Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City: Rodri snatches dramatic win at the Emirates
Rodri struck a stoppage-time winner as Manchester City came from behind to snatch a dramatic 2-1 victory over 10-man Arsenal.
In the absence of Mikel Arteta following a positive COVID-19 test, Bukayo Saka put Albert Stuivenberg's Gunners ahead at the Emirates with a neat finish in the 31st minute.
However, Riyad Mahrez equalised from the penalty spot just before Gabriel Magalhaes was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
And there was to be one final twist in the third minute of stoppage time, as Rodri prodded home to give Pep Guardiola's side an 11th straight league win.
City had won each of their previous nine Premier League matches against Arsenal but fell behind just after the half-hour mark.
Kieran Tierney was allowed to drive forward and feed Saka, who swept a first-time shot into the corner for his fourth league strike in three games.
That was the Gunners' first goal in six top-flight meetings with City, and they nearly doubled the advantage as Gabriel Martinelli twice shot just wide.
City responded 11 minutes after the restart.
Granit Xhaka was adjudged to have fouled Bernardo Silva following a lengthy VAR review, and Mahrez sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong the way as he scored for the fifth match running.
Nathan Ake then cleared off the line following a mix-up between Aymeric Laporte and Ederson, before Martinelli hit the post with the goal gaping.
Arsenal were reduced to 10 men soon after, as Gabriel received his second yellow card in quick succession after clattering into Gabriel Jesus.
And with the contest heading for stalemate, the ball broke kindly for Rodri and the Spain international guided past Ramsdale to snatch the win.
What does it mean? City's streak continues
That is now 10 Premier League wins in a row against Arsenal for City, who move 11 points clear at the top of the table.
It was also an eighth victory for the champions in their past nine fixtures played on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, Arsenal's five-match winning streak comes to an end with what was only a second defeat in 11 on January 1.
He may have been on the losing side, but Thomas produced a wonderful performance for Arsenal from the middle of the park.
Indeed, the former Atletico Madrid midfielder was an imperious presence, engaging in (15) – and winning (nine) – more duels than any of his team-mates, while his eight recoveries and four tackles were not bettered by another Arsenal player either.
The numerical disadvantage following the dismissal of Gabriel eventually proved costly for Arsenal.
The centre-half received his first yellow card for scuffing the penalty spot in a bid to thwart Mahrez.
Then, just 78 seconds later, he was completely irresponsible; recklessly clattering into Jesus and leaving the referee with no choice but to give him his marching orders.
Key Opta facts
- Man City's win means they will end New Year's Day with an 11-point lead at the top of the Premier League table; in the competition's history, only Manchester United in 1993-94 and City themselves in 2017-18 (both 12 points) had a bigger lead at the end of January 1.
- Pep Guardiola has faced Arsenal more often in league competition without losing than any other team throughout his whole managerial career (P12 W11 D1 L0).
- Arsenal have now lost 10 straight league encounters with City, while also losing their eighth Premier League game in a row against the competition’s reigning champions.
- Since Arteta's first game in charge on Boxing Day in 2019, Arsenal have scored 36 Premier League goals by players aged 21 or younger, eight more than any other team.
- Rodri's goal, timed at 92:28, is City’s latest winning goal in a Premier League match since Gabriel Jesus v Southampton in May 2018 (93:01).
Both sides are in cup action next. Arsenal welcome Liverpool for the opening leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday, before City travel to Swindon Town in the FA Cup a day later.