Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal: Sergio Aguero treble defeats Gunners
PUBLISHED: 18:25 03 February 2019
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Arsenal travelled to the north west to take on Manchester City on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif's report from the Etihad
A hat-trick by Manchester City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero sealed a comfortable 3-1 victory for Pep Guardiola’s side against Arsenal on Sunday.
A goal in under 60 seconds by the world-class striker put the home side ahead before captain Laurent Koscielny levelled ten minutes later.
His second on 44 minutes saw the Etihad-outfit go in at the break 2-1 up before he added his third on 66 minutes to seal the win and keep the pressure on leaders Liverpool.
Grant Xhaka missed the match with a groin strain as Emery looked to replicate Newcastle’s successful smothering of City this week by opting for seven defensive players in his side.
Ray Parlour told this correspondent in an exclusive interview this week it would be a shock if the Gunners were to win this game.
It would have been even more of a shock a matter of moments into the game when Guardiola’s side went ahead through Aguero.
With fewer than 60 seconds gone and with the strains of the atmospheric City anthem Blue Moon still ringing around the Etihad, Aymeric Laporte made inroads down the Gunners right flank, peopled unconvincingly by Alex Iwobi with Stephan Lichtsteiner behind.
The 24-year-old French-born centre-half made the most of the space allotted to him and crossed for the predatory Argentine to nod home.
The Gunners looked to be in for a long afternoon as Raheem Sterling had a powerful shot parried by Bernd Leno as City pushed forward in wave after wave of attacks, desperate to claw back the majority of the four point deficit that stood behind them and league leaders Liverpool.
Laporte nearly capped a memorable opening when he thought he had scored, only for the assistant referee to disallow his effort for offside.
However, on 11 minutes Koscielny nodded home after Nacho Monreal nodded on a corner. The goal was as surprising as it was welcomed by the 3,000 vociferous travelling Arsenal fans spread across three tiers in a sellout crowd.
Emery’s side showed a solidity lacking in the match against Liverpool in the final match of 2019 and despite Sterling going close with a right-footed shot seven minutes later.
Seconds later Nicolas Otamendi has a shot saved by an alert Leno as Guardiola’s side poured forward.
Yet the Gunners showed a backbone and solidity not always evident at times this season and repelled City, pushing forward and causing the home side to backpedal at times, much to the frustration of the home support.
Arsenal’s good work was spoiled as the interval beckoned when Aguero grabbed his second of the match when the lively Sterling drew Koscielny into the middle of the box before finding the star striker at the back post.
Aguero made no mistake from close range to put the home side ahead at a crucial moment, allowing them momentum straight from the start of the second period.
Aguero grabbed his third after the ball fell to him yards from goal. The predatory striker appeared to make contact with his arm as the ball slithered towards the line.
There was an element of tragic-comedy as Koscielny was felled by Leno as the keeper inadvertently brought down the captain preventing him from attempting a desperate, last-ditch clearance but the ball went over the line to make it 3-1.
As the clock ticked down on a convincing City victory Denis Suarez replaced Sead Kolasinac to make his Arsenal debut.
Yet it was the loud acclaim hat-trick hero Aguero received when Guardiola substituted him late in the game that spoke volumes.
What a player he has been for City. A true class act.
How Arsenal could have done with a player of his calibre. But perhaps the defence should be Emery’s first priority this summer.