Premier League leader Manchester City moved 11 points clear of Chelsea after a 2-1 win over 10-man Arsenal in a game filled with drama and controversy.
With Arsenal manager Arteta isolating after positive Covid-19 test, the home side really troubled City on Saturday, but the second half sending off of Gunners defender Gabriel completely changed the game’s dynamic and the visitors went on to wrap up an 11tth successive league win.
In the first half, Arsenal had claimed a penalty after Martin Ødegaard went down in the box under a challenge from City goalkeeper Ederson, but VAR ruled that referee Stuart Attwell hadn’t made a clear and obvious error and play continued.
The home team then took a deserved lead following a flowing move, which was finished off in style by Bukayo Saka.
Just before the hour, a frantic three minutes saw City equalize, Arsenal spurn a golden chance to retake the lead and then Gabriel red carded.
City’s equalizer came from a penalty and this time VAR asked Attwell to review his decision not to give a penalty after Granit Xhaka grabbed hold of Bernardo Silva’s shirt.
This time Attwell did give the penalty and Riyad Mahrez hammered the ball home, though before the spot-kick the referee booked Gabriel for trying to scuff up the spot.
Gabriel Martinelli somehow missed with the goal gaping after Nathan Aké cleared the ball off the line, before Arsenal’s Brazilian defender was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
“Confusing is the right word [on the penalties], Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg told BT Sport. “We are looking for consistency.
“For me, the Ødegaard penalty is clear … but if there is any consistency there the referee also comes to check.”
In stoppage time, City made its numerical advantage pay as Rodri scored from close range.
“Eleven games in a row is great in this period,” City manager Pep Guardiola told BT Sport. “Look at our bench. We have four academy players. We had many cases of Covid this season and injuries.
“Today with Kyle Walker was first time on the bench since Covid testing. We were incredibly tired and they were better. But football has happened. Sometimes it comes in our side.”
Meanwhile Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will miss his side’s key Premier League match at Chelsea on Sunday due to a suspected positive coronavirus test.
“Jurgen Klopp will miss Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Chelsea on Sunday after returning a suspected positive COVID-19 test result,” Liverpool said in a statement on Saturday.
“Testing of the entire first-team set-up has revealed no further positive cases within the playing squad in addition to the three confirmed by Klopp on Friday,” the statement added.
“Three backroom staff members have returned suspected positive results, however.”