A stoppage-time goal from midfielder Rodri gave Premier League leader Manchester City a 2-1 win at Arsenal on New Year’s Day as the home side finished a thrilling encounter with 10 men following the sending-off of defender Gabriel.
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta missed the game due to a positive COVID-19 test, but his side cast aside any lingering memories of its 5-0 thrashing at the hands of City in August as it pressed high up the pitch from the first whistle.
Its early pressure looked to have paid dividends when playmaker Martin Odegaard was upended in the box by goalkeeper Ederson, but neither the referee nor VAR deemed the challenge worthy of a penalty.
AS IT HAPPENED
The Gunners eventually took a deserved lead in the 31st minute when Bukayo Saka finished a sweeping move by rifling home Kieran Tierney’s pass, and they closed out the first half without allowing City a single shot on target.
Seeking their 11th Premier League win in a row, City were not prepared to give up and they flipped the script in the second half to claw their way back into the game.
The visitor levelled from the spot through Riyad Mahrez early in the second half when Granit Xhaka was adjudged to have fouled Bernardo Silva in the box after a VAR review.
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Gabriel Martinelli missed a glorious chance to put Arsenal back in the lead moments later before Gabriel was sent off for his second yellow card, picked up for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
Arsenal held its shape but it failed to deal with a high ball into the box in stoppage time and it fell to Rodri, who drilled it home to grab all three points with only their second effort on target in the game.
The win extends City’s lead over Chelsea, which takes on third-placed Liverpool on Sunday, to 11 points, while Arsenal is fourth on 35 points.