Manchester City went 11 points clear of Chelsea in the Premier League with a 2-1 win against 10-man Arsenal in a game full of drama and controversy.
The home side truly worried City on Saturday, with Arsenal boss Arteta isolating after a positive Covid-19 test, but the second-half sending off of Gunners defender Gabriel completely shifted the game’s flow, and the visitors went on to win their 11th league game in a row.
Arsenal had claimed a penalty in the first half after Martin degaard was brought down in the box by City goalkeeper Ederson, but VAR judged that referee Stuart Attwell had not made a clear and apparent error, and play continued.
Following a fluid move, the home team gained a merited lead, which was Bukayo Saka later finished off in style.
In a hectic three minutes just before the hour, City equalised, Arsenal missed a wonderful opportunity to reclaim the lead, and Gabriel was sent off.
City’s equaliser came from a penalty, and after Granit Xhaka grabbed Bernardo Silva’s shirt, VAR requested Attwell to reconsider his judgement not to award a penalty.
This time, Attwell awarded the penalty, which Riyad Mahrez converted, though the referee booked Gabriel for attempting to scuff up the spot before the kick.
After Nathan Aké cleared the ball off the line, Gabriel Martinelli strangely missed with the goal gaping, before Arsenal’s Brazilian defender was sent for a second yellow card for a tackle on Gabriel Jesus.
“Confusing is the right word [on the penalties], Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg told BT Sport. “We are looking for consistency.
“For me, the Ødegaard penalty is clear … but if there is any consistency there the referee also comes to check.”
In stoppage time, City made its numerical advantage pay as Rodri scored from close range. ”Eleven games in a row is great in this period,” City manager Pep Guardiola told BT Sport. “Look at our bench. We have four academy players. We had many cases of Covid this season and injuries.
“Today with Kyle Walker was first time on the bench since Covid testing. We were incredibly tired and they were better. But football has happened. Sometimes it comes in our side.”