More misery for Arteta as Man City and wrecking-ball Xhaka leave Arsenal in another mess
Manchester City (3) 5 Gundogan 7, Torres 12, 84 Jesus 43, Rodri 53
Arsenal (0) 0
The pressure continues to pile up on Mikel Arteta. Perhaps time is even starting to run out for the Spaniard. Even owners seemingly bereft of interest won’t put up with this for much longer.
It is all well and good hammering a below-strength West Brom in the Carabao Cup, as they did in midweek: This defeat made it three out of three at the start of the Premier League campaign.
Not since 1954 have they managed that embarrassing stat. They have also racked up those losses without finding the net themselves.
Arteta’s team were brushed aside with contemptuous ease – their defending abject and discipline even worse. Granit Xhaka was red carded after half an hour for a reckless challenge, as if the Gunners did not have enough on their plates already. It is the fourth time he has been dismissed while at the club.
Arsenal started so brightly and full of intent, and the optimism that this time, it would be different, fell apart after the first City attack of any real note.
First, Bernardo Silva fed Gabriel Jesus on the right and a hanging cross to the far post beat Calum Chambers and was headed home by City skipper Ilkay Gundogan.
Then came an even worse piece of defending as a simple low cross from Silva somehow wormed its way past four statuesque members of the Gunners rearguard, leaving Ferran Torres with the simplest of tap-ins.
Two down after 12 minutes with no hint of any sturdiness or resistance. It is now 10 Premier League meetings between the sides in a row where City have drawn first blood.
If it all seemed predictable, the sending off of Xhaka was even more of an odds-on bet. His out-of-control sliding tackle on Joao Cancelo would not have caused anyone to bat an eyelid in the Vinnie Jones era, but here it is asking for trouble.
Ref Martin Atkinson gave himself a moment but his mind had been made up about the decision before he reached the trouble-magnet that is the Swiss midfielder.
As the half drew to close, Jack Grealish was fed after a quick breakaway and the £100m man danced around Cedric Soares to the byline before his cut-back was controlled and swept in by Jesus - left unmolested as he finished off the move.
The three-tiered corner of travelling fans deserved better. They started in good voice but, not for the first time in recent seasons, were cowed into near silence.
Ederson almost gifted Arsenal a way back at 2-0 when they still had 11 on the field. His complacent pass across his own goal-line was nearly poked into the net by Emile Smith Rowe, but the midfielder’s touch was not quite strong enough.
More punishment was always likely after the interval. Silva drew a save, but Rodri netted from 25 yards after some neat one-touch passing outside the box between a clutch of players as the sorry visitors failed to get in any challenge.
Raheem Sterling came on and almost beat Bernd Leno with a header and a flashing shot from just outside the area. Leno also thwarted him in a one v one.
But Torres grabbed his second of the afternoon when he glanced in a cross from Riyad Mahrez to rub a little more salt in the wound.
Long before the end, Arsenal were praying for the final whistle.
City: (4-3-3) Ederson – Walker (Zinchenko h/t), Ruben Dias, Laporte, Cancelo – Bernardo Silva (Sterling 57), Rodri, Gundogan – Jesus (Mahrez 62), Torres, Grealish. Subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Ake, Fernandinho, Doyle, Palmer
Gunners: (5-4-1) Leno – Soares, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac, Tierney – Odegaard (Maitland-Niles 71), Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Saka (Elneny h/t) – Aubameyang (Lacazette 59). Subs not used: Ramsdale, Tavares, Mari, Lokonga, Okonkwo, Martinelli