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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 22 October, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 2.15pm.

Let’s start with the team news…

Today’s teams are…

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Delph; Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Silva; Sterling, Sane, Aguero

Subs: Bravo, Mangala, Gundogan, Bernardo, G Jesus, Danilo, Yaya Toure

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac; Coquelin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez

Subs: Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Wilshere, Walcott, Lacazette, Giroud

Just over half an hour to go before kick-off. Today’s game kicks off what promises to be an action-packed Sunday of football, with Chelsea vs Manchester United plus today’s FAI Cup final between Dundalk and Cork City to come.

Constant, non-stop footbally action. Bliss, just bliss.

Both these sides come into this afternoon’s game on a decent run of form. Both qualified from their respective European groups midweek, City making the knockout stages of the Champions League while Arsenal went through to the last 32 of the Europa League.

Pep Guardiola’s side are undoubtedly the team to beat both in Europe and in the Premier League this season. They sit top of the table with 28 points from a possible 31, plus have the added reward of an outstanding +29 goal difference.

Arsenal, meanwhile, could go fourth with a win. Three points would place Arsene Wenge’s side above Chelsea until this evening at least. They are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions and enter the Etihad today confident off the back of four straight wins.


Kick-off: We’re underway…


CHANCE! Oh what a start that could have been for Manchester City. They break at lightening speed through Raheem Sterling — he offloads to Kevin De Bruyne who then feeds it to Sergio Aguero on the overlap.

The Argentine looks set to fire it beond Petr Cech into his near corner, however his strike is sliced into the side-netting. A fine start for City.


Arsenal get their first sight at goal. A cross into the box finds Alex Iwobi on the edge of the area, he takes the ball down well but fires his volley well over the crossbar. A chance apiece inside five minutes.


Some sharp, crisp passing from Arsenal sees Hector Bellerin force a corner at the front post. Wenger’s side have taken the front foot in this game and are pinning City into their own half.

A strange sight to behold.


Alexis Sanchez has a pop at goal. It’s a free-kick from 30 yards and he bull-toes it well wide of the post.


Another chance comes and goes for Arsenal. They are doing tremendously well to create these opportunities — this one starts thanks to a smart interception from Aaron Ramsey which feeds Mesut Ozil — but again the effort is poor.

The German playmaker has the far bottom corner picked out for cannot curl his low shot in, and can do nothing but watch it meander wide of the post.


Now then, that was close. City awake like a giant as Leroy Sane almost gifts them the lead against the run of play. It was a killer through ball from David Silva to Sane inside the penalty area.

He controls the ball with his first touch, but his low drive drags wide of the post with the goal at his beg and mercy.


City beginning to have their say on things now. Kevin de Bruyne is swaggering about and splitting Arsenal’s nervy back four in half at the drop of a hat. The choice of Nacho Monreal at centre back against such a potent City attack has been a major talking point this evening.

Should Petr Cech walk away with a clean sheet this afternoon that would be a massive achievement in and of itself.


It’s simply, simply sublime from Kevin de Bruyne. He scores Man City’s 50th goal in all competitions this season to give his side the lead and what a goal it was.

His initial effort from the edge of the box was parried away well by Petr Cech, however the ball was soon circulated back to the Belgian.

He played a quick one-two on the edge of the penalty area before slamming a stunning shot from range beyond Cech with his left boot. It’s just brilliant football from the playmaker.


Arsenal have come back into the game a slight bit this last five minutes. They started well, went a goal behind, and again have pushed City back. That said, the Blues always, always look dangerous on the break with lightening pace via Sane and Sterling.


Kevin de Bruyne, like Man City, has enjoyed a stunning start to the season.

Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport


Almost a chance for City as that man again de Bruyne closes his man down quickly. The ball bounces and bobbles inside the box and is almost gathered by an unmarked Sergio Aguero.

He wanted to slot the ball past Petr Cech at his front post, but the Czech goalkeeper managed to get to the ball first to save his defences’ blushes.


Close! City could have doubled their lead there. A great cross from David Silva but no one attacks it with Raheem Sterling frozen on the spot not knowing the ball was coming towards him five yards from goal.


Goodness me, how did that not go in?! Pep Guardiola cuts a dejected and angry figure as his side spoil the opportunity to double their lead.

It’s another brilliant break at speed from the hosts through Raheem Sterling.

It’s a two -vs- one situation but the England winger’s cross aimed at Leroy Sane is terribly poor and flies out of play.

All the move needed was the right delivery into the box, but it remains 1-0.


City really do look like a sleeping giant any time Arsenal are in possession. They are happy to string the ball back and forth, however their high defensive line is proving chaotic against a lightening quick City counter.

Sterling, Sane and Aguero are enjoying huge pockets of space in front of them, with City creating chance after chance but failing to convert any of them.


There will be just one minute of additional time to come at the end of the first half.


Ooooof! That was so close from Arsenal to drawing the scores level right before the break. It was a quick break before the ball was fed to Aaron Ramsey from Alexis Sanchez.

The Welsh midfielder did well to cut inside, but his low shot was well saved by Ederson in the bottom corner.


Second half: We’re back underway…


It’s a brilliant run by Raheem Sterling inside the box. His first touch is heavy and he collides with Nacho Monreal to earn Man City a penalty and give them a chance to double their lead…


Sergio Aguero slots the ball home with the help of the inside of the post. It’s 2-0 City as Guardiola’s side do double their lead just five minutes after the break.


It’s the worst possible start for Arsenal. Many were surprised by the absence of Alexandre Lacazette in the side’s starting XI this afternoon. Boss Wenger may have wanted to introduce him as an impact sub, however is it now too late?


That was just bizarre. Arsenal thought they had halved the deficit after Ederson bundled the ball over the line, however the goalkeeper was in fact pushed over the line with the ball in his hands by Aaron Ramsey.

No booking for the player, however it is a free out to City and the goal will not stand.


Substitution for Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette replaces Francis Coquelin.


Man City still enjoying possession. Not a huge amount of life about Arsenal as they try and find a new rhythm about themselves with Lacazette up front reverting to a back four at the back.


Substitution for Man City: Gabriel Jesus replaces Sergio Aguero.


The game beginning to stretch as Lacazette gets a first chance to run at Otamendi. The centre back stands his ground as City push Arsenal back out towards the half-way line. They are proving a tough defence to break down, alongside their usual electricity up front.


And just as that is said Alexandre Lacazette halves the deficit with a stunning low drive which gives Ederson no chance. The French striker has made an immediate impact since coming on and it’s 2-1 with 25 minutes remaining.


SAVE! Gabriel Jesus almost restores City’s two goal cushion. He is completely unmarked at the back post but even his powerful strike out of the blue cannot catch Petr Cech off guard.

The goalkeeper makes up the ground brilliantly and manages to get his entire body in the way to keep it out.



Nicolás Otamendi is given a yellow card for a reckless, cynical challenge earlier in the game which referee Michael Oliver is only getting around to now. It is the defender’s sixth booking in all competitions this season.


There is a question of offside for this one, but Gabriel Jesus won’t care one bit as his impressive debut season at the Etihad continues. It’s a ball across the box into the penalty area which the second half substitute taps home beyond Petr Cech.

City’s two goal lead is restored and it could very well be game, set and match for Arsenal this afternoon.


Substitution for Man City: İlkay Gündoğan replaces Raheem Sterling.


Substitution for Arsenal: Jack Wilshere replaces Granit Xhaka.


Substitution for Arsenal: Oliver Giroud replaces Alex Iwobi.



Arsenal have rejigged their startling XI with the introduction of Giroud and Wilshere, however it could be too late as City go in search of another and another. They are trying to find a was back into this game but the hosts are remaining compact and disciplined.

That third goal from Gabriel Jesus is going to be a massive talking point after this game, with the question of offside quite clear.


Substitution for Man City: Bernardo Silva replaces Leroy Sane.


A chance for City to add a fourth, but it goes begging. It’s another fine quick break but once again the final delivery into the box is poorly timed and blocked by an Arsenal body back-peddling.

City have scored three today but it could quite easily have been double that.


It’s a yellow card for Mesut Ozil for kicking the ball away. Pure frustration from the German as City stoke and ball from side to side knowing the three points are all their’s this afternoon.


There will be four minutes of additional time to come at the end of the second half.


It’s just a matter of wearing down the clock now, with Arsenal heading towards their 10th defeat in the calendar year of 2017.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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