It’s safe to say the footballing world were impressed with City’s comeback victory over Arsenal.
There is little doubt the Blues were deserving of the three points and compiling this morning’s media round-up proved a joyous task, as the press reflected on an inspiring triumph and the way in which it was achieved.
The Daily Express’ Richard Tanner reported: “Eyebrows were raised when purist Guardiola insisted he could be pragmatic and adapt his philosophy to meet the special challenge of the Premier League.
“But, as against Watford in midweek, here was proof that the Spaniard is meeting the demands to tailor his beliefs to the English way of aggression, tempo and determination.
“City responded to Guardiola’s half-time call to arms and tactical changes to emerge as a team transformed and send the Arsenal to their first back-to-back Premier League defeats since April 2014.
“Guardiola switched Sterling to the right wing and Leroy Sane to the left, put Kevin De Bruyne through the middle as a 'false No 9' and told his players to increase the tempo. They came out all guns blazing and Arsenal simply couldn’t handle it.”
Goalscorers Sane and Sterling received extra praise.
The Mirror’s Andy Dunn reflected: “Sane’s fledgling Manchester City career has been a slow-burner as he has flitted in and out of the side and shown only flashes of the ability that marked him out as one of Europe’s most exciting youngsters.
“Against Arsenal, though he was consistently threatening even if his option-taking was not consistently good. He might have strayed a whisker offside but the run and finish for his goal were good.
“Playing all across the frontline, Sterling was excellent against Watford in midweek and again here.
“He has clearly been earmarked by Guardiola as one of his 'projects' and has, in the main, responded the challenge. As his goal exemplified, most dangerous cutting in from the flank.”
Max Miller of the Metro echoed: “The Germany international’s goal was just reward for his performance, coolly finishing after David Silva had put him through on goal in the first few minutes of the first half.
“Brought off after 76 minutes when showing signs of tiring, the forward has definitely shown that he has what it takes to become a Premier League star.”
Wrote John McGinley for Football Fancast: “There have been question marks about Leroy Sane’s ability to be a Manchester City player since he joined in a big money summer move.
“Surely those are put to rest now after a sensational second half performance inspired his side to victory.
“Coolly finishing to equalise, it was his direct running and pace that really push City onwards early in the second half, finally showing he has what it takes to be an influential player.”
“What a time for Leroy Sane to produce his best performance of the season,” the Manchester Evening News’ James Robson scribed.
“Sane has so far failed to live up to his billing as the next superstar of German football - but he’s never looked better in a City shirt.
“The winger had Nacho Monreal on toast inside the first five minutes - and if a teammate had been able to convert one of his crosses in the first half, City wouldn’t have required a fightback after the break.
“In the second half he took it upon himself to haul Guardiola’s men back into it - with his pace cutting Arsenal open and his cool finish giving Petr Cech no chance.
“Guardiola always maintained the £37m man needs time. On this showing, he might just be ready to live up to his lofty price tag and reputation.”
As for the influential De Bruyne and Silva, Barney Ronay of the Guardian purred: “Much has been made of the fact that this Pep‑project Manchester City is a work in progress, a mutable thing, still looking to find its rhythms and shapes.
“At the Etihad Stadium, for 20 minutes either side of half-time, City seemed to be evolving at an irradiated speed as first David Silva and then Kevin De Bruyne dug their fingernails into this game and wrenched it their way.
“Sánchez and Özil are both lovely players. But here they were given a lesson in a creative leadership as Silva took this game in the most artfully insistent of headlocks. City went from 1-0 down to 2-1 up in 20 minutes during which he flexed his shoulders and reminded the Etihad Stadium of his own enduring brilliance, aided by some fine moments from De Bruyne.
“Silva is a venerable old creative ace these days, the bottle of fine wine in that City cabinet – small, dusty, very expansive – who was suddenly everywhere here, floating into the space just behind City’s rejigged twin No10s, Leroy Sané and De Bruyne.
“The pressure paid off three minutes into the second half as Arsenal’s midfield slackened and three simple passes cut them open. Sané was probably offside but his run, spin and finish were evidence of his brilliantly supple athleticism. The pass floated over the top by Silva was a familiar piece of brilliance.”
ESPN’s Mark Ogden agreed: “With City trailing 1-0 at half-time following Theo Walcott's fourth-minute opener, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne absolutely came to the party when their team needed them most.
“With Ozil melting into the background, De Bruyne and Silva grew in stature, both producing magnificent performances in the second half to inspire Pep Guardiola's team to the victory that lifts them to second in the Premier League table, seven points behind runaway leaders Chelsea.
“De Bruyne and Silva wanted the ball; they chased it down when Arsenal had possession and, when they had it, created key chances for Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling to score the home side's goals.”
Eurosport’s Pete Sharland noted: "In the second half the Belgian was moved into the middle and he proceeded to run the show.
“Little flicks and clever passes we have come to expect from De Bruyne but he was chasing everything and putting the pressure on Arsenal, leading City's charge in the second half.
“His performance was capped off by his sensational cross-field ball to Sterling to set up the winning goal.”
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