Manchester City picked up their second win of the season in a tactical encounter between two former allies at the Etihad Stadium, which saw Pep Guardiola’s side do just enough to edge-out the victory against his protégé Mikel Arteta.
City sent out somewhat of a hodgepodge starting eleven to cover for new injuries across several positions. It was a welcome sight to see Sergio Agüero back in the side, but it was Raheem Sterling who popped up with the only goal of the game in the first half.
Here’s how we rated the players for this one…
Ederson – 8.5 (MOTM)
Distribution and shot-stopping on-point. The Brazilian kept Manchester City in the lead in the first half with two fine blocks against Arsenal’s Saka and Aubameyang, coming out swiftly off his line.
Joao Cancelo – 6.5
Played an inverted full-back role on the right. Did well in attack, putting pressure on Arsenal, but struggled to keep track of players when defending.
Kyle Walker – 7.5
Provided City with much needed pace at the back, acting predominantly as a centre-back. Walker is quickly becoming one of City’s most valuable players.
Ruben Dias – 7
Did well to provide cover across the back line and gave the side aerial strength.
Nathan Ake – 7.5
Brought the same calm and security to the left side of Manchester City’s defence that we see from Aymeric Laporte, but didn’t offer the same attacking threat we see from Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo in this position. Was quick to rush back and block Arsenal’s counters when needed.
Rodri – 7
A strong presence in the centre of the pitch and kept the play ticking over – standard procedure from the Spaniard.
Bernardo Silva – 8
Played in fine form all over the pitch, at times even dropping to the back line. Kept the ball at his feet wonderfully and wasn’t afraid to take players on. It would be great to see him take up David Silva’s role moving forward.
Raheem Sterling – 7.5
It was no surprise to find Raheem in the right place at the right time for the goal. His positioning was great – being given a free rein to play just behind Agüero for much of the game. Could have put the match to bed in the 86th minute but failed to take his shot.
Riyad Mahrez – 6.5
Combined well with Agüero early on and looked like a threat with the ball at his feet in the box. The usual criticisms of keeping the ball too long, and shooting when a pass was on still apply.
Phil Foden – 7
Good movement in the build-up to the goal and did well to stretch Arsenal out on the left. Had his chances in front of goal which Leno did well to block.
Sergio Agüero – 7
Showed Manchester City exactly what they’ve been missing up-front. His attacking threat was felt immediately and throughout the game.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Replaced Agüero and took up his slot in midfield. It felt like maybe one central midfielder too many, but it was good to see the German back from injury.
Fernandinho – N/A
Okay, this one was definitely one central midfielder too many… but a smart choice by Pep to see out the game.
You can follow the author here: @ignoblewretch
Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @City_Xtra