We succumbed top spot in the Premier League for the first time since August after Manchester City claimed a 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium to leapfrog us in the table.
The reigning champions took an unwarranted lead on 24 minutes when Kevin De Bruyne pounced on an error to precisely lob Aaron Ramsdale, but we bounced back and drew level three minutes before the break through a Bukayo Saka penalty.
After finding ourselves on the right side of some VAR fortune after a City penalty was overturned, second half goals from Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland saw us slip to our first home defeat of the campaign.
Good start extinguished
The opening 24 minutes were played amidst a ferocious atmosphere at Emirates Stadium as the Gooners backed the boys with passion, leading us to come flying out of the traps and heap plenty of pressure on our opponents.
An early sign of intent came when Granit Xhaka flashed a fierce drive over the bar just a couple of minutes in, and we could have taken the lead midway through the first half when a wicked Oleksandr Zinchenko cross found Eddie Nketiah unmarked in the box, but our striker miscued his header and a great chance went begging.
And that would prove crucial as City went straight up the other end and found the net. A clearance by Ederson was flicked on by Haaland, allowing Grealish and Takehiro Tomiyasu to chase it down. Our defender got there first but under pressure, his backpass to Ramsdale was too weak, allowing De Bruyne to nip in and lob the ball into an unguarded net.
Saka strikes back
That setback came completely against the run of play, but we responded to it well and continued to look the more dangerous side. Moments after falling behind, Tomiyasu nearly found the perfect response when he got himself on the end of a cross but saw an awkward volley attempt fly over.
But on 42 minutes, we managed to restore the parity we at least deserved. Nketiah raced into the area and after nudging the ball past Ederson towards the goal, it was hacked off the line by Nathan Ake, but referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot after he spotted the City keeper had clattered into the attacker.
After a lengthy delay, and the shot-stopper escaping a second yellow card having been booked for time-wasting minutes before, Saka kept his cool to send the keeper the wrong way and tuck into the bottom corner to restore the Emirates roar.
However we were a lick of paint away from going into the break trailing when deep into stoppage-time at the end of the first half, De Bruyne whipped a free-kick into the box which found a diving Rodri at the back post, and his downward header flicked off the feet of Ake and pinged onto the crossbar, with Ramsdale clearing away the remaining danger.
The second half was just as enthralling, and it looked as though Guardiola’s team would be awarded a spot-kick of their own on 57 minutes when Taylor pointed to the spot after adjudging Haaland to have been brought down by Gabriel. As the protests went on, VAR intervened and correctly ruled the Norwegian striker offside and the decision was overturned.
The game was on a real knife-edge at that point as both teams threw players forward trying to seal a precious three points. Nketiah was a whisker away from turning home a Tomiyasu centre, Jorginho had to clear off his own line from Haaland after Ramsdale shovelled away a Rodri header, and then came a hammer blow on 72 minutes.
A loose pass by Gabriel was hoovered up by City, and Haaland charged forward before the ball went through Ilkay Gundogan to Grealish, who saw his shot deflect off the diving Tomiyasu and beat Ramsdale.
And 10 minutes after that, the game was gone when City added a third. Gundogan brought the ball towards the box before finding De Bruyne, who squared for Haaland to take a touch and fire into the bottom corner and ensure City became the first team in history to win seven-straight league games on our turf.
Facts and stats
We have lost our last 11 Premier League games against Manchester City, our longest losing run against an opponent in our league history.
City have won each of their last 23 Premier League games on a Wednesday, the longest winning run on a specific day of the week in the competition's history.
Erling Haaland has scored 26 goals in the Premier League this season, the joint-most by a Manchester City player in a single campaign in the competition, alongside Sergio Aguero in 2014/15.
De Bruyne has scored six league goals against us, his most against any opponent in his career. The Belgian has also scored 26 goals from outside the box in the Premier League since joining Manchester City in 2015, the most of any player.
Bukayo Saka has scored all four penalties he's taken for us, with those coming against Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Jack Grealish had one goal and no assists in eight appearances in the Premier League this season heading into the World Cup break, while he has two goals and three assists from nine matches since the competition returned.
We’re on the road for our next two league matches, as we head to Aston Villa on Saturday for a 12.30pm kick-off, before heading across the Midlands a week later when we take on Leicester City.
We then return to the Emirates to take on Everton in a fortnight’s time on Wednesday, March 1.
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