Colossal task becomes clear for Mikel Arteta as Man City crush Arsenal

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It always looked like Arsenal were up against it when they traveled to face Man City tonight, and they needed everything to go their way.

Mikel Arteta would be keen to show his former boss how good his team was, but his expression said it all at the end as he sheepishly exchanged an elbow tap with Pep Guardiola at the end.

Here’s how the two sides lined up for the game:

Man City – 4-3-3: Ederson, Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy, David Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling

Subs – 65′ Foden for Mahrez, 65′ Bernardo Silva for David Silva, 70′ Rodri for De Bruyne, 70′ Fernandinho for Laporte, 80′ Aguero for Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal – 4-2-3-1: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Mari, Tierney, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Saka, Willock, Aubameyang, Nketiah

Subs- 8′ Ceballos for Xhaka, 24′ David Luiz for Mari, 67′ Maitland-Niles for Guendouzi, 67′ Lacazette for Nketiah,

67′ Willock for Nelson

First half:

There were some fairly violent rainstorms before the match which ensured the game would be played under sodden conditions, but Man City still found some slick passing from the kick off.

The early periods saw City struggling to find a final ball through the defence while Arsenal were having some success with direct bouncing balls to Nketiah, but there was a lack of clear cut chances.

Arsenal suffered two early injuries as Xhaka and Pablo Mari being forced off, and Mari’s injury proved to be vital in the outcome of the game.

Leno was forced to make a good save as Mahrez got in behind while Sterling wasted a golden chance by going for the clipped lob – if he played it along the ground he would’ve scored or a teammate would’ve had an easy tap in.

In the end it was down to Mari’s replacement David Luiz to step up and make the difference, but not in the way that Arsenal fans would want to see.

He completed failed to deal with a wayward pass and it allowed Raheem Sterling to volley the ball across Leno and into the net to give City the lead right on the stroke of half time.

Second half:

Things didn’t improve for David Luiz and the game was effectively over as a contest shortly after the restart, as he was sent off for hauling down a Man City player in the box.

It was an obvious penalty and there were few complaints, while Kevin de Bruyne cooly sent Leno the wrong way to put City 2-0 up.

Both sides made a host of changes and it did disrupt the rhythm of the game, as the teams gave the impression that they would happily end the game there.

There was an awful moment on 80 minutes as Ederson came out to clear a loose ball, but he completely wiped out Eric Garcia who was running towards him and didn’t see him coming until it was too late.

There were eerie scenes as the ground went quiet and the players were clearly concerned, and Garcia needed treatment for several minutes before being stretchered off.

It looked like the game might peter out after that but Sergio Aguero hit the post after some fine work, and Phil Foden was there to crash the ball home to make it 3-0.

Game stats:

Courtesy of Sky Sports

Post match thoughts:

The main concern after the game has to be the well-being of Eric Garcia who collided horribly with Ederson towards the end of the game, and hopefully he manages a speedy recovery.

From an Arsenal point of view Mikel Arteta’s worst fears must have been realised – David Luiz had a nightmare and the defence looked weak, Aubameyang was anonymous and there was little to say about the youngster’s performance either.

It’s unlikely he will have a lot of money to spend and the squad needs so much work, but Kieran Tierney showed some signs of promise and Leno was outstanding, but that’s about it.

As for Man City, Pep Guardiola will be pleased with the crushing victory, but all they’ve managed to do is delay Liverpool’s inevitable title win.

It was also no surprise to see that Kevin de Bruyne won the Man of the Match award after a fantastic display in the midfield: