Manchester City kicked off the Premier League restart with a comfortable 3-0 win against Arsenal.
The Gunners, who suffered their first loss in 2020, were easily contained by the City side, who increasingly gained control as the game progressed.
Guardiola will be encouraged by his side’s lack of rustiness, as they look to finish the season on a high note. Despite the Premier League title being all but wrapped up, City will hope they can build on this result with Champions League and FA Cup glory still at stake.
It appeared Arsenal could be a worry for City on the counter-attack in the opening stages of the game, but their offensive threat quickly died down. The Manchester side were in control for the majority of the first half, with Bernd Leno saving Arsenal on multiple occasions.
An embarrassing mistake from David Luiz in first-half stoppage time allowed Raheem Sterling to fire City into the lead entering the break.
Luiz’s nightmare was only beginning, as the Brazilian was sent off after hauling down Riyad Mahrez as he was in on goal. Kevin De Bruyne converted the spot kick and City eased through the rest of the match. Phil Foden placed the icing on the cake in stoppage time, scoring off of a rebound after Sergio Aguero’s effort clattered against the post.
GK – Ederson: 7
Never really troubled. Outstanding distribution kickstarted multiple chances, including the penalty that led to the second goal. The only low point on the day is his collision with Garcia, leading to quite the scare.
LB – Benjamin Mendy: 7
Uncharacteristically quiet performance (for better or worse?) from the French left-back as most of the attack was carried on the opposite flank. Nonetheless, Mendy handled the threat of Arsenal’s wingers quite easily and never had much to worry about.
CB – Eric Garcia: 7
Entrusted ahead of Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi in the first game following the restart. The La Masia product looked he’d been in the side for years, sniffing out attacks and commanding the backline alongside Laporte. Suffered a brutal head injury in a collision with Ederson that will leave City fans holding their breaths.
CB – Aymeric Laporte: 7 (Subbed after 70’)
Calm, collected display from the Frenchman. Really encouraging for Guardiola that the former Athletic Bilbao defender looked like himself after facing months on the sidelines prior to the stoppage in play. Afforded the opportunity to be replaced midway through the second half.
RB – Kyle Walker: 8
Started a bit sluggishly but used his menacing pace to constantly attack the Arsenal backline. Was a focal point in the assault on the right side.
CM – Ilkay Gundogan: 7
Very composed. Dictated the pace of the game and seemed in complete control throughout. Provided adequate cover for the backline, although Arsenal failed to muster much of an effort.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne: 9 (Subbed after 70’)
Orchestrated chance after chance after chance. Responded well after a lazy pass gave Arsenal their only notable chance early in the game. Another brilliant display from perhaps the world’s best midfielder saw him threaten with crosses, runs into the box, through balls, and shots. Magisterial.
CM – David Silva: 7 (Subbed after 65’)
Comfortable performance from the Spaniard as the end of his Man City tenure draws nearer. Without any evidence of an Arsenal attack, Silva was able to roam freely and find pockets of space.
RW – Riyad Mahrez: 7 (Subbed after 65’)
Won the penalty that effectively secured the victory for City. Not overly involved but it always felt like the Algerian could produce a touch of magic at any moment. Subbed for Bernardo Silva midway through the half.
LW – Raheem Sterling: 8
Classic game from the English midfielder. A bit wasteful early on in the game, but capitalized on a David Luiz mistake to net City’s first goal just before the break. From then on, he continued to pop up in dangerous positions.
ST – Gabriel Jesus: 7 (Subbed after 80’)
No plethora of scoring opportunities for the Brazilian but his movement helped facilitate the offensive threat.
Phil Foden (65’): 7
Put in a committed effort and was rewarded for his persistence with his first Premier League goal of the season.
Bernardo Silva (65’): 7
Came on for Mahrez and showed few signs of rust. Almost scored near the end and gave Guardiola something to think about for the next game.
Rodri (70’): 6
Not the best start for the former Atletico Madrid midfielder, quickly receiving a card. Was forced to deputize at center back after Garcia’s injury and didn’t put a foot wrong.
Fernandinho (70’): 6
Quiet appearance for Fernandinho. No notable involvement, but easily fitted into the City puzzle when subbed on.
Sergio Aguero (80’): 8
The last sub for City continued what he’s been doing for the past decade. Aguero easily could have finished the game with 2 goals and was unlucky to see his first effort hit the post. Could come into the side for Jesus against Burnley on Monday.