Arsenal’s difficult start to the season continued as they lost 5-0 at Manchester City on Saturday, with Granit Xhaka’s first-half red card only compounding the pressure on under-fire manager Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners, who arrived at the Etihad having lost their previous eight Premier League fixtures against City, made a terrible start after falling behind to Ilkay Gundogan’s seventh-minute header.
City doubled their lead just five minutes later through Ferran Torres’s close-range finish after yet more woeful Arsenal defending, then Xhaka saw red for a two-footed lunge on Joao Cancelo ten minutes before half-time.
Gabriel Jesus added a third two minutes before the interval after fine approach play from Jack Grealish to end the game as a contest, with Torres heading in his second to complete the scoring six minutes from time.
Arsenal – who failed to have a shot on target in the match – drop to the bottom of the table after losing their opening three league fixtures of a season for the first time since 1954, while the champions go top ahead of Saturday afternoon’s contests.
How Arsenal slipped bottom of the table
All the pre-match talk heading into the game focussed on whether City were short in attack this season after missing out on both Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo this week, but Guardiola’s side delivered the perfect response with this five-star showing against a tame Arsenal.
In fact, it did not take the hosts long to make the breakthrough as Silva and Jesus combined down the right, before the latter’s dinked centre was headed home at the far post by of all people, City’s diminutive skipper Gundogan, who opened his account for the season after top scoring for the champions last time around.
One soon became two after yet more woeful defending from Arsenal, who failed to clear Silva’s hopeful ball into the area, with Cedric’s fluffed clearance falling straight at the feet of Torres, who could not miss from six yards out.
The hosts were unsurprisingly unchanged from last Saturday’s 5-0 rout of Norwich City, while Arsenal made four changes to the side that were outplayed 2-0 at home by Chelsea on Sunday.
New signing Martin Odegaard, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac all started, while Bukayo Saka had also recovered from the knee injury he picked up in the Carabao Cup win over West Brom on Wednesday.
It soon went from bad to worse for the Gunners when Xhaka was shown a straight red for a reckless, two-footed lunge on Cancelo, the experienced Swiss midfielder’s fourth Premier League red since August 2016.
And it did not take long for City to exploit their numerical advantage as Grealish set up Jesus for a simple close-range finish after a quick City break and a mesmerising run from their £100m playmaker.
That strike ended the game as a contest, with the second period largely resembling a training game in the Manchester sun as Torres headed in a late fifth to heap more pressure on Arteta as Arsenal lost a third straight game without scoring to kick off their new campaign.
City take on Leicester City at the King Power, while Arsenal face newly promoted Norwich City at the Emirates, with both Premier League games kicking off at 3pm next Saturday.