Arsenal v Manchester City player ratings: Gabriel 5, Saka 8; Ake 6, Rodri 7

Late Rodri goal earns Premier League leaders win at the Emirates Stadium

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An injury-time goal from midfielder Rodri earned Premier League leaders Manchester City a 2-1 victory against Arsenal in an ill-tempered game at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Arsenal felt they should have had an early penalty when Ederson challenged Martin Odegaard, with a VAR check backing referee Stuart Atwell’s decision not to point to the spot.

City could have opened the scoring when Ruben Dias flicked a header wide from a Raheem Sterling's fine cross but it would have been against the run of play as the Gunners dominated.

And the hosts deservedly took the lead when Bukayo Saka swept home a Kieran Tierney pass after 31 minutes. The likes of Tierney, Saka and Gabriel Martinelli caused City numerous problems down both flanks with Pep Guardiola's side finding themselves uncharacteristically on the back foot.

But Mikel Arteta — watching form home after testing positive for Covid — then saw his side shoot themselves in the foot after the break.

Having turned down Arsenal’s shouts for a penalty, Atwell incensed the home fans by pointing to the spot after looking at his pitchside VAR monitor and adjudging Granit Xhaka had fouled Bernardo Silva.

Gabriel caused a melee before the penalty, picking up a caution for scuffing the spot, although Mahrez finished coolly to level with City’s first shot on target.

Arsenal should have retaken the lead moments later, Aymeric Laporte and Ederson suffering a miscommunication which saw the former’s headed back-pass hooked off the line by Nathan Ake.

Martinelli should have tucked home the rebound but could only hit the post on the follow up, and things went from bad to worse for Arsenal when Gabriel was rightly shown a second yellow card moments later for holding back Gabriel Jesus.

City, though, showed why they are title favourites by snatching a victory that leaves them 11 points clear at the top. Deep into injury time, Kevin De Bruyne crossed into the box and Laporte’s effort was blocked into the path of Rodri, who tucked in the winner.

Player ratings from the match can be seen in the picture gallery above.

Updated: January 01, 2022, 3:57 PM
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