‘Smash and Grab’ is not a term one would normally associate with Manchester City considering the emphatic performances they deliver.
Nonetheless, the term acts as a befitting description of the nature of their victory against Arsenal.
Going into the game City were undoubtedly the favourites, the narrative has seen a seismic shift after full time as they were rather fortunate to come away with all 3 points.
The first half of the game is certainly one for the Gunners to be proud of, the London outfit outworked the English Champions.
Giving the opposition a taste of their own medicine, Arsenal pressed relentlessly, suffocating the Cityzens.
The Sky Blues are known for their composure under pressure and for the eloquent passing manoeuvres with which they dismantle opposition presses.
However, in heavy contrast to the aforementioned, City seemed to lack answers and often crumbled to the Arsenal press.
AFCON bound Thomas Partey delivered a MOTM performance, dominating a midfield consisting of the likes of Rodri and De Bruyne.
Alongside him, forwards Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were amongst the standouts for Arsenal.
The pair lit up the wings and used their pace to good effect dashing past Cancelo and Nathan Ake on multiple occasions
1) Bukayo Saka puts Arsenal in the front foot
And it was the young English international who opened the scoring for Arsenal, arriving in the right place at the right time and striking the ball past a diving Ederson.
The second half got off to a similar start and the Gunners showed no signs of slamming the brakes.
Unfortunately, in the span of merely 2 minutes, the game turned on its head.
2) Gabriel’s first yellow as Mahrez levels the scoreline
A penalty shout for a tug on Bernardo Silva by Granit Xhaka was given after a VAR check instigating a series of dramatic events.
In the leadup to the spot-kick, Arsenal center-back Gabriel Magalhaes received a booking for hampering the penalty spot, an unfazed Riyad Mahrez then converted the penalty bringing City back on level terms.
3) Gabriel Martinelli misses open goal
The drama didn’t end there as a terrible pass back to Ederson by Aymeric Laporte was heroically cleared off the line by Nathan Ake, the ball then fell kindly for Gabriel Martinelli who had an open net to aim at.
The Brazilian forward miscued his shot and hit the outside of the post, leading to audible groans ringing across the Emirates.
4) Arsenal down to 10 men after Gabriel Magalhaes gets sent off
No more than 30 seconds later, the Gunners’ agony increased even further, as Gabriel Magalhaes faced a second yellow for obstruction and was consequently sent off.
And just like that, a potential statement victory for Arsenal was now an uphill battle for survival with 10 men.
Despite the disadvantage the Gunners defended valiantly, keeping City at bay with good effect.
5) Rodri delivers a striking blow
It wasn’t until the 93rd minute that the Arsenal resistance was shattered.
A highly fortunate Rodri goal concluded an evening of classic Premier League football and a very lucky escape for the defending Champions.