Manchester City returned to Premier League action, but it was about as sloppy as it could have been. Between City’s sometimes shabby passing and Arsenal’s abysmal defending, you could be forgiven for blaming more than just the rain. But, the Citizens quality shone through the weather to play another wild game of Premier League football.
Manchester City Return in Sloppy Premier League Night
Manchester City Uncharacteristically Poor by Premier League Standards
Arsenal and Manchester City started their game more poorly than the Hawkeye Technology used during the evenings’ early kick-off. But as the half continued on, City did begin to find some rhythm. And as we would all expect, that rhythm started with Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian’s slow start to the game took some time to shake off, but by the half-hour mark, he really started to get going.
And with his ascension City’s chances started flying. David Silva forced a big save and Raheem Sterling had two big chances to take the lead. But, what finally broke the deadlock was a mistake by the Gunners defender, David Luiz.
Luis, who had come on after just 21 minutes to replace an injured Pablo Mari, wasn’t awful for the first 20 minutes or so. However, when De Bruyne played a nice ball around the corner, Luiz completely misjudged it, playing Sterling in. After a poor chip in the same position earlier he wasn’t going to miss this one.
By the time the second half got into its stride, Luiz had already made a permanent mark. After the Brazilian’s first-half mistake he didn’t even make it five minutes before he got sent off for a last-man tackle on Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez made a lovely chest control to round Luiz forcing him into an awful tackle.
There is nothing that changes a game quite like a red card. But a red card from a substitute centre-back is as close to the kiss of death as they come. In the end, it allowed Manchester City to get into their massive squad depth a little earlier. Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Rodrigo and Fernandinho we’re all able to make their first appearance of the restart with over 20 minutes to spare.
In those 20 minutes, Manchester City were able to put together some nice play but it’s hard to take anything from how they played against a ten-man Arsenal side. City played well for moments and was fortunate that a rebound fell perfectly for Foden to get a lovely goal. But also took a serious blow when Eric Garcia was cleaned out Ederson.
Biggest Takeaway from Premier League Return
Easily the biggest takeaway has to be the performance of Eric Garcia. The now 19-year-old Spanish defender was absolutely stellar for almost the entire game. He had a few missed passes here and there, but never put a foot wrong in his defensive duty.
Garcia is obviously incredibly talented, and it says a lot that Pep Guardiola decided to start him in the first game back. But what really shows his quality is how it seemed like Arsenal had more chances in the ten minutes after his injury than they did for the 80 before.
Garcia’s injury will probably not effect who was going to play on Monday against Burnley, though. With a more physical team, it was likely that Nicholas Otamendi would get the start in that game. But hopefully, Garcia will be able to return to the field again soon.
As far as the game, City will be glad that they were able to beat Arsenal pretty handily on their return to action. Whether or not a performance like this will carry into their future games, or even build something for a future Champions League tie, only time will tell.