Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Manchester City recover to earn crucial win over Arsenal

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling struck in the second half as Manchester City came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1.

Theo Walcott put the Gunners into a fifth-minute lead in a crunch Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium but City dominated after the break.

Sane equalised within moments of the restart - his first goal for the club - and Sterling put City ahead after 71 minutes before Kevin De Bruyne hit the post.

It was a welcome return to something like form for City, who cut the gap to leaders Chelsea back to seven points and climbed to second in the table. Arsenal were left to a rue a second successive away game in which they surrendered a lead after Tuesday's reverse at Everton.

Early on it seemed City were the side lacking steel as their defensive vulnerabilities were once again quickly exposed.

With John Stones on the bench for a second successive game, the central pairing of Aleksandar Kolarov and Nicolas Otamendi were caught cold as Alexis Sanchez split them with a well-paced throughball.

Walcott gratefully accepted the invitation and finished coolly, giving Claudio Bravo no chance.

City tried to respond quickly but another aspect of Pep Guardiola's selection was soon being questioned as Sterling spurned a good chance.

Sterling had started alone up front - the third player to do so after Kelechi Iheanacho and Nolito since Sergio Aguero received a ban - but he headed wide after being picked out superbly by De Bruyne.

Yaya Toure also headed at Petr Cech from a De Bruyne corner and the Arsenal keeper then had to react quickly after a Gabriel clearance rebounded in his direction off Hector Bellerin.

Despite these openings, City were generally sluggish. They were almost undone again when Walcott planted a free header wide and Bellerin fired another effort over.

But Sane showed his talent in flashes and some nifty footwork saw him beat Nacho Monreal reach the byline but Gabriel cleared the danger.

He then made his next opportunity count to some effect two minutes into the second half. Replays suggested the German may have been marginally offside but, racing forward in a central position, he took David Silva's lofted ball in his stride with a clever turn. He beat Cech with a first-time finish.

The goal enlivened City and within moments they and Sane could have had another as De Bruyne played the 20-year-old in but this time Cech saved.

De Bruyne also let fly with a vicious low shot from distance that took a deflection off Granit Xhaka but Cech palmed away.

City continued to crank up the pressure and they took the lead after De Bruyne found Sterling with a brilliant crossfield pass from just inside his own half. Sterling still had plenty to do but he cut inside Monreal and rifled in a powerful low shot inside Cech's near post.

The hosts looked a different side from the one that laboured through the first half and went close to another as De Bruyne hit the post at the end of another lightning attack.

Arsenal were suddenly seeming out of sorts and substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been linked with City in the morning newspapers, was taken off in the 78th minute, just 13 minutes after coming on. It was unclear if the England international was injured as he headed straight down the tunnel.

Arsenal were beaten and failed to threaten again as time escaped them.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph