Arsenal fell apart in the first half against Manchester City on Sunday to concede a 3-0 lead they never looked like coming back from.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal comes on for Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal comes on for Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal had the first chance of the match as Gabriel Martinelli fought his way through on goal and forced a save from Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson. Within a minute though, City had the lead as Kevin De Bruyne finished off a counter-attack.

City doubled their lead through Raheem Sterling before an excellent finish from De Bruyne again made it 3-0. The midfielder should have had a hat-trick but for a world-class save from Bernd Leno.

Those were really the only chances either side had in the opening 45 minutes, but City were ruthless and made the most of every opening.

The game was dead in the second half and hardly anything of note happened bar Mesut Özil storming off and Emile Smith Rowe making his debut.

Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.


  • Bernd Leno 8 – Leno made one fantastic save from De Bruyne and another charging out to close down Gabriel Jesus. The goalkeeper continues to cover himself in glory even in heavy defeats. If only he had a team interested in defending.


  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles 4.5 – Easily the best starting defender for Arsenal, but that’s not saying much. Maitland-Niles had a decent second half, making a couple of clearances, interceptions and defensive aerials, more than his teammates managed in the full match. He still had a poor first-half along with the rest though.
  • Calum Chambers 3 – A catalogue of errors for the first goal within two minutes. Failed to track Jesus’ run in behind, failed to close him down, failed to stop the cross. It was a sign of things to come in a performance to forget.
  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos 3 – As guilty as the rest of the defence in failing to stop City but he also looked as nervous as I’ve ever seen him on the ball. He hesitated constantly and every touch seemed to put him in more trouble.
  • Sead Kolasinac 3 – Another disaster as Kolasinac racked up a total of zero defensive actions before an injury led to his substitution.


  • Lucas Torreira 5 – There were two sides to Torreira’s performance. He won the ball back regularly, but he did so by pressing high up the field. When City passed around him and Guendouzi it left the defence exposed. He needed to be doing that same job in a much deeper position.
  • Matteo Guendouzi 3 – As with Torreira, Guendouzi was pressing too high up. He didn’t have anything to redeem his performance though, getting dribbled as often as he got a tackle in.
  • Mesut Özil 3 – It’s not his game, but Özil’s total unwillingness to press cost Arsenal. Guendouzi and Torreira so often did it for him, leaving spaces behind them. When only half the midfield and forwards are following the gameplan you’re destined to fail.


  • Nicolas Pepe – Had one fizzing shot blocked and completed a few dribbles and tricks to get out of trouble. Pepe at least tried to make the most of the little he had to work with.
  • Gabriel Martinelli 7 – Arsenal’s main threat going forward in the first half. As De Bruyne noted afterwards, the only forward to consistently track back too. The team just couldn’t get him involved enough.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 4 – An anonymous performance in and out of possession, the striker’s only half-chance came from a header he put just wide of the target. He did try to close down City players (unlike some) but mostly they just dribbled past him with ease.


  • Bukayo Saka 6 – With City already 3-0 up, Saka didn’t have a huge test at left-back, but he still did pretty well considering he was out of position. Depending on Kolasinac’s injury, we may see a lot more of the winger at full-back, so at least he had the confidence boost of Arsenal not conceding any more.
  • Emile Smith Rowe 6 – This game probably would have gone better if Smith Rowe started. At least he made an effort to press, and he completed a few nice turns to get Arsenal going forwards and draw free-kicks or bookings. A solid PL debut.
  • Joe Willock N/A – Made a few passes, tried a long ball. He was only on the pitch for 10 minutes in a dead game.
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