Manchester City restarted their Premier League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Arsenal defender David Luiz endured a nightmare evening after coming off the bench in the first half, first making a mistake to gift Raheem Sterling the opening goal before conceding a second-half penalty and receiving a red card for a challenge on Riyad Mahrez. Kevin De Bruyne, City’s best player on the night, scored from the spot to make it 2-0 before substitute Phil Foden scored a third in stoppage time to round off a straightforward evening for Pep Guardiola’s team.
Sterling had reached 20 goals in the competition when the suspension came but hadn’t scored since December before Luiz’s first mistake of the night gifted him the chance to get his first of 2020. City have plenty of play for this season — even if it’s not the title — and their chances of success will be improved greatly if Sterling is back scoring goals.
There was a bit of rust and a few good chances at the end of the first half that were missed, but after three months without a competitive game and just three weeks’ preparation, it was to be expected. It was the perfect start, aside from a late injury to Eric Garcia that saw the youngster carried off.
– Stream new episodes of ESPN FC seven days a week on ESPN+
Manager rating out of 10
7 — It could not have gone much better for Guardiola. He was concerned about his players’ fitness before the restart and that will still be a worry with Burnley to come on Monday, but Arsenal ensured it was a soft return. Mikel Arteta’s side looked comfortable for 25 minutes — until Luiz came on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 7 — Barely had a save to make but his passing was spot on, including one 50-yard arrow in the build-up to the penalty.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 — Fantastic burst down the right after 20 minutes but couldn’t find a blue shirt with the cross.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 8 — Wasn’t troubled defensively and looked sharp all night. Impressive performance after a long layoff.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 — The break allowed the Frenchman to return to full fitness. Nearly got caught out with an early long ball but otherwise didn’t put a foot wrong.
DF Eric Garcia, 7 — The 19-year-old was thrown in for his first Premier League start since Jan. 1. Helped keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang very quiet. Stretchered off late on after colliding with Ederson.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 — Might have scored when Sterling played him in with a short free kick. Controlled the midfield.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 8 — Went close with an early free kick but saw it tipped over by Bernd Leno and then scored the penalty. When he started playing well, so did City.
MF David Silva, 7 — Snap shot with his left foot in a tight space drew a very good low save from Leno. Helped City take control towards the end of the first half.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 7 — Closed down by Leno when he was played in by De Bruyne at the end of the first half. Won the penalty with a delicate touch around Luiz.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 — Forced Leno into his first save of the night after cutting in from the left. Clipped De Bruyne’s pass over the bar when he should have scored but made up for it after Luiz’s mistake.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 — Clever reverse pass to create a chance for David Silva but was otherwise quiet before he went off.
MF Phil Foden, 7 — Scored the third after Sergio Aguero had hit the post.
MF Bernardo Silva , 6 — Some nice touches in 25 minutes of action.
MF Fernandinho, NR — Slotted in alongside Garcia, then Rodri, for the game’s final 20 minutes.
MF Rodri, NR — Closed out the match by shifting to centre-back after replacing the injured Garcia.
FW Sergio Aguero, NR — Created chances in his 10-minute cameo, but couldn’t write his name on the scoresheet.