Manchester City vs. Arsenal: Score and Reaction from 2016 Premier League Match
Manchester City came from behind to beat Arsenal, 2-1, at the Etihad Stadium during Sunday’s Premier League action.
Theo Walcott gave the visitors an early lead, but Leroy Sane tied things up early in the second half. City dominated possession before and after the break, and Raheem Sterling completed the comeback after 72 minutes.
As City’s official Twitter account shared, manager Pep Guardiola opted for an experimental formation, with Kevin De Bruyne playing striker:
TEAM NEWS with @haysworldwide #cityvafc #mcfc pic.twitter.com/IhBLvYsPzD
Manchester City (@ManCity) December 18, 2016
Arsenal’s tactics were a little more conventional, with Alexis Sanchez once again serving a central role:
The wait is over… here’s how we line up for #MCFCvAFC pic.twitter.com/251uHnAiMS
Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 18, 2016
City started the match well in their odd formation, with De Bruyne and Sterling seeing much of the ball, but Arsenal opened the scoring with their first real attack. Sanchez played in Walcott with a clever pass, and the England international took a simple touch before beating goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Per Squawka Football, the City defence has been dreadful this season:
Man City have kept just 2 clean sheets in their last 19 games across all competitions.
Leaking at the back. pic.twitter.com/WRADjNlRsD
Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 18, 2016
Sterling should have tied it up minutes later, as De Bruyne picked out the winger with a great cross. The former Liverpool man couldn’t direct his header onto goal, however.
The hosts controlled the tempo, but for all of their passing around the box, they could barely threaten Petr Cech. Yaya Toure came closest during the early stages, firing a header wide from an offside position.
De Bruyne rifled a shot over Cech’s goal, and the Belgian was visibly frustrated at his team’s inability to unlock the Gunners defence. The pace of their passing was far too slow, and on the counter, the Citizens looked vulnerable.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
Sanchez put some pressure on Bravo after a passing move and nearly managed to block his clearance, and Hector Bellerin blocked a promising drive from Sterling. Gabriel Paulista accidentally put Cech to work by clearing a ball off Bellerin’s head, and Walcott had a good look on goal on a counter, aiming his effort over the bar.
De Bruyne went down under pressure from Gabriel inside the box, but despite the Etihad Stadium’s loud protests, the official didn’t award a penalty. Walcott flashed a header across goal, and Nacho Monreal found himself just offside during a late counter.
At half-time, Sport Witness thought City needed to find some answers:
Pep Guardiola needs to locate some personality for his team during half time. A void of, erm, well… a void of everything.
Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) December 18, 2016
Whatever Guardiola told his players worked, as the Citizens evened the score minutes into the second half. David Silva lifted a ball over the top, and Sane finished from close range, with replays suggesting he may entertainment news northwest have been offside.
Per Bleacher Report UK, Arsenal fans probably didn’t like that one bit:
Arsenal fans watching the replay of Leroy Sanes potentially offside goal. pic.twitter.com/chDNwpyRdE
Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) December 18, 2016
Arsenal tried to answer back through their full-backs, with Monreal finding Bellerin, who fired wide. City remained the dominant side, however, and Cech had to intervene to deny Sane a second goal.
Sterling let fly from outside the box, missing the target, and Silva tried to find Sane again by going over the top, with the German lacking the touch to control the ball.
A second City goal seemed to be coming, and while Cech did well to deny De Bruyne, the Belgian picked out Sterling with a great pass minutes later, allowing the latter to cut inside and blast home.
Footy Accumulators loved it:
That ball from De Bruyne… An absolute PINGU pic.twitter.com/qbwP82NFaw
Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) December 18, 2016
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud in search of an equaliser, but City were in full control at this point. Walcott lifted a poor cross over the bar, and Giroud headed wide.
The Citizens pressed high to end the match, limiting Arsenal’s opportunities of hitting back and preserving the three points.
City’s next outing will be at Hull City on Boxing Day, while Arsenal host West Bromwich Albion.