We analyse the Arsenal vs Manchester City stats from Sunday’s game at the Emirates, as Mikel Arteta finally got the better of his old mentor Pep Guardiola.
Mikel Arteta Finally Gets His Victory
Mikel Arteta has faced 24 teams as Premier League manager. He’s now beaten all 24 of them. After 12 consecutive Premier League defeats against Manchester City, Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected winner saw Arsenal beat City for the first time in eight years. The new foe is vanquished for now at least, while Arsenal now share the top of the Premier League table with their old foe, Tottenham Hotspur.
After losing last time out against Wolves, this defeat saw City lose back-to-back league games for the first in almost five years, last doing so in December 2018 against Crystal Palace and Leicester. In truth, they can’t have too many complaints. Despite dominating for periods of the match, Man City never really got anything going in the final third and mustered just four overall shots in this game – their lowest total in a game during the entire Guardiola era.
Even despite the notable list of absentees, there was still an abundance of quality on the pitch, but both sides were unable to make things click in an attacking sense. The game had a cumulative expected goals value of 0.96, while Arsenal managed two shots on target to City’s one.
But, crucially, one of those from Arsenal found the back of the net – albeit via a wicked deflection – and that is what matters most. Martinelli, who’d been brought on at half-time to provide some much-needed direct running, latched on to a layoff from Kai Havertz to strike at goal. His shot took a huge deflection off Nathan Aké’s head to wrongfoot Ederson and send the Emirates into delirium.
That said, the opening five minutes of the game started like matches between these two sides usually have. Arsenal started like the weight of their poor record against City was weighing them down. City started like a team that has won five of the last six Premier League titles; confident, assured.
The away side really should have gone ahead during the opening exchanges. David Raya came out and got caught under a corner, and Josko Gvardiol got free at the back post to stab towards goal – only a retreating Declan Rice saved Arsenal by clearing it off the line. Then Aké fired over from the next phase of play having breached the Arsenal backline. City’s two shots were worth a combined 0.4 xG and we’d played three minutes. They were ominous signs for the home fans.
Raya was perhaps the Arsenal player that most embodied their nervous start. The Spaniard gave the ball away on multiple occasions and looked shaky when attempting to play out from the back. He very nearly had a clearance charged down into his own goal by Julián Álvarez.
It was a blessing therefore, that for all of City’s assuredness in the opening half hour, they could not really get things quite right in the final third. Guardiola’s side averaged just 51% pass competition rate in Arsenal’s third in the first half, compared to 87.3% across the entire pitch. Their usual potency and incision around the box was sorely lacking.
Ironically it was an action by a city player that sparked Arsenal into life. Mateo Kovacic flew into a reckless tackle on Martin Ødegaard – which saw him pick up a yellow – and that woke the home crowd up. They were whipped up into a frenzy seven minutes later as the Croatian was very fortunate not to receive a second yellow for a late challenge on Rice.
Arsenal grew into the game after that and outshot their visitors across the last 15 minutes of the half, but the point remained that they failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time this season, a run dating back to April 2023 (also vs Man City).
Arsenal enjoyed their best spell of the game after half-time, but it never really felt like they had the quality to puncture City’s rearguard. Even as both managers made triple substitutions, the game threatened to peter out, with both sides seemingly happy with an ugly point.
But football is a game of moments. And in the 86th minute, Martinelli had his.
Arsenal have finally overcome this Manchester City side. How pivotal could these three points be – especially from a mentality point of view – when we look back on this game next May?
Our Opta match centre below delivers you all the Arsenal vs Manchester City stats from Sunday’s game at the Emirates Stadium.
The match centre includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match.
Post-Match Opta Facts for Arsenal vs Manchester City:
- After a run of 15 games without a victory in this fixture (D2 L13), losing each of the last 12 in a row, Arsenal have beaten Manchester City in the Premier League for the first time since December 2015.
- Manchester City have lost consecutive games in the Premier League for the first time since December 2018 against Crystal Palace and Leicester.
- Arsenal have won a Premier League match against the competition’s reigning champions for the first time since April 2017 against Leicester – they had lost their last 10 matches against such sides.
- Manchester City had four shots in this match – it’s the fewest shots a Pep Guardiola side has had in a top-flight game since April 2010 with Barcelona against Espanyol (4).
- Arsenal are yet to lose a Premier League game this season (W6 D2), last going on a longer unbeaten run to start a campaign in 2007-08 (15 games).