Manchester City shut out all the noise surrounding the club this past week and took a Saturday stroll in the park. The Blues beat Mikel Arteta’s depleted Arsenal FC side 5-0 in a game that was the very definition of one-sided.
Arteta brought the Gunners to the Etihad without several key players. Missing players like Ben White and Thomas Partey, to name just two, Arsenal were sure to be heavily outmatched against the champions. Once the ball was kicked off it was evident that overmatched was an understatement.
Playing on a beautiful Mancunian Saturday afternoon, the goals came early and often for City. Ilkay Gundogan (7’), Ferran Torres (12’,84’), Gabriel Jesus (43’) and Rodri (53’) each found the net on the day. City held an astounding 81% to 19% possession advantage against Arsenal. At one point in the second half City goalkeeper Ederson went 24 minutes between touches on the ball.
To say that Arsenal looked punchless in this one is putting it mildly. They saw very little of the ball and played most of the game in their own half. Making matters worse, Granit Xhaka was sent off in the 35’ minute after an overly aggressive tackle attempt on Jaõa Cancelo. Arsenal’s best chance for a goal came when Ederson misplayed a ball in front of his net that glanced just wide off of the Gunners’ Emile Smith Rowe.
Jesus continued to be a revelation on the right wing. He tallied an assist on the Gundogan opener to go along with his own score, and may have solidified himself as first choice ahead of Riyadh Mahrez. But Torres took home Man of the Match honors in this one. The young Spaniard scored his first and second of the season and looked comfortable in the center of the attack. He was able to find space in front of goal and featured the finishing touch that he has fleshed throughout his time at City.
City unveiled gleaming new statues of club legends Vincent Kompany and David Silva before the proceedings, but Arsenal played like statues in their defensive third for most of the day. They were slow to react to City’s movement and couldn’t find the answers for a blistering assault.
City head to the international break having taken 6 points from a possible 9 to start the season with a goal differential of +9. Arsenal may be wondering if their manager will still be with the club when training resumes.
Up next for City is an away trip to Leicester City on September 11.