Match Report

City equal club record with battling win at Arsenal

GROUP HUG: The players gather to share the love after Sterling's accurate header.
Premier League
Premier League
Sun 21 Feb
0
1
Raheem Sterling 
(2’)
View highlights
City made it 18 straight wins in all competitions – and equalled our club record 11 consecutive away victories – by beating Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Whereas much of our winning run has been down to our scintillating attacking play, this victory was built on hard-work and commitment. 

Raheem Sterling headed home from Riyad Mahrez’s inch-perfect cross to give us a dream start inside two minutes. It was an untypical but brilliant Sterling goal and provided City just reward for a lightning-quick opening.

It looked as though it would spark a flurry of City goals, but it turned out to be the winner, with our play thereafter rarely hitting the heights of recent weeks due to Arsenal's diligence and squeezing of space. 

Joao Cancelo almost doubled our lead late on with a wonderful outside-of-the-boot right-footed effort that sailed just wide, but with Fernandinho superb in midfield - and City's centre-backs once again in brilliant form - one goal was all we needed to secure a vital three points. 

Dominant City

The numbers tell a clear story: City are in fabulous form.

It’s now 25 matches unbeaten, with our last defeat coming in late November away at Tottenham.

Since then, we’ve won 22 and drawn 3, scoring 59 and conceding just seven.

But perhaps the clearest indicator of our dominance is this: during that run, City have only been behind once, and that was to League Two side Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

It’s been a dazzling period, one which has left our season set up beautifully as we head into the spring still with a chance of winning all four major trophies.

Vintage Ferna

At 35, he may not be able to play three games a week, but there is no doubting Fernandinho’s enduring quality.

He returned to the base of City’s midfield for this game and was outstanding, with his unerring ability to be in the right place at the right time vital in giving City security and stability. 

He has a superb range of passing, excellent vision and brings dynamism to that area in front of the back four. 

Our captain and leader off the field, he remains a vital element on it, too. 

Stones the centurion

This was John Stones' 100th Premier League appearance for City, all of which have come under Guardiola's management, and he was superb yet again. 

Raheem Sterling (156) and Kyle Walker (110) are the only other two English players to reach a century of Premier League matches under Guardiola.

Well done, John!

Teams

Arsenal

XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding (David Luiz 83'), Mari, Tierney, Elneny (Ceballos 86'), Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard (Lacazette 73'), Pepe (Smith-Rowe 73'), Aubameyang

Subs: Ryan, Cedric, Gabriel, Willian, Martinelli

City

XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne (Jesus 63'), Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling

Subs: Steffen, Walker, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Foden

Stat Zone

City have kept 23 clean sheets in all competitions this campaign (from 38 matches), more than any other team in the top five European leagues or the top four tiers of English league football.

For context, we kept 23 competitive clean sheets in the entire 2019/20 season (from 59 matches).

Pep reaction

"The record is going to be broke one day, we will lose games. We only think about the next game, this is the only secret.

"I am surprised and impressed. When everyone is suffering in this world and everyone is dropping points, we win in Anfield, against Tottenham, and at Goodison Park.

"I am more than pleased to win 1-0. To have a record like this, you have to win like this. You can’t always win scoring three or four.

"We don't have time to do anything, just recover and prepare mentally. There are 39 points to play for and we need the victories to be champions and we will try in the next games."

Sterling reaction 

"We moved the ball well, Riyad was really direct early on. They’re a good team but we kept our composure and grinded our result out.

"I got up really well there. I’m really happy, every time I score a headed goal it’s a bit more of a buzz. I’m happy with that. This one was a bit better of a leap and I’m happy with that.

"Mikel’s worked with us for plenty of years, he knows exactly our strengths and weaknesses and I wouldn't be surprised if he spent plenty of hours to see how to stop us and find gaps in our team - he made it difficult for us.

"The two centre halves their partnership has been great this season, they have a great understanding - even with Aymeric there there’s a really good unity and bond there. They’re trying to keep clean sheets and it’s a credit to them."

What it means

The win reasserts our 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League, which had been reduced to seven when Leicester City beat Aston Villa in the earlier game.

This was our 13th-successive league win. 

English Premier League
1 Chelsea Chelsea 14 10 3 1 33 6 27 33 WWDWD
2 Manchester City Man City 14 10 2 2 29 8 21 32 WLWWW
3 Liverpool Liverpool 14 9 4 1 43 12 31 31 WDLWW
WATCH: Short highlights: Arsenal 0-1 City

Up next

Our Champions League campaign resumes on Wednesday when we face Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of our last-16 tie. That game will take place in Budapest, with kick-off at 8pm GMT.

We will have full coverage here on ManCity.com, with live text updates from 6pm and our We’re Not Really Here live show kicking off at 7pm. Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickow are our studio guests for that one.

And then next weekend, we host in-form West Ham, whose win over Tottenham earlier on Sunday means they are in the Champions League places. David Moyes’ side have won seven of their last nine league games and are now two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea and five in front of Liverpool, who sit sixth.

That game kicks off at 12.30pm GMT on Saturday 27 February.

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