Raheem Sterling sinks Arsenal to reignite Manchester City’s Premier League run
Raheem Sterling capped a rousing second-half comeback by Manchester City with the winning goal as Arsenal squandered a lead to lose 2-1 for the second time in five days in the English Premier League on Sunday.football Updated: Dec 18, 2016 23:55 IST
Raheem Sterling capped a rousing second-half comeback by Manchester City with the winning goal as Arsenal squandered a lead to lose 2-1 for the second time in five days in the English Premier League on Sunday.
The England winger collected Kevin De Bruyne’s sensational cross-field pass before cutting inside and driving home a low finish in the 71st minute at Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal led through Theo Walcott’s fifth-minute strike — another goal that raised questions about City’s defensive weaknesses — before Leroy Sane equalized in the 47th with his first goal for City.
While City moved back to within seven points of Chelsea, Arsenal dropped nine points off the leaders. It has been a poor week for Arsene Wenger’s wide, which lost from 1-0 up at Everton on Tuesday in another poor display that raised questions about its title credentials.
The defense has been City’s major weakness under Pep Guardiola, and the way it was opened by Arsenal for Walcott’s goal was alarming.
Hector Bellerin was allowed to power up the field unchallenged from right back and pass the ball to Sanchez, who had dropped deep to also find space between City defense and midfield. Sanchez’s reverse pass located Walcott between two defenders and the winger composed himself before slipping a low shot past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
City was often open at the back while its build-up play was slow from the central midfield, where Yaya Toure and Fernando were deputizing for the suspended Fernandinho and the injured Ilkay Gundogan.
Sterling, a winger playing as a lone striker as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, headed wide moments after Walcott’s goal but Arsenal’s defense held out comfortably until the equalizer, which was also notable for poor defending.
Silva clipped a first-time pass over the top for Sane — who may have been slightly offside — to race clear and sidefoot home for a first goal in his 13th appearance for City.
Suddenly it was all City, whose tempo and urgency noticeably increased in the second half.
Sane was denied in a one-on-one opportunity by Cech, who tipped aside De Bruyne’s deflected shot. De Bruyne was growing in influence and it was his stunning pass that set up the winner.
First Published: Dec 18, 2016 23:35 IST