Manchester City suffered their second league defeat of the 2023/24 season on Sunday when Gabriel Martinelli’s 86th-minute effort was deflected in off Nathan Ake.
The result leaves Arsenal joint-top of the Premier League with Tottenham and sees Manchester City sat 3rd, two points adrift of top spot. Despite the loss to Arsenal, Man City are still favourites to win the competition and can be backed to do so with bet365 at 8/11.
Why Manchester City struggled vs Arsenal
Losing to a team such as Arsenal is not that much of a concern in and of itself, but what will worry Pep Guardiola is the manner of the defeat.
Manchester City had just four shots vs Arsenal and only one of them was on target. In a further surprising statistic, City’s four shots against Arsenal is the fewest the Sky Blues have ever had in a Premier League game under Guardiola. Their final shot of the game came in the 58th minute.
So why did a Man City side with Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez in it struggle so much to create anything vs Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal?
Well, former Gunner Paul Merson believes the unavailability of Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne, coupled with the decision not to use Jack Grealish, meant Manchester City were never going to have as much offensive control against Arsenal:
“They were missing Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, one of their best players last season, was a sub and not playing, so I would not have expected them to be peppering Arsenal’s goal,” he said.
“People are getting carried away, though, as Man City are slow starters. Do not get me wrong, it is game on, as they have just lost again, but they are the only team in the league who can win 13-14 games on the trot when it gets past Christmas. Any side that finishes above Man City this season will be league champions.”