Strikes from Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden sees Manchester City enjoy a winning return to the Premier League. Arsenal was reduced to 10-men after David Luiz was sent off, within 25 minutes of his arrival.
The result sees City remain second with 60 points from 29 games, while Arsenal has 40 from the same number of matches.
MATCH REPORT -
90+11' FULL TIME : Manchester City cruises to a 3-0 win to hand Arsenal its first defeat of the year.
90+8' Arsenal creates a rare chance and wins its first corner of the second half.
90+5' What a fine move, this! Ederson finds Foden in the centre and the youngster races into the attacking third before finding Aguero on the right.. The Argentine lets on rip but only manages to find the side netting.
90+2' Aguero plays a lovely exchange with Sterling before hitting the upright and Foden latches on to the rebound to get on the scoresheet.
90+2' GOAL! Phil Foden finds the back of the net to triple Manchester City's lead. surely, it's all over now.
90' The fourth official signals for 11 minutes of added time.
Guardiola had indeed said before the game that he was very worried that players would risk injury after the lengthy lay-off. Here's more on that -
89' It's the third unfortunate injury of the game and Garcia leaves the pitch on a stretcher.
85' It's been close to six minutes now since the incident and the19-year-old Garcia continues to receive treatment. He will have to be stretchered off shortly.
82' Garcia remains on the pitch and appears to be severely injured. City has used all five subs, so it will have to play out the rest of the game with 10 men.
80' Oh my, that looks really worrying. Ederson darts off his line to clear the ball and takes out Eric Garcia in the process. The medical team has rushed onto the pitch, but Garcia remains unmoved. Doesn't seem like he will continue this game..
80' Final change of the evening for Manchester City as Sergio Aguero comes on for Gabriel Jesus.
73' City continues to steam ahead and there's only so much Arsenal can do at this point, given it is down a man.
70' More changes for City as Pep Guardiola brings on Fernandinho and Rodrigo for Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne.
STAT: Arsenal has been shown three red cards in 11 Premier League games under Mikel Arteta, as many as in 51 games under Unai Emery.
67' Final changes for Arsenal and Arteta decides to make three of them - Reiss Nelson, Alexandre Lacazette and Ainsley Maitland-Niles come on for Matteo Guendouzi, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock.
65' Double change for City as Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva replace Riyad Mahrez and David Silva.
59' It's got to be smooth sailing for City hereon. Arsenal running out of options as the home side dominates the game with a staggering 89 percent of possession.
56' It's anybody's guess that Arsenal will have to pile bodies at the back. Looks like Nketiah will play as the sole striker up ahead.
STAT : David Luiz has conceded four penalties in the Premier League this season; double the amount of any other player.
54' Aubameyang has really struggled to create a presence so far. The Arsenal star had one long rage effort in the first half, but has failed to do anything since.
51' Things don't look very well for Arsenal here, after being forced to make two early substitutions, the side is now down to 10 men after Luiz's red card.
50' GOAL! Kevin De Bruyne steps up and coolly buries the ball into the right bottom-corner to double City's lead.
48' SENT OFF! David Luiz hacks down Mahrez in the box and is sent off! Penalty to Manchester City. A horrible day in the office for Luiz....
46' KICK OFF! And the second half gets underway at The Etihad.
Raheem Sterling gives Manchester City the lead going into the interval, while Arsenal will have to go back to the drawing board and find a way to contain this lethal City attack.
45+2' David Luiz makes an absolute mess of De Bruyne's lob and it falls kindly for Sterling, who slams it home for close-range. That's Sterling's first goal in 12 games!
45+2' GOAAAAAAAL! Sterling makes the most of a horrendous defensive error to put Manchester City ahead.
45' We're a game and a half into the restart of the Premier league and are yet to see a goal! Aston Villa and Sheffield United played out a goalless draw earlier today. Here's how that game went down - Aston Villa vs Sheffield United highlights
42' Arsenal wins a freekick from 40-odd yards out and Saka launches a lovely looping cross, but its just a little too much for a sliding Mustafi at the back post.
39' Manchester City absolutely ripping through the Arsenal defence now - Sterling is played in on goal and has just Leno to beat, but his chip sails above the crossbar. City now showing glimpses of its stunning incisive play that its known for.
35' Leno at it again, he makes another fine low save deny Silva and ensures the scorecard remains unchanged.
34' Sterling in action! He receives the ball on the left and twists and turns to get himself in position to shoot. He fires a curling attempt, but Leno has it covered.
30' City dominates possession with nearly 58 percent at the half-hour mark. The home side has had the better of chances, but Arsenal has done well to remain tight at the back.
Speaking of Aubameyang, his future at Arsenal has been much-talked about over the last few weeks. Arsneal is keen to rope him down and here's what Arteta had to say -
26' De Bruyne makes a rare miss-pass at the back and Aubameyang has a go at goal, but it zooms straight into the empty stands.
24' Arsenal has been forced to make two changes within the first 20-odd minutes and this brings up the question - are the players risking injury by returning to competitive football with barely three weeks of training?
22' Pablo Mari is on the pitch clutching his left calf and it looks like Arsenal will have to make yet another early change. David Luiz looks ready to come on.
21' Chance for City - Walker storms down the right and cuts it back for Jesus, but it falls just behind the Brazilian.
The Etihad is sans fans today...does that make it a less daunting stadium to play in? As per a study, the Bundesliga saw a sharp fall in the percentage of home wins and clubs lose out on the home advantage. More on that here -
16' First corner for Arsenal on the quarter-hour mark..
13' Nketiah is getting terrific service this evening, He receives a fine cross from the left, but his attempt zooms wide of the target. An encouraging start nonetheless for the 21-year-old.
12' What a fantastic move from City! There's four blue shirts in the box and Sterling tries to square it, but Bellerin stretches to make a vital interception.
Interesting stat: This is Arsenal's second youngest starting XI this Premier League season.
6' Looks like Arsenal will have to make the first of its five substitutions! Granit Xhaka seems to have injured his ankle and Ceballos will replace him.
4' De Bruyneeeeeee...Leno does well to parry his freekick over the crossbar. Raheem Sterling wins a freekick at the edge of the box and De Bruyne fancies his chances, but it doesn't amount to much.
2' Looked like an early chance for Arsenal, but Nketiah is caught offside.
This evening's game is particularly important for Arsenal if it is to claim a Champions League spot. Here are a few other key games -
1' KICK-OFF! We are underway at The Etihad Stadium.
12:40am: The players make their way down the tunnel and we're moments away from kick-off. I reckon its time for us to grab those tubs of popcorn!
12:35am: Master vs apprentice?
12:30am: Warm ups in full swing! Fifteen minutes to kick-off .
12:25am: It ends nil-nil and Villa and Sheffield take claim a point each. The draw keeps Aston Villa in the relegation zone, while Sheffield United moves to the sixth spot. Here's how that game went down - Aston Villa vs Sheffield United highlights
12:20am: All eyes on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this evening. The Arsenal star has scored 49 goals in 75 Premier league appearances and if he scores in this match he will be the sixth fastest player to reach 50 goals!
12:15am: No fans in the stands, but The Etihad Stadium looks stunning as always. Thirty minutes to kickoff!
12:10am: The game between Aston Villa and Sheffield United remains goalless as we head into the last 10 minutes of action. Notice how the players on the back of their jerseys have been swapped by 'Black Lives Matter'? Here's why -
12:04am: Mikel Arteta has also left David Luiz on the bench. Here's what he said of the Brazilian defender coming into the game - l
12:02am: Bit of a shocker here, Sergio Aguero has been benched! Here's a fun fact - Aguero has scored 10 goals in his last 12 appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, netting a hat-trick in a 3-1 win in this fixture last season.
12am: LINE UPS!
Manchester City XI : Ederson, Walker, E Garcia, Laporte, Mendy, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva (C), Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
Subs: Carson, Aguero, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, Sane, Bernardo, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Foden
Arsenal XI : Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Mari, Tierney, Xhaka, Guendozi, Aubameyang, Willock, Saka, Nketiah.
Subs: Martinez, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Nelson, Pepe, Martinelli, Lacazette
11:55pm: Here's a little more detail on what clubs will have to do post the full-time whistle:
11:50pm: Football as we know it is going to undergo a world of change, at least for the next few months. With closed door matches and less than 300 people to be present in the stadium on match days, here are some of the new rules Premier League clubs will have to follow henceforth -
11:45pm: City players in the house! We're exactly an hour away from kick-off now. Excitement levels peaking!
11:30pm: From the new safety protocols to a virtual matchday experience, here's everything you need to know about the Premier League's return -
11:15pm: City boss Guardiola has thrown caution in the wind! He says he has no idea what to expect when his team plays Arsenal this evening and that Premier League players are risking injury by returning after an “incredible lack of preparation”- READ :
11pm: A little over 100 minutes to go for the first major Premier League game to be played since March! Speaking of numbers, Manchester City has won all of its last six matches against Arsenal across competitions. Win number seven in the offing for the home side or will Arteta's men go on to snap their losing streak against the Cityzens?
Three months after the last ball was kicked, the Premier League emerges from the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic today for what will be a 92-match slog to the finish.
In ordinary circumstances Manchester City would have long since relinquished its Premier League crown to Liverpool. Yet, on this evening, Pep Guardiola's side will step out at the Etihad Stadium hoping to delay Liverpool's inevitable coronation a while longer.
In many ways Wednesday's clash is more crucial to Arsenal.While City is 25 points adrift of runaway leader Liverpool, which needs two wins to secure its first title since 1990, Arsenal's burst of form before the shutdown means it has pushed itself into contention for a top-five finish.
As if this Premier League season was not strange enough, City's European ban for breaching UEFA financial rules means that instead of needing to finish in the top-four to claim a Champions League spot, fifth is likely to suffice.
Mikel Arteta had revived Arsenal before the shutdown, the Gunners are unbeaten in eight league games, winning three in a row. The side may be ninth, but is only five points behind fifth-placed Manchester United, having played one game fewer.
City, on the other hand, will just look to delay Liverpool's coronation.
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