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Arsenal vs Manchester City at Emirates Stadium

Emirates Stadium Referee : Jonathan Moss
21st February 2021 4:30 PM (GMT)
  • 0 Arsenal

  • 1 Manchester City

    • ‘2' Raheem Sterling


Commentary By David Clayton


OK folks, that's a wrap for today. Another victory and we now focus on the Champions League and our first leg against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday. Thanks for joining us and stick around for more from the boss, player reaction and our various highlights packages. Until then...


Pep on Ferna performance...

"What a game he played without the ball, winning duels. He has been injured and Rodri was superb - but what a game he played today. 

"Rodri needs rest, too. I will always remember him. I have been together with him since day one and has been so, so important.

"He knows his body perfectly and knows what he has to do in each moment. 

"He knows when to talk, the rhythm we have to play. He is so clever in these terms. For 35, he plays just one game a week, it's perfect for him." 


Pep reaction....

"It was a really tough game. We didn't have the players we used to have to create our game because Mikel is so clever. 

"They make man to man in their build up and it’s hard to find the right players to attack with the right fluidity. But we started really well - first 15, 20 were so brilliant. 

"But in the last 20 minutes they were better than us, we could not press how we like. They did not create much but they had crosses and were there. 

"But then in the second half we were so good. We are delighted for the three points. It’s the Emirates, Arsenal away and I know how good Mikel’s teams play. It’s a really important victory for us. "


Arteta reaction

"When we conceded the first goal it put us in a difficult situation. It was tough. With the formation and the players they use they are really comfortable. After that the team reacted really well, were on top of the game and created chances but we lacked the quality in those situations to score the goal.

"We got something wrong. We didn't do it in the first 10 minutes. It's a cross and Raheem Sterling cannot head a ball there. You cannot concede that goal. It was a tactical thing that we were prepared for but we didn't read it in the game.

"We got momentum and confidence and were really good on the ball as well. We found good spaces but when we were in the final third we didn't pick the right pass to score a goal. 

"We tried to use some weaknesses that we thought we could exploit. They don't have many! How they compete when they have in the last few minutes, they are a top side.

"Today they played a little bit differently but within that organisation they can do lots of really good things. They manage the situation really well."


Kieran Tierney recation

"We didn't start well and a against a team like City, you get punished.

"They have good players all over the pitch so it was tough for us.

"They're playing brilliantly just now."


More from Raheem...

"They’re a good team – you can see how they play under Mikel Arteta and we struggled at times, but we kept our composure and ground out a result.

"Mikel’s worked with us for plenty of years and knows our strengths and weaknesses. It wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to find weaknesses in our team in training this week.

"We had a difficult start of the season – something we’re not used to. Credit to the team, we’ve started to dig results out. You have to do that when it really matters, that’s what makes a title-winning team."


Lots to come

Loads still to come this evening. We'll have reaction from Pep and Raheem Sterling, plus highlights short and long and our City+ Full Match Replay from midnight....


"I'm 5 foot seven. and a half..."

Sterling reaction:  "We moved the ball well, Riyad was really direct early on. They’re a good team but we kept our composure and grinded our result out.

"The one I should have tucked away was when Kevin put me through, I sat the guy down and hesitated a bit.

"My goal? I’m 5 foot 7 and a half and got up really well there. I’m really happy, every time I score a headed goal it’s a bit more of a buzz. I’m happy with that. This one was a bit better of a leap and I’m happy with that."


We have been on such a fantastic run. That's 25 games without defeat - 25!! And 18 wins in succession - it's fantasy football by City who go 10 points clear at the top again with 13 matches remaining.


Ruben Dias  and David Luiz share a joke at full-time. City have conceded just four goals in 17 games so plenty to smile about for our Portuguese colossus 


Jesus breaks forward after a fine pass from Zinchenko - he does the hard part as he gets to the edge of the box before blasting over from 20 yards



Lovely move by City and as Gabriel Jesus plays it to Cancelo inside the box, he checks inside brilliantly before curling a shot just wide with the outside of his right boot 


Sloppy by City! Joao Cancelo knocks an up and under back to Ederson who does fantastically well to volley clear almost on his goal-line - Elneny fires a shot just wide from the loose ball


Both sides had midweek games and fatigue may play its part here - the Gunners played 24 hours later than City so will be interesting. Explains a few misplaced passes from each team as we enter the last 20


Wonderful covering by John Stones as Tierney takes a quick throw. Cancelo was caught on his heels but Stones ushers Aubameyang  and the ball out of play


I'd be tempted to bring Phil Foden on around the hour-mark. KDB looks a little rusty by his lofty standards though he's had a decent game. Most of our joy has come down the right flank with Mahrez and Bernardo causing problems. But most of Arsenal's threat has come down their left. Cliché maybe, but the next goal in this game is a big one...


Arsenal 0-1 City

Based on the last 20 minutes we have a tough 45 to come. Blistering start by City but as I say, we had two or three more good chances early on and have allowed the hosts to grow into the game. Still, we're ahead and that's all that matters right now


I don't get that. Ruben Dias drives forward and Aubameyang pulls him down - Dias immediately hooks a foot around and wins it back and the ref gives a free-kick...


Not quite coming off for us when we get inside the Arsenal box -  we should have been at least a couple of goals up here but wasted a few chances with heavy touches or wrong decisions


Tierney sends a stinging shot in that Ederson pats down and collects - looked as though Gundogan was fouled in the build-up but the referee let it go. Could have been costly



Sterling is put through by a delightful low cross in from De Bruyne and should score, but he delays it too long and Arsenal manage to survive




Riyad Mahrez crosses into the box and Sterling gets up high to nod in the top left corner. Fantastic by City


More #WNRH opinion... focus on Sergio

Dickov on Aguero: "We’re all desperate to see him back on the pitch but Pep’s wrapped him up in cotton wool at the moment. He’s probably looking at the bigger picture towards the end of the season."

Goat on Aguero: "Sergio has a different DNA to all of us. When he gets in the team and the games consistently, he’s just on another level. The rotation is so important. When Sergio does come back into things, it will be at the right time. Aguero for me is a player that I feel we have to see in the team because he’s a natural goal-scorer."


Mikel Arteta pre-match:


“I don’t think we have a choice (to make five changes) – some players have been struggling and trying to recover from the game we had on Thursday.

On Ancelotti saying it is almost impossible to play City: 

“That’s what they’ve shown in the last 17 games but I want to be positive and try to beat them.

“To create any situation against them is very difficult.”


Pre-match Pep...

On the Gunners:

“Arsenal with Mikel have kept their identity that they’ve had for the last two decades from the time of Wenger. They have up and downs like all the teams.

“We are going to try to play good. Everybody knows the positions they need to play. If there is one person who knows us better than anyone else - it is Mikel! He knows absolutely all of us and it is a good advantage for them.”

Five Changes:

“I have done this many, many times this year. You cannot compete with the same 11 12 players, it is impossible. As much as possible, we need pliers involved.”

On De Bruyne and Gundogan’s return:

“We have to try to make everybody play. Phil was amazing last time and now a little rest for him.”



KDB as a 'false 9'?

Great We're Not Really Here show so far... here's what the Goat makes of today's starting XI:

"It’s just fire! The bench, the starting team, everything. We’re excited to see what KDB will do today. I imagine he will play the false 9. He has played superbly there. He’s played there like it’s a position he’s played all his career."


We can equal a club record of 11 successive away victories in all competitions, set from May to November 2017. We're unbeaten in 24 games since we lost 2-0 to Spurs, just a few miles across North London from the Emirates...


So Gundo, KDB AND Ferna all return - experience, creativity and goals in there. Bernardo, Mahrez and Raheem up top - looks a solid XI. 

17 wins in a row going into this - the numbers are staggering


Lawro predicts...

Don't know about you, but I always enjoy Mark Lawrenson's predictions on BBC Sport - here's what he says for today's game: 

"Arsenal always look more dangerous to me when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is playing through the middle, and it is a big boost for them to have him back in the team and scoring.

"But Manchester City just keep churning out wins. They are playing really well anyway, and they have got Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero on the way back to full fitness, which is going to make them even better."

Prediction: 1-3


It's a different Gunners we face today than the one we did back in December. More organised and confident, they will be planning a way to stop us so this looks like another really tough test on paper


West Ham have already won today - what a season the Hammers are having, while Leicester are 2-0 up at Villa. United play Newcastle this evening so important we keep our noses as far out in front as possible... 

Matchday 👌


And welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City’s Premier League game against Arsenal.

The Emirates Stadium is the venue for today’s meeting and kick-off is at 16:30 (UK) as Pep Guardiola’s side go in search of an 18th consecutive win.

Join us here from 14:30 for live updates covering the pre-match build-up,  the game itself and the post-match reaction.

Before then, you can check out everything you need to know before kick-off below.

We're Not Really Here 📺

Former City strike partners Paul Dickov and Shaun Goater are the guests on today’s live matchday show, which will be hosted by Cel Spellman.

Unashamedly City focused, We’re Not Really Here begins at 15.30 (UK) – one hour before we kick-off in North London - with Dickov and Goater sharing their thoughts ahead of the game.

The duo will reconvene at the break for some half-time insight and again after the full-time whistle for 30-minutes of post-match reaction.

We're Not Really Here is available to watch on all our digital platforms, including right here in the Matchday Centre.

To get involved, use #WNRH on Twitter to share your thoughts and opinions.

Injury news 🤕

Ilkay Gundogan is in with a chance of returning for today’s game after he was given until Saturday to prove his fitness. The midfielder missed the midweek win over Everton with a groin problem and was only involved in part of Friday’s training session. Pep Guardiola said he would undergo a fitness check the day before the game.

City have no other fresh injury concerns ahead of this one, with Guardiola confirming at his pre-match press conference that Nathan Ake has started an individual training programme as he steps up his recovery from a muscular problem.

Arsenal could give Kieran Tierney a first start in a month after he returned as a substitute in their midweek draw with Benfica, whilst midfielder Thomas Partey remains a fitness doubt.

Pep Guardiola – Arsenal will contest titles in the future

“What I have seen in the last few months, every game Arsenal play they are better than their opponents. Sometimes you don't win, you can't control [that]. But what he is doing and the games in the last months, always they are better than the opponent.

“They control games, create chances and concede few. They have an exceptional build-up. They have incredible energy and they have quality in the middle to make the process well. They will be a real contender to fight for titles in the future.”

Form guide 📈

City are the Premier League’s in form team going into this one, having won 17 games in a row as part of a 24 match unbeaten run.

We have beaten Arsenal in our last seven Premier League meetings.

The Gunners have won one of their last five games in all competitions and drew 1-1 away at Benfica in the Europa League in midweek.

Mikel Arteta – City the best in Europe

"I think they are the best team in Europe at the moment. The way they're performing, the football they're playing and their consistent results. 

"What they've done is react to difficult moments. A big team has to be able to do that. When everyone was doubting their ability to be able to compete again and be the team that they are, they reacted in a really convincing way, all united, doing what they do best and being very consistent by winning games very comfortably.

"They have weaknesses like every team but at the moment teams have struggled a lot to find any of them. First of all defensively they've been really, really strong. They are without a doubt the best team at the moment. We have a big and a very exciting challenge ahead of us on Sunday."

Other games that day

  • Aston Villa1
    Leicester City2
  • West Ham United2
    Tottenham Hotspur1
  • Manchester United3
    Newcastle United1

As it stood

P GD Pts
2 Manchester United 25 +21 49
3 Leicester City 25 +17 49
4 West Ham United 25 +10 45
5 Chelsea 25 +16 43
6 Liverpool 25 +11 40
7 Everton 24 +4 40
8 Aston Villa 23 +11 36
9 Tottenham Hotspur 24 +10 36
10 Arsenal 25 +5 34
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 25 -6 33
12 Leeds United 24 -3 32
13 Southampton 24 -9 30
14 Crystal Palace 24 -15 29
15 Burnley 25 -12 28
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 24 -5 26
17 Newcastle United 25 -17 25
18 Fulham 25 -11 22
19 West Bromwich Albion 25 -36 14
20 Sheffield United 25 -26 11
Link To Full Table