Man City late show at Arsenal opens up 11-point lead

London: Pep Guardiola admitted an exhausted Manchester City had luck on their side to open up an 11-point Premier League lead as the English champions came from behind to beat 10-man Arsenal 2-1 to start 2022 off on a winning note.

City are well on course for their fourth title in five seasons thanks to an 11-game winning run, but were made to toil until Rodri’s winner deep into stoppage time by the Gunners.

A 5-0 thrashing by City when the sides last met in August saw Arsenal off to their worst start to a league season in 67 years.

But Mikel Arteta’s men have rallied to rise to fourth in the table and showed why as they deservedly led at half-time through Bukayo Saka’s seventh goal of the season.

Riyad Mahrez levelled from the penalty spot before Gabriel Magalhaes stupidly got himself sent off for two quickfire bookings just before the hour mark.

And the 10 men just failed to hold out for a point when Rodri poked home from close range after Aymeric Laporte’s shot was blocked.

Plastic bottles rained down on the Spanish international as he celebrated with the Arsenal supporters furious as they voiced their frustration at the officiating after seeing a penalty appeal of their own waived away in the first half.

“They were better,” said Guardiola. “It was difficult because we didn’t have energy.”

City are one of only two Premier League teams not to have had a match postponed in recent weeks due to rising cases of coronavirus, meaning they have played nine games in the last 32 days.

Arsenal’s clash with Wolves in midweek had been called off and they looked the fresher side.

They ran the champions ragged in the first half despite missing the presence of Arteta, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time earlier this week.

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