Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal: Sergio Aguero haunts Gunners once more to keep title race alive
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal FC at Etihad Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Man City via Getty Images)

Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal: Sergio Aguero haunts Gunners once more to keep title race alive

Another big game, another big performance.

alexturk
Alex Turk

Manchester City kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-1 win against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, courtesy of another Sergio Aguero hatrick.

It's now 21 games without an away win against one of the established top six and remain to be the sole top-flight side without a clean sheet on the road this season.

Unai Emery would've dreamed on travelling to Manchester and finally getting the better of Pep Guardiola after 11 unsuccessful attempts, but City's individual star power in attack proved to be too much for the visitors' weakened defence.

It's now six away matches without a win - and sixth place - for Arsenal, whilst Guardiola's men now lurk just two points behind the league leaders ahead of their trip to West Ham United tomorrow.

The story of the match

After going ahead just 24 seconds in at Newcastle United on Tuesday, it took City 48 seconds to take the lead here.

Arsenal failed to clear David Silva’s cross from the left before Aymeric Laporte picked out Sergio Aguero with a pinpoint delivery from the same area and the Argentine stooped to head home his 18th of the season from eight yards out.

Embed from Getty Images

City continued to inflict pressure and the game supporters felt they should’ve been awarded a penalty when Shkodran Mustafi had a tug on Aguero’s shirt inside the box just minutes later; referee Martin Atkinson wasn’t convinced though.

The hosts thought they deservedly doubled their lead on nine minutes.

More lacklustre marking from the Arsenal defence led to Laporte meeting a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick with a bullet header past Bernd Leno at the back post, but the impromptu left-back was narrowly offside and the linesman made no mistake in spotting it.

It was City’s turn to demonstrate some highly questionable marking two minutes later as Laurent Koscielny levelled the game out of absolutely nowhere.

Nacho Monreal was given the freedom to flick on Lucas Torreira’s in-swinging corner and found his defensive partner all alone five yards out to direct the ball into the roof of Ederson’s net.

An unforgiving as much as rapid start to proceedings, to say the least.

Embed from Getty Images

Guardiola’s side had charted 78% possession in the opening 25 minutes, whilst new Arsenal man and City’s 2012 Young Player of the Year Denis Suarez took to the sidelines for the first time to warm-up - if the goal wasn’t enough to liven the away end up…

The Gunners entered the final 10 minutes of the first period looking more likely to nick the second goal after spending large chunks of the opening stages dropping deep and feeding off scraps.

Ederson was forced into a fine piece of goalkeeping to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a run through on goal after Alexandre Lacazette looked to slot his strike partner through and his work wasn't quite done there.

The Brazil international needed strong hands to palm away Sead Kolasinac's driven effort on the edge of the area before the City defenders had to put their bodies on the line to clear danger threatened by Torreira and Lacazette.

Raheem Sterling made sure he marked his 300th club career appearance with a piece of typical brilliance to set up Aguero's second of the game in the 43rd minute.

Fernandinho found the 24-year-old out on the left wing with a precise, ranged pass which prompted a quick one-two in behind the Arsenal defence with Ilkay Gundogan before placing the ball across the six-yard box for Aguero to tap in.

Unai Emery's visitors were so deep and narrow but Sterling still had it all to do as he becomes the seventh-youngest player in Premier League history to register 100 goal involvements.

Embed from Getty Images

On the 60-minute mark, Aguero notched up the third goal of his 14th City hatrick with one of the least eye-catching of the lot.

Sterling played the role of provider again as Leno got a slight touch on his fizzed cross across the six-yard box but no-one was on Aguero and he could bundle home his, and City's, third with his midriff. Only Alan Shearer has more Premier League trebles now.

Arsenal players were intent that the goal shouldn't have stood due to handball, and they probably did have a valid argument. Replays showed that the ball hit the no. 10's arm before rolling across the line.

Where's VAR when you need it?

Guardiola undertook a routine substitution and pulled off Aguero for Gabriel Jesus with 10 minutes to spare. Another excellent display by City's all-time top goalscorer, a display which any football supporter should find joy in watching.

Embed from Getty Images

Takeaways

Aguero loves a goal against the Gunners

Sergio Aguero had scored in seven of his previous 11 games against Arsenal before kick-off... make that 10 in 12 now. City's prolific frontman came up with another big game performance to ensure Pep Guardiola's men aren't giving Liverpool a completely clear run to the Premier League title.

Sterling marks 300th career game with a flourish

At the age of 24, Raheem Sterling marked his 300th club career game in fashion by providing assists for Aguero's final two goals. It was another trademark hard-working display from the tricky winger which showed that it's no coincidence he's one of the central names of this exciting revolution at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal can't buy a win away from home

The Gunners have now lost 12 of their last 20 away league games, winning five and drawing three, and must now be feeling the pressure to turn their fortune around after being overtaken by Manchester United in the table. Unai Emery's men were impressive for most of the first-half but were ultimately outclasses, once again, by genuine title challengers in Manchester City.

VAVEL Logo