinking away from trouble and joins Bernardo in the book.
UPDATE – Granit Xhaka received the yellow card, not Bellerin as this post previously stated.
51′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Bernardo trips Saka as the Arsenal man looked to advance into the City half. Fernandinho would be proud.
45′ – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Arsenal get us back underway. No changes for either side.
HT – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray
Watch Sterling’s opener
What a leap.
HT – Arsenal 0-1 CityKEY EVENT
Half time ratings
De Bruyne 7
Picture highlights from the Emirates
HT – Arsenal 0-1 CityJoe Bray