Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City came from behind to secure three vital points at the Etihad over title rivals Arsenal. Goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling helped City overcome an early strike from Theo Walcott which saw the game change in the second half. Manchester City climbed above Arsenal to 2nd in the table after their victory over the Gunners. City, who were without Ilkay Gundogan, who will sit out the remainder of the season due to injury were also missing Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero through suspensions.
Arsenal were unbeaten in their last six games against Manchester City and were on course for another positive result when Theo Walcott opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock. Alexis Sanchez was given too much time and space and the Chilean was able to pick out Walcott with a neat pass to Walcott, who latched on to the ball and slotted past Claudio Bravo from 12 yards.
Sterling missed a sitter which would have equalized the game just a minute later after he headed De Bruyne’s cross wide. Cities began to monopolize possession but were lacking a cutting edge and inspiration in the final third with Sterling was given the role of a false number 9. The game was 1-0 in favor to the Gunners who may have had chances to finish off the game before half time though Alex Iwobi was flagged offside when his shot was fired into Bravo’s net.
The second half however began with the hosts looking determined to get a result and hamper Arsenal and they were helped due to some slack defending by Arsene Wenger’s men. David Silva lofted a clever ball over the Arsenal defense for Leroy Sane to finish beyond Petr Cech in the bottom left corner. It was the German’s first goal for the club and the scores were leveled just two minutes after the restart.
Sane almost had a second in quick succession after De Bruyne played a through ball only for Cech to rush out of his goal and thwart Sane with a good save. City were beginning to look confident and imposing on the game, De Bruyne’s deflected shot called the 34 year old into action again as he was at full stretch to keep his side level.
Though the resistance was broken again in the 71st minute when the Belgian playmaker raked a brilliant cross-field ball to Sterling on the right wing. Nacho Monreal allowed the 22 year old to stride into the penalty area and Sterling fired a low shot with his left foot past Cech at his near post to give the Manc’s the lead.
De Bruyne had his close range effort guided onto the post as City looked for a third to kill the game and Arsenal brought on Olivier Giroud in hope to influence the game but the scoreline remained 2-1 which put Manchester City into 2nd place while Arsenal moved a place down to fourth.
With the way that things are going at the moment and the two losses that the Gunners suffered in recent weeks, things are not heading in the right direction at the moment.
It will be up to manager Arsene Wenger to make things right, though once again with the that way things are, it will be a tough task up the hill. Six crucial points dropped at a stage where every point is “gold” will hurt the north London outfit and it will be interesting to see how they respond now before the year ends.