The game looked to be heading for a stalemate in a match of few chances at the Emirates Stadium.
Defeat leaves us two points behind the Gunners and leaders Tottenham going into the international break.
And we started strongly with two big chances in the opening moments – Gvardiol having an effort on the stretch headed off the line by Declan Rice, before Ake fired over from close range.
City’s pressing made it difficult to the home side and we almost forced an error when Alvarez hunted down Arsenal keeper David Raya but his charged-down clearance deflected into the sidenetting.
While the Gunners keeper was under pressure, Ederson making his 300th appearance for City, was spraying passes all over the Emirates.
His direct balls to Erling Haaland caused huge problems in last season’s important victory over Arsenal at the Etihad towards the end of last season and he set the Norwegian free again to tee up Alvarez but his shot was over the bar.
Former City Premier League winners Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko tried to push Arsenal forward but had only Eddie Nketiah’s swipe off target to show for it in the opening half hour.
However, the crowd came to life after two strong challenges from Kovacic; the first on Martin Odegaard earning a yellow card and the second on Rice punished only with a free-kick.
The Gunners brought on Martinelli for his first appearance in six games at half-time and he livened up the home side after the break with a dangerous corner and then a run and shot straight at Ederson.
Lewis did have the ball in the back of the net after a quick break from City, but a free-kick had already been given for a foul by Martinelli.
His former assistant Mikel Arteta responded with three substitutions as the tacticians tried to find a way through.
ARSENAL: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 75), Rice, Jorginho (Partey 75), Odegaard, Trossard (Martinelli 46), Jesus, Nketiah (Havertz 75).
Subs: Ramsdale, Kiwior, Smith Rowe, Vieira, Nelson
Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Grealish, Gomez, Akanji, Bobb
OUT OF LUCK
The victory was wildly celebrated in the Emirates as Arsenal beat the team that overhauled their long-held lead at the top of the Premier League last season.
After City won each of our three encounters in the 2022/23 campaign, the Gunners have now claimed two wins over Guardiola‘s side just two months into the season.
We were heading for a win in the Community Shield at Wembley when Leandro Trossard’s 101st minute effort deflected in off Manuel Akanji to set up a penalty shootout defeat.
And it took another ricochet to settle our latest clash with Ake out of luck on this occasion.
A positive from the game was the welcome return of Stones for the first time in the Premier League this season.
The England international was crucial in our Treble-winning campaign both as a defender and central midfielder.
He was a second-half substitute at the Emirates, taking up the number six role, allowing Bernardo to move further forward.
It’s his first appearance since the Community Shield and we will also have Rodrigo returning from suspension after the international break.
Pep Guardiola reaction
“It was a tight game. Congratulations to Arsenal for the victory.
“We started really well in the first minutes, they started really well in the second half. With Martinelli they increased the rhythm.
“We didn’t create much, they didn’t create much. We defended really well, both teams. At the end one deflection was the difference.”
“It’s a setback. It’s still the beginning [of the season]. We’re far away from the end of the season. It was not the result we wanted. Against a tough opponent it is never easy to play.
“We felt the game was tough for both teams. Both are tough and organised and tense. We had a few chances in the beginning.
“In the end it was a deflection. In my opinion we gave them too much time to think at that moment. We have to be more intense in the pressing. It is what it is. It’s part of football and we move onto the next one.”
What it means
After starting the season with six straight wins, City have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.
We are now two points behind leaders Tottenham and Arsenal and ended our run of 12 successive Premier League victories over the Gunners.
Many of the first team squad now head to their national teams for the international break.
Hopefully everyone will return safe and sound for our next match when Brighton are the visitors the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 21 October at 15:00 (UK).
That’s followed by the Champions League clash away to Young Boys in Switzerland on Wednesday 25 October with the Manchester derby the following Sunday.
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