Manchester City made a winning return to Premier League action with a comfortable 3-0 victory over 10-man Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling capitalised on a David Luiz error to give us the lead on the stroke of half-time with his first goal of 2020 and when Luiz was dismissed for hauling down Riyad Mahrez early in the second half, Kevin De Bruyne converted the resulting penalty.

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Phil Foden came off the bench to wrap up the points during 11 minutes of added time, after Eric Garcia was stretchered off following a nasty collision with Ederson.

On a landmark day for English football, the game began with a powerful message, as players and staff from both teams took a knee immediately before kick-off to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

What happened

There was a slow start to proceedings at a rain-soaked Etihad, where, after more than 100 days without a competitive game, both sides were content to feel their way into the contest.

A De Bruyne free-kick – comfortably tipped over by Bernd Leno – was the only chance of note in the opening exchanges, before City clicked into gear and took control of the game on the half hour mark.

Inspired by the Belgian’s artistry, the hosts forced Leno into three smart saves in as many minutes, with Sterling’s angled drive pushed away before the German ‘keeper reacted well to deny David Silva and Mahrez.

Sterling then sent a glorious chance over the bar, but made no mistake minutes later, when he fired past Leno after Luiz turned De Bruyne’s cross invitingly into the winger’s path.

Three minutes into the second half and the game was well and truly City’s.

With Mahrez chasing a loose ball, Luiz pulled him back and received his marching orders from Anthony Taylor.

De Bruyne was ice cool from 12-yards, sending Leno the wrong way as he picked out the bottom right corner.

From there it almost looked like a training exercise for City, who dominated possession and played the game in the Arsenal half.

Leno was again called into action as he turned a De Bruyne effort round the post following good link up with Sterling and, as the game reached its finale, Guardiola rang the changes to make use of the additional two substitutes.

It was a composed and professional display and the only negative on a good night’s work came 10 minutes from time when Ederson raced out of his goal to make a clearance and collided with Garcia, who was stretchered off following a lengthy stoppage.

There was no let up from City in added time, however, and a flowing move that saw defence turned into attack finished with Foden crashing into an empty net after Aguero saw an effort crack the post.


                        City ease to victory over 10-man Arsenal on Premier League return

Guardiola's reaction

"In general, I cannot be anything but happy with the performance and the team. We had good shape. It's a good thing for the next games."

Statzone

Raheem Sterling is the first player to score a goal in the month of June in the English top-flight since Walter Rickett did so for Sheffield United against Stoke on 14 June, 1947.

Man of the Match – Kyle Walker

A solid defensive display kept Arsenal's talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, quiet and he was equally effective going forward.

His powerful running caused the Gunners' defence numerous problems and created space for his team-mates to exploit.


                        City ease to victory over 10-man Arsenal on Premier League return

What it means

We have strengthened our grip on second place with this victory, which puts us seven points clear of third placed Leicester City after 29 games.

Next up

As will be the case for the remainder of the season, it is a quick turn around for City, who are back in action against Burnley in five days’ time.

We host the Clarets in what is their first game back after the restart on Monday 22 June, with kick-off at 20:00 (UK).

That game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, but if you can’t tune in, you can follow it live in our Matchday Centre here on mancity.com, where you can also watch our live matchday show, We’re Not Really Here, providing all the pre-match build up and post-match reaction.