Man City eased into the semi-finals of the EFL Cup after inflicting more misery on Mikel Arteta’s beleaguered Arsenal.
Arsenal hopes of a fast start to calm their nerves amid a dreadful run were immediately dashed inside three minutes.
Oleksandr Zinchenko found space down the left before whipping in a teasing ball towards the front post.
Gabriel Jesus somehow ghosted in between the lax marking of Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Magalhaes to glance his header inside the far post unmarked.
Mustafi's mistake all the more frustrating when you consider he's one of several players who wants to leave the club. #ARSMCI
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) December 22, 2020
Man City put a predictable stranglehold on possession, but the hosts did steady their ship as the game settled into a cat and mouse affair.
City failed to make the most of Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Rúnarsson, though a pair of set pieces that ultimately led to nothing did result.
Against the run of play, Arsenal then secured a lifeline when Alexandre Lacazette brought parity back to the scores.
Gabriel Martinelli latched onto a loose ball down the left flank before standing up a delightful ball into the six-yard box.
The delivery was too high for the first target, but ended up perfect for Lacazette who reacted quickly to head home under pressure.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 22, 2020
The stalemate was almost short-lived when Rúnarsson made up for his earlier error when superbly denying Jesus in a one-on-one situation.
On the stroke of half-time Arsenal were handed a major blow when City’s stand-in goalkeeper caught Martinelli in a forceful challenge.
The Brazilian stayed down for several minutes while receiving treatment on his right ankle, but thankfully was able to continue as the interval arrived.
Martinelli lasted just three minutes after the break before succumbing to his injury. The much-maligned Nicolas Pepe was called upon to deputise.
The bad news did not end there, as Rúnarsson cemented his shaky display with a goalkeeping howler to put City back in front.
Riyad Mahrez presides over a free-kick on the edge of the area, but his effort appeared destined for the gloves of the second-string stopper.
The ball somehow squirted off his gloved into the side netting in a scenario he would’ve expected to save 999 times from 1,000.
Runarsson had it covered.
— Goal (@goal) December 22, 2020
Things went from bad to worse moments later when Phil Foden made it 3-1 with a sublime finish. Replays suggested the young attacker had strayed offside, but without VAR available in the EFL Cup, the goal stood.
Aymeric Laporte then added a fourth after delightful work from Phil Foden to craft a yard of space then cross.
The last man Arsenal wished to see introduced to the action was then called upon as Sergio Aguero trotted on to face a tired and demoralised defence.
With the game effectively won, however, the final quarter of an hour played out with little in the way of goalmouth action.
Man City ultimately progressed to the semi-final stages via a 4-1 scoreline.