Premier League
ArsenalArsenal2Man CityManchester City1

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Emirates Stadium
Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott
Mesut Ozil (right) registered his 14th and 15th Premier League assists of the season

Arsenal moved to within two points of surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City with victory over Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners - without a title triumph since 2004 - showed the sort of impressive drive, cutting edge and resilience that will lead manager Arsene Wenger to believe Arsenal can finally end that barren spell.

City dominated early possession but Kevin de Bruyne wasted a good chance and Theo Walcott punished the visitors with a right-foot finish from 20 yards in the 33rd minute.

Eliaquim Mangala's dreadful clearance allowed Mesut Ozil's 15th assist of the season as he set up Olivier Giroud for an angled finish in first-half stoppage time. Yaya Toure's clever shot from outside the area set up a tense finale which saw both Toure and substitute Wilfried Bony waste chances to equalise.

Ruthless Arsenal

Wenger praises Gunners' togetherness

Wenger's side have often been accused of having a soft centre when the pressure is on - but here, faced with the team many believe will still emerge as their closes title rivals, they showed a ruthless streak.

City may have dominated possession and territory for the first half hour but it was Arsenal who made it count at the business end. Their tally for the opening 45 minutes read two shots on target and two goals. For a manager who prides himself on efficiency, Wenger will have been delighted.

The Gunners were impressive at the back too, where goalkeeper Petr Cech was the epitome of safe handling and security, proving once more what a significant signing he has been.

Arsenal's defenders were in the mood too, with two crunching tackles from full-back Nacho Monreal drawing a high-five from fellow defender Per Mertesacker.

Walcott grows in stature

For a player often criticised for his lack of end product, Walcott looks to be evolving into the complete striker at the age of 26.

Walcott's goal, wonderfully accomplished as he turned inside before curling a perfect finish beyond the stretching City keeper Joe Hart, was his 13th in his past 17 league appearances and delivered further evidence of his development into a consistent and reliable goalscorer.

He, and indeed Arsenal, are receiving plenty of help from the Premier League's current creator supreme Ozil, who had a hand in both goals and received a standing ovation when he was replaced late on.

Add in Giroud's golden sequence of 12 goals in his past 14 matches in all competitions, and Arsenal will believe they possess the potency to carry them all the way.

Mesut Ozil touchmap
Mesut Ozil's heat maps against City (left) compared to the defeat against West Ham on the opening day (right) show how he has drifted wider to find space

Manchester City come up short again

Yaya Toure touches
Twenty-eight of Yaya Toure's 109 touches - more than 25% - came in the final 15 minutes

Aside from a dominant opening half and a late rally after Toure's goal, this was another poor performance from Manuel Pellegrini's side.

City were too often laboured and the sight of captain Vincent Kompany watching forlornly from the stands pointed to where many of the problems lie.

Pellegrini may have signed Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi for fees in excess of £60m, but they are still not the same and markedly less assured.

And with Sergio Aguero still not fully fit and substituted, City are currently well short of their best.

Man of the match - Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil
Ozil's 15 assists are more than twice as many as any other player has managed in the Premier League this season

What the managers said

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I believe we have shown spirit, organisation, brilliance and altogether they gave us the three points.

"You could see that there is exceptional life in this team and when we did not have the legs anymore, we relied on spirit and that got us through in the end."

Pellegrini rues Man City mistakes

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "In the second half we took some risks, we continued going for the game.

"We did better than Arsenal but we didn't win and that is all that matters.

"We didn't deserve to lose the game."


Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills: "City dominated possession but only had long shots as Arsenal played perfect counter-attacking football.

"Arsenal had really good chances to kill the game off and got nervous at the end but you have to say all credit to them. It was a terribly disappointing performance from City."

The stats you need to know

  • Arsenal have lost just one of their 19 Premier League home games against Manchester City.
  • Man City have won none of their last five Premier League away matches.
  • Mesut Ozil recorded his 14th and 15th assists of the season in this game, reaching the total in 16 appearances, faster than any player in a single Premier League season.
  • Ozil now has 29 Premier League assists in his career, as many as Eden Hazard but in 59 games fewer.
  • Five of Arsenal's last six top-flight title wins have seen them in second place at Christmas, including two of their three Premier League titles.
  • Man City have lost five games this season. The last team to lose five or more games before Christmas and still win the title were Everton in 1986-87.

What's next?

Arsenal travel to 12th-placed Southampton on Boxing Day before entertaining Bournemouth two days later. Manchester City play Sunderland at home next, before taking on current leaders Leicester away on 28 December.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini
  • 16Ramsey
  • 28CampbellSubstituted forGibbsat 70'minutes
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 76'minutes
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forChambersat 88'minutes
  • 12Giroud


  • 3Gibbs
  • 5Gabriel
  • 13Ospina
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 21Chambers
  • 45Iwobi
  • 54Reine Adelaide

Man City

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Hart
  • 3Sagna
  • 30OtamendiBooked at 48mins
  • 20Mangala
  • 11Kolarov
  • 17De Bruyne
  • 42Y Touré
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 18DelphSubstituted forSterlingat 45'minutes
  • 21SilvaBooked at 31minsSubstituted forNavasat 73'minutes
  • 10AgüeroSubstituted forBonyat 63'minutes


  • 7Sterling
  • 13Caballero
  • 14Bony
  • 15Navas
  • 22Clichy
  • 26Demichelis
  • 72Iheanacho
Andre Marriner

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamMan City
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 2, Manchester City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Manchester City 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

  4. Post update

    Calum Chambers (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  6. Post update

    Delay in match Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) because of an injury.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Calum Chambers replaces Theo Walcott.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a through ball.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wilfried Bony (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Yaya Touré following a corner.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne following a corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Wilfried Bony (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Arsenal 2, Manchester City 1. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Bacary Sagna.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mesut Özil.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Wilfried Bony (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 21st December 2015

As It Stood

3Man City17102533191432
5Man Utd178542214829
6Crystal Palace179262316729
8West Ham176742521425
13West Brom175571723-620
20Aston Villa1714121431-177
View full Premier League table

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