Three-time defending champions Manchester City secured their place in the semi-final stage of yet another edition of the Carabao Cup as they handed Arsenal a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Jesus’ header put City in front as early as the third minute. Although the visitors began the game in the ascendancy, they were pegged back by Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in the 31st minute.
City wrested back the initiative in the second half. Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Aymeric Laporte propelled Pep Guardiola’s side into the next round while putting more pressure on under-fire Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
Having made short work of their midweek matchup, City can now look forward to the visit of Newcastle United on Boxing Day. Arsenal welcome London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates on the same day as they look to breathe new life into their failing Premier League campaign.
On that note, here are the hits and flops from City’s 4-1 drubbing of Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday.
#1 Hit: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
The Brazilian striker made a near-instant impact on proceedings by putting his side ahead in the third minute, beating Runarsson to a cross and heading into an empty net.
Jesus, who favours pulling out to the left flank instead of playing through the middle, gave the Arsenal backline all sorts of issues with his unorthodox positioning and clever runs. He found a lot of space in behind the defence and linked up well with his teammates.
The City man showcased his dribbling skills as well. He got two Arsenal players booked in the space of two minutes in the first half after his trickery drew fouls from a couple of frustrated defenders.
Had Jesus been slightly more clinical with his finishing, the game could have been beyond doubt in the first half itself. His decision-making in front of goal continued to let him down on occasion, despite an impressive goal haul in his City career.
#2 Flop: Runar Alex Runarsson (Arsenal)
It was a night to forget for Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper as he put in an error-strewn performance that did his side absolutely no favours.
The Icelandic international’s confidence took a big hit in the third minute itself. He committed himself to reaching a cross that he was beaten to by Gabriel Jesus, who headed the ball into the vacant net.
The early jolt seemed to play on Runarsson’s mind throughout the game. He looked extremely indecisive with the ball at his feet, playing a number of misplaced passes out from the back.
However, the worst was yet to come for Runarsson as he punched Riyad Mahrez’s second half free-kick into the roof of the net even as the Algerian’s strike seemed to be heading straight for him at a manageable pace.
This calamitous error knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal and put paid to any hopes that the Gunners had of securing the win. They meekly went on to concede two more goals while struggling to create any goalscoring opportunities of their own.
While Runarsson has performed well in his previous outings for his side, this horror showing indicates that he is still way off challenging Bernd Leno for the number one jersey at the club.