Player ratings: Torrid 12 minutes not the worst in Arsenal man’s horror show; Man City star toys with Arteta

Date published: Saturday 28th August 2021 2:35 - Jonny Whitfield

Jack Grealish, Rodri Man City

Granit Xhaka endured an Arsenal horror show, while Ferran Torres tormented the Gunners as Pep Guardiola’s men romped to a 5-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

The visitors actually had the better start, but City opened the scoring from their first attack through Ilkay Gundogan. From there, it was a nightmare for Arsenal.

Ferran Torres – who would later grab another goal and an assist – made it 2-0, before Granit Xhaka received a red card for a tackle on Joao Cancelo.

Gabriel Jesus – who had assisted Gundogan for the first – made it 3-0 before the break, before Rodri and Torres wrapped up a simple win for Pep Guardiola’s team.

Arsenal have still not scored a goal this season. Furthermore, they have lost their opening three league games for the first time since the 1954/55 season.

Manchester City

Ederson: Had a mixed first half, but ultimately came out unscathed. His distribution was solid, apart from two mistakes in which Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have scored. 7/10.

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson

Kyle Walker: Defensively impressive, holding off a rare Aubameyang run to earn a throw-in, while nice passing helped his defence out. 7/10.

Ruben Dias: Excellent in attack and defence. His pass into Gundogan sprung the trap for the foul leading to the opener, before – on his way to slot back into defence – he intercepted Bukayo Saka coolly. Got forward looking to get in on the action in the second half, slicing a volley over the top. 9/10.

Aymeric Laporte: Similar to Dias, some nice passing to slow the tempo when required but mucked in defensively. In the second half, he crossed for Dias to volley over as the defenders looked to get on the scoresheet. Had further chances to net, too. 8/10.

Joao Cancelo: Looked a threat throughout the first half in his unorthodox positions, but mopped up at the back when required. Some good crossing in the second half. 8/10.

Bernardo Silva: Influential going forward, including his dangerous low cross in which led to Torres’ first goal. 7/10.

Rodri: Man City’s calming pivot, as always. Won the ball back and distributed it effectively on multiple first-half occasions. He was calm in attack too and his well-placed effort beat Leno into the near post to make it 4-0. 9/10.

Ilkay Gundogan: City’s creator-in-chief, with most of what City did well going forward going through him. His pass helped set up the first goal, which he went on to score himself, before his headed lay-off helped City move the ball for the second. Similarly effective in the second half 10/10.

Gabriel Jesus: The Brazilian got two assists last weekend and notched another this time around, his pinpoint cross putting Gundogan’s first goal on a plate. Made great runs of his own and deservedly got his goal, but was impressive in defence too. 9/10.

Ferran Torres: Lively throughout the first half. Impressive reactions to take the flick on from Silva’s cross, before shooting away from Leno for 2-0. Got the assist for Rodri’s 4-0 goal, before easily heading in Riyad Mahrez’s cross for 5-0. Named Man of the Match by City. 10/10.

Jack Grealish: Took his time to get into the game, but showed his class by switching this way and that before a nice cross to tee up Jesus. Continued to be a pain for Arsenal in the second half. 9/10.

Substitutes:

Oleksandr Zinchenko (on for Walker, 46): Had little to do in the second half, with City dominating. 7/10.

Raheem Sterling (on for Silva, 75): Came on looking to stamp his mark and get into the starting line-up, sensing a perfect opportunity to do so. Looked a menace and had a shot into the side netting, a header which was saved by Leno and a curled shot which was a whisker wide. 8/10.

Riyad Mahrez (on for Jesus, 61): Came on and looked to pull the strings in attack. Provided the cross for Sterling’s header and got the assist for Torres late on. 8/10.


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Arsenal

Bernd Leno: Couldn’t do a great deal with any of the goals. Was perhaps unsighted by Calum Chambers for the first as he did get a hand to it. Commanded his box well at times, including clearing two corners. Made some good late saves in the second half, including from Sterling. 6/10.

Cedric Soares: Booked in the first half for pulling Grealish’s shirt and struggled to make much of an impact. Struggled to shake off Grealish for the opening goal, which may have helped his cause. 3/10.

Calum Chambers: Should have done much better to challenge Gundogan for the opening goal and was slammed by BT Sport pundit Joe Cole for going down after contact from Laporte in the box for the second. More poor defending saw Torres get in between him for 5-0. 3/10.

Rob Holding: Was not marking Gundogan for the first goal and was not helped by Chambers going down for the second, but still struggled to get a hold on City. 3/10.

Sead Kolasinac: Picked up another yellow card in a tough first half, clashing with Gabriel Jesus. 3/10.

Kieran Tierney: Arsenal’s best defender in the first half. Made three crucial defensive interventions throughout and produced a good cross for Saka in one of the Gunners’ rare attacking moments. 6/10.

Martin Odegaard: Hardly had a meaningful touch of the ball in the first half, with Man City dominating. 3/10.

Emile Smith Rowe: Arsenal actually had the brighter start of the two teams and Smith Rowe was involved, but his influence waned, other than almost scoring after pressing a hesitant Ederson on his goal line. 4/10.

Granit Xhaka Arsenal

Granit Xhaka: Struggled to make an impact in the opening 12 minutes when Man City made it 2-0 and was then sent off. He went in on Cancelo with both feet in the air. He may not have caught his man, but the nature of the tackle made up referee Martin Atkinson and VAR Darren England’s minds. 2/10.

Bukayo Saka: Two nice passes into Aubameyang were the highlights of a quiet first half. Came off for Mohamed Elneny at half time. 4/10.

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangHad a shot saved by Ederson in the first half, but he was offside and that summed up his attacking influence. Came off for Alexandre Lacazette just before the hour mark. 3/10.

Substitutes:

Mohamed Elneny (on for Saka, 46): Should have done more to close down Rodri for 4-0. Instead, his half-hearted attempt allowed the Brazilian to get his shot away. 3/10.

Alexandre Lacazette (on for Aubameyang, 59): Barely got a touch and had no influence going forward, such was City’s dominance. 2/10.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (on for Odegaard, 75): Barely featured in the second half. 3/10.

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