Martinelli’s Late Winner Seals 1-0 Victory For Arsenal Against Man City

Martinelli’s Late Winner Seals 1-0 Victory For Arsenal Against Man City
  • PublishedOctober 8, 2023

Gabriel Martinelli scored a dramatic late winner as Arsenal earned a statement victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.

A largely disappointing game was given a stunning finale four minutes from time just as both sides looked certain to have to settle for a point.

Making his return from a hamstring injury as a substitute, Martinelli’s strike deflected in off Nathan Ake to earn Arsenal a first league win over City since December 2015.

It was a moment that sparked wild celebrations and put the Gunners level on points with north London rivals Tottenham at the top of the table.

The biggest talking point until the goal was how Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic somehow stayed on the pitch after successive late tackles on Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice.

City had the better early opportunities when Rice cleared off the line from Josko Gvardiol before Ake scooped a shot over the bar from close range.

Arsenal keeper David Raya, who had an uncertain time, was twice almost caught in possession on his line by Julian Alvarez.

But it was the home side who were elated as Martinelli, introduced off the bench for the second half, made that vital contribution.

Arsenal seemed gripped with nerves early on against a City team who have maintained such a stranglehold on them in the Premier League in recent years.

Raya was hesitant, especially with the ball at his feet, and even the Arsenal fans who have been so supportive of Mikel Arteta’s side were showing signs of impatience.

The introduction of Martinelli for Leandro Trossard after the break made a huge difference as the Brazilian ran at the City defence and finally posed problems – even though visiting keeper Ederson was initially largely untroubled.

Arsenal were organised and resilient in defence, keeping Erling Haaland at bay, and all their hard work was rewarded with the winner, albeit with it coming through that crucial deflection off Ake.

City and Pep Guardiola have cast a shadow over Arsenal in recent years, not least when they hauled them in at the critical point of last season’s title race, but this victory will surely give the Gunners huge self-belief.

Manchester City previously had to go back to December 2018 to recall the taste of successive Premier League defeats, when they lost at home to Crystal Palace and away to Leicester City.

They dropped only three further points all season after that double jolt. Now they must recover again after losing in the league at Wolves and here at Arsenal, where they were way short of their best.

City, as usual, had plenty of possession, but they lacked their normal thrust and sharpness, with striker Haaland reduced to the role of a virtual spectator.

There was indiscipline, too, from Kovacic, who was fortunate to only be shown a yellow card for a poor challenge on Odegaard yet still followed it up almost immediately with another on Rice.

Guardiola’s side will be bitterly disappointed with those last two league results – but history shows City have the quality and character to return to their best swiftly.

  • Sodiq Yusuf, with agency report

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