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Martinelli strikes late as Arsenal end City curse

‘We knew we would have to suffer and we did that. You need a big performance and the crowd too. It feels like a big win,’ said Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal ended their eight-year wait for a Premier League win over Manchester City as Gabriel Martinelli’s late strike sealed a dramatic 1-0 victory before the champions lost their cool in an ugly spat following Sunday’s damaging loss.

After 12 successive league defeats at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s men, the Gunners enjoyed a moment of sweet redemption at the Emirates Stadium.

With just four minutes left, Martinelli’s shot took a hefty deflection off City defender Nathan Ake, sparking wild celebrations as Arsenal clinched a top-flight success against the treble winners for the first time since December 2015.

Tempers flared after the final whistle as City stars Erling Haaland and Kyle Walker argued with members of Arsenal’s backroom and security staff as they walked towards the tunnel.

There appeared to be pushing between Haaland and Arsenal set-piece coach Nicolas Jover, but Guardiola said: “I know what happened and I don’t want to say anything”, while Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta refused to shed light on the incident.

Arsenal had beaten City on penalties in the Community Shield in August, but that victory in the curtain-raiser to the domestic season could not be taken as seriously as this potentially crucial result.

It lifted unbeaten Arsenal two points above third-placed City into second place, leaving them behind leaders Tottenham on goals scored.

“So proud. It was the moment with the right people and the right players. We knew we would have to suffer and we did that. You need a big performance and the crowd too. It feels like a big win,” Arteta said.

“We were there and really aggressive. The quality we produced in the goal was top.”

For the first time since December 2018, City have lost successive league games following their 2-1 defeat at Wolves last weekend.

Add in a League Cup loss against Newcastle and City have been beaten in three of their last four games.

It is a rare sign of vulnerability from a team who started their bid for a fourth successive title by winning the first six games of the season.

“We started really well with two or three chances. But they started the second half with rhythm. Then it was tight and they got a deflection goal. They won, congratulations to them,” Guardiola said.

“Maybe it is a little bit better to be behind and see what we have to do to catch them.”

– Arteta masterstroke –

City nearly took the lead inside five minutes when Josko Gvardiol’s lunging effort was headed off the line by Declan Rice after Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya misjudged a cross.

With Arsenal failing to clear the danger after that narrow escape, City’s Nathan Ake should scored from close range, but the defender wastefully fired over.

For the second time in the opening 20 minutes, Raya almost gifted City a goal as he took too long to deal with Gabriel’s back-pass, allowing Julian Alvarez to close the ‘keeper down and deflect his panicked clearance inches wide.

Crunching through the back of Martin Odegaard’s ankle, City midfielder Mateo Kovacic earned a booking after a VAR check for a potential red card.

If Arteta felt aggrieved that Kovacic wasn’t sent off for that challenge, the Gunners boss was apoplectic moments later after the Croatian avoided a second yellow card after chopping down Rice.

Following their tepid first half, Arsenal were the more forceful side after the break.

Frustrated by City’s disjointed display, Guardiola sent on John Stones, Jeremy Doku and Matheus Nunes, but the changes failed to produce the desired impact.

But Arteta countered by introducing Thomas Partey and Kai Havertz in a move that proved a masterstroke.

City looked content for a point as the half wore on with few chances, but Arsenal kept pressing and finally made the breakthrough in the 86th minute.

Partey’s long pass reached Havertz and he laid the ball off to Martinelli on the edge of the area, where the Brazilian smashed a fierce strike that took a wicked deflection off Ake as it flashed past the wrong-footed Ederson.

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