MANCHESTER: Manchester City made light work of thrashing a hapless 10-man Arsenal 5-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, a result that means the Gunners have lost their opening three league games of a season for the first time since 1954-55.
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta, back at the Etihad Stadium where he worked as an assistant between 2016 and 2019, watched in horror as his team fell apart early on, with Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres giving City a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes. The visitors remained masters of their own chaotic downfall as Granit Xhaka inexplicably got himself sent off for a two-footed lunge in the 35th minute, making an already difficult task that bit more challenging for Arteta’s men. City could then afford to take their foot off the gas but the goals still flowed as British recording signing Jack Grealish set up Gabriel Jesus for City`s third just before halftime. Rodri added a fourth early in the second half, before Torres scored his second late on to complete a miserable afternoon for Arteta and his side.
Another loss means Arsenal are without a point, or even a goal, from their three games so far this season, while City, temporarily at least with rivals in action later in the weekend, are back on top of the standings.
“Arteta knows how I love him,” City boss Pep Guardiola said. “In the two or three years he was here he was important to what we built. People want results right away; with the players he had today, Ben White, Thomas Partey were missing, many players they invested in were missing, without that it is difficult. 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.”
“Today we scored some goals that we didn’t deserve. We didn’t play that good to score a goal.”
City boss Pep Guardiola was adamant on Friday that the club did not need Cristiano Ronaldo as reports circulated that the champions were about to bring in the Portugal forward, before he eventually sealed a return to City’s rivals Manchester United.
Right from the off in the Etihad sunshine, the Spaniard`s confidence in his current forward options was understandable as the hosts blew Arsenal away, even if the visitors gave them more than a helping hand.
Jesus was allowed far too much time get a seventh-minute cross into the middle, Calum Chambers then got his angles all wrong as he let the ball float over his head and Gundogan stole in to head home. Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal as a Bernardo Silva cross was then allowed to drift past several defenders before Torres, who could not believe his luck, stroked the ball home.
Arteta cut a frustrated figure on the touchline. Already under pressure after Arsenal finished eighth for the second successive season last term, the Spaniard watched them concede two goals inside 12 minutes for the first time since 2017.
Xhaka’s recklessness must have made Arteta consider making an early exit himself. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, no player has been sent off more often in the Premier League than the Swiss midfielder.
Grealish then had an impact as he easily squared for Jesus to make it three, before Rodri drilled a well-placed strike into the net from distance to put City on course for a big score. Substitute Raheem Sterling should have made it five late on, before Torres arrived right on cue to put the icing on the cake as City made it back-to-back 5-0 wins at home.