Thumped: Manchester City run rampant as Arsenal’s big guns fail to fire

In terms of sheer satisfaction, Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Arsenal must be a highlight for Manager Pep Guardiola, after the home team came back from a 0-1 deficit to beat the Gunners convincingly.

It was a match where City’s expensive stars all hit form, thrilling the 57,000 fans at Etihad Stadium.

But the game did not start well for the Sky Blues, and it was Arsenal who took the early lead in just the 14th minute when Xhaka played a pass left to Ozil who found Sanchez in the middle with a pinpoint pass. Sanchez took on his defender, and then laid off a short ball to Ozil who followed his pass in support. City’s goalkeeper, Bravo, mistimed his diving challenge badly. Ozil dribbled around the keeper’s desperate dive and ran the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal of the match.

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City’s goalkeeper, Bravo, makes an error and Ozil runs around the keeper to score.

However Arsenal’s celebrations were cut short when Manchester City equalized seven minutes later. The goal began with Sterling on the right wing weaving past an attempted tackle by Bellerin for Arsenal. Sterling made a cutting run into the box and laid off a short pass to Aguero. Cech got his fingertips to the ball but could not stop the goal. It was selfless play by Sterling, who could easily have taken a shot himself.

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Aguero equalizes for Manchester City after a short pass from Sterling.

At 1-1 the match was delicately poised. Kevin De Bruyne tipped the balance emphatically in favor of the home team in the 33rd minute.

Starting with the ball at his feet, De Bruyne dribbled into the box in a Messi-like run of sizzling ball-control skills. He weaved around two Arsenal defenders, jinking towards the goal. Aguero loomed up in support at the top of the box but De Bruyne had found half-a-yard of space. He fired a booming right-foot shot that gave the Arsenal goalkeeper no chance of saving.

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Kevin De Bruyne shows dazzling skill and ball control during his run to the goal.

At half-time the score was 2-1. During the first half Arsenal had been energetic but lacked opportunities. Manchester City’s quality passing and ball control had been a feature of the first 45 minutes.

In the second half, City continued where they had left off – working the ball around the pitch in a combination of switches and short passes that appeared effortless. They almost scored their third goal in the 60th minute when Silva, De Bruyne and Aguero all combined with a mesmerizing display of short sharp passing that ended with De Bruyne overlapping the defense to seize on a short pass inside the box. The strike was on target, but Cech dived low to his left to make a commendable save.

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Perfect through-ball played for De Bruyne.

A minute later the Arsenal goalkeeping hero became the team villain. Cech threw a poor pass to his defender Koscielny but the Frenchman couldn’t control the delivery of the ball. Silva pounced for City, with Cech caught well off his line and out of position. Silva slid a pass into the box and Aguero was on the spot to accept the gifted goal.

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Top: Koscielny receives a poor delivery from goalkeeper Cech and Silva pounces for Manchester City

Bottom: Aguero in front of an open goal as Cech scrambles to recover.

The disastrous blunder seemed to crush the last of Arsenal’s resolve as City sought to overpower the visitors. Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, brought Walcott into the match late, but the change to the attack did little to inject the Gunners with the spark required to trouble Manchester City’s defence.