Manchester City’s fortunes looked to have turned a corner in midweek with a comfortable win against RB Leipzig, but with the Citizens having fallen to successive domestic defeats before that clash, Pep Guardiola would hope that his side could turn things around with a win at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
ARS: Raya; Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, White; Rice, Jorginho, Ødegaard; Trossard, Nketiah, Jesus
MCI: Ederson; Aké, Gvardiol, Dias, Walker; Kovačić, Lewis, Silva; Foden, Haaland, Álvarez
For the second time in just two months, last season’s Premier League Top Two clashed in London – and Arsenal would be hoping for a repeat of their dramatic Community Shield victory under the infamous Wembley Arch in early August.
Billed as a potential title decider despite the early stage of the season, a relatively disappointing clash lacked key chances for both sides. Declan Rice was called upon to produce a fine goal-line clearance in the opening stages though, hooking Josko Gvardiol’s effort away from danger.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester City were unable to capitalise on an unconvincing performance from David Raya, with Julian Álvarez thumping an effort against the side netting in the first half after dispossessing the Spanish shotstopper.
Had Mateo Kovačić been dismissed for his pair of late tackles on Martin Ødegaard and Declan Rice in the first half, perhaps the dynamic of the match would have changed – but the Croatian remained on the pitch.
But with four minutes of regulation time remaining, the home faithful were finally permitted to celebrate as Gabriel Martinelli struck gold on his return from a hamstring injury. With his strike taking a crucial deflection off Nathan Aké, Ederson was unable to prevent the Brazilian’s effort from nestling in the back of the net as Arsenal move level at the top of the table.Embed from Getty Images
The Gunners are almost inseparable from their North London rivals, with both teams recording twenty points from their opening eight games – and with an identical goal difference. Arsenal travel to Chelsea after the upcoming international break, while Manchester City host Brighton.