It’s fair to say we weren’t overly impressed with the first game back after 100 days, with a fairly drab 0-0 draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United hardly getting the pulses racing.
Which is why it was a good thing that the fixture list coughed up a tastier affair with Manchester City hosting Arsenal.
Two of the biggest clubs in the country going head to head. Were we set for a level game with two sides dealing blow after blow at each other? Or was it going to be immensely one-side with mistakes galore?
Twas the latter, in case you didn’t know.
David Luiz-inspired, I may add.
But prior to kick off we saw another magnificent display of solidarity from both sets of players, who all took a knee in protest of racial discrimination. A moving scene for an issue that must be addressed.
Then, the football. That we’ve been longing for.
An unfortunate opening for Arsenal, in which Pablo Mari absolutely clattered Raheem Sterling, got worse when Granit Xhaka’s Premier League return was ended after just seven minutes. The midfielder suffered an injury and was forced off, but Twitter took no prisoners.
Then it was Pablo Mari’s turn. Sure, he looked nowhere neat reaching Kyle Walker, but suffering an ankle strain during it clearly didn’t help.
20 minutes in, two players down for Arsenal. Not a great start.
But while Arsenal had looked decent during the opening exchanges – more than most expected – it was City who started turning the screw. Raheem Sterling was the first to test Bernd Leno, who saved well but then it was David Silva’s turn…..and then Sterling again.
It was worrying for the Gunners.
The interwebs were quick to single out Sterling for his misses. Based on them all, you’d think he never scores…
How long was it going to take for an Arsenal player to make a mistake?
More specifically, how long was it going to take for an Arsenal defender to make a mistake?
Turns out, not long. And in David Luiz’s case, 22 minutes into his appearance.
Sterling profits, 1-0 to City.
Did you think he was done there? Did you think the error-strewn Arsenal defence were going to stop? If so, you were gravely mistaken.
A fine cross-field pass found Riyad Mahrez in the second half and Luiz, eager to continue impressing, hauled him down in the box and got sent off.
So much for a comeback.
Oh, by the way, De Bruyne scored the spot-kick. Obviously.
But while Luiz’s performance will likely grab much of the attention post-match, it’s also worth highlighting that De Bruyne was at his usual best.
With very little happening – barring City dominating the ball – as the game played out, it was Twitter’s turn to praise the finest midfielder in world football right now.
He is, isn’t he?
There was time for another goal, however, as Phil Foden finished off a slick City move to bag the third. It came in stoppage time, following a nasty looking collision that forced Eric Garcia off.
Football came back, alright.
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