A brutal showing from Manchester City cut a lacklustre Arsenal into little red ribbons, as City ran out 6-3 winners in an extraordinary game at the Etihad Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team were sparkling in their attacking play and continued to threaten throughout despite Sergio Aguero’s injury early in the first half. Arsene Wenger’s team looked to be feeling the effects of their midweek trip to Napoli and will need to regroup ahead of a crucial clash with Chelsea at the Emirates next Monday.
As is the case in any game containing nine goals, there are some villains and some heroes. So let’s take a look at the best and worst performers from a marvelous contest:
The Brazilian destroyer has been growing in stature in recent weeks, and he capped off a fine performance with a brace.
After an iffy start to life in Manchester, his 90 minutes against Arsenal showcased exactly what he is all about. In short, a complete midfield player.
He was all over the pitch; making tackles, shutting down space and making clever passes. He chose the right moments to drive forward with the ball. And in front of goal he showcased unnerving class and composure.
In Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, Manchester City may well have the Premier League’s two most complete midfielders at their disposal. And to think, this axis is in its infancy. They are only going to get better.
Despite being on the end of a bit of an embarrassing scoreline, the England forward is one player who can hold his head up high.
Walcott helped himself to a goal in either half on his return to the side. His second in particular—a superb curling strike from the corner of the penalty area—went a long way to suggesting he will not take long to get back up to speed.
In truth, he was badly let down by his teammates, who looked jaded and out of sorts throughout. Walcott’s return and all-round performance will have been the main positive for Arsene Wenger in this game.
Having been shunted out to the left wing, presumably to offer an energetic, unyielding presence up against City’s dynamic right-hand side, Wilshere was always going to have a job on his hands.
But his performance here was very poor. The England man was on the periphery of the game throughout the contest and whenever he found himself in possession, he was either too lightweight or too languid when looking to get attacks going.
Having been rested for Arsenal’s midweek jaunt to Napoli, you would have expected Wilshere to put in a real performance here. But nothing came off for him.
There is plenty of competition for a space in midfield given the wealth of players Arsenal have in this area. Any more showings similar to this one and Wilshere could well be facing a stint on the substitutes bench.
If ever a striker looked in desperate need of a rest...
The Frenchman was physically dominated by Manchester City centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis. When you’re playing at the Etihad you need a centre-forward to battle hard, hold up the ball and work the opposition defenders hard.
Giroud has played a huge amount of football in the early stages of this campaign and the last few weeks have started to indicate he might need a bit of a breather.
It was no surprise when he was withdrawn for Nicklas Bendtner with 15 minutes remaining and the game pretty much up.