Manchester City pummeled a hapless Arsenal 5-0 in the Premier League encounter on Saturday.
It did not take long for the defending champions to assume complete control of the game. Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres put City 2-0 up with just 12 minutes played. Granit Xhaka’s 35th-minute red card complicated matters further for the Gunners before Gabriel Jesus added a third just before half-time.
Any slim hopes of an unlikely Arsenal comeback were extinguished when Rodri curled home a fine strike eight minutes into the second half. City barely got out of second gear in the second half, and rounded off the scoring with Torres bagging his second late on.
Arsenal’s latest loss leaves Mikel Arteta’s men languishing at the bottom of the table without a win, point or a goal. City, meanwhile, have bounced back emphatically from their opening-day defeat with consecutive 5-0 wins.
On that note, here are the five hits and flops from either team in the game at Etihad Stadium:
#5 Hit: Ferran Torres (Manchester City)
Ferran Torres led the line for City superbly, and was rewarded with two goals and an assist.
Although signed as a winger, most of FerranTorres’ Manchester City career has been spent playing the false 9 role. In fairness to the Spaniard, it is a role he has largely shone in, with his performance on Saturday being another excellent example of that.
Torres was rewarded for showing a striker’s instinct early on when he turned home a loose ball to register City’s second. His sense of positioning also played a huge part in City’s fourth goal, for which he claimed a well-deserved assist.
Torres proceeded to showcase excellent pace and energy to pull Arsenal’s defenders apart throughout the game. He even found time to complete his brace late on, deftly heading home a Riyad Mahrez cross for City’s fifth of the night.
#4 Flop: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)
Granit Xhaka was sent off for a dangerous challenge in the 35th minute.
Facing Manchester City with eleven men is one of the toughest tasks in the game. As such, Xhaka did his side no favours when he received a straight red for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Joao Cancelo, which reduced Arsenal to ten men.
The Swiss international was already getting overrun in midfield, and the sending off simply brought matters to an unfortunate early conclusion for the Gunners. At a time when Arsenal are looking for stability and leadership, Xhaka’s actions on the pitch did not set the best example of that.
To exacerbate matters, Xhaka is now set to miss Arsenal’s next three games as they attempt to bring their campaign back on track.
#3 Hit: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Gabriel Jesus bagged a goal and an assist in a sparkling performance
Given Manchester City’s well-publicised pursuit of a striker this summer, Gabriel Jesus’ apparent desire to play out wide has raised more than a few eyebrows. However, the Brazilian’s sparkling display against Arsenal would go some way to silencing his doubters.
Jesus registered an early assist with an excellent cross floated in from his position on the right of City’s fluid front three. He continued to cause the Arsenal defence problems on the flank, but occasionally drifted inside to great effect, as his well-taken goal proved.
Having earned just rewards for his tireless efforts,Jesus earned a well-deserved rest when he was replaced by Mahrez on the hour mark.
#4 Flop: Cedric Soares (Arsenal)
Cedric Soares (right) had a torrid time on the pitch against Manchester City.
With Hector Bellerin out of favour, Cedric Soares appeared to have established himself as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back at the start of the season. However, the Portuguese international’s disastrous showing against Manchester City might prompt Arteta to alter his plans.
Playing in a fairly new wing-back role, Cedric had the unenviable task of keeping tabs on Jack Grealish and Joao Cancelo. This task was one he struggled with immensely, as both players regularly left him trailing in their wake. Things did not improve much for Cedric when Raheem Sterling was introduced in the second half either.
After he was booked for fouling Grealish in the first half, Cedric failed to clear his lines in the build-up to City’s second. He was noticeably absent when Grealish ran through to set up their third and played a role to play in their fourth as well.
#5 Hit: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Ilkay Gundogan delivered a masterful midfield performance in his side’s dominant win.
Since making the switch to England, Ilkay Gundogan has established himself as an excellent passer and a scorer of key goals. He showcased both these qualities against Arsenal in an excellent display in City’s midfield on Saturday.
It was the German who got the ball rolling for Pep Guardiola’s men, ghosting in behind the Arsenal defence to power home a header. He looked utterly calm and unhurried throughout, with Rodri offering ample defensive cover and Bernardo Silva supplying the energy around him.
If fit, Gundogan is likely to once again be a key part of whatever success Manchester City could achieve this season.