Arsenal 1-4 Manchester City
Manchester City’s quest to win four consecutive EFL Cup titles is still very much alive as they smashed Arsenal 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium to book their place in the semi-finals.
It was yet another sorry display by the struggling Gunners, who have not won in the Premier League in their last seven matches and went behind to City after just three minutes.
Alexandre Lacazette ended his long goal drought to equalise for Arsenal, but City – who won last year’s competition by beating Aston Villa – completely ran away with the tie in the second half.
After such an impressive performance, the EFL Cup 2020 betting odds should have City as strong favourites to complete an impressive four-peat.
Highlights of the game
Manchester City made it known right away that they meant business as they went ahead after just three minutes.
Gabriel Jesus, who missed their win against Southampton over the weekend due to a dental issue, was back in the side and made an immediate impact by getting the opening goal.
It was awful defending from the Arsenal backline; they allowed Jesus to stand in the six-yard box unmarked before he headed home an Oleksandr Zinchenko cross. Arsenal’s backup keeper, Runar Alex Runarsson, was also at fault for being beaten to the ball by the Brazilian.
Three minutes later, Fernandinho – City’s captain for the day with Kevin de Bruyne rested – came close to doubling their lead as his long-range effort whistled wide. Aymeric Laporte also had a great chance to score, but his header off a corner went just wide as well.
Surprisingly, it was Arsenal who scored the next goal just after the half-hour mark. Gabriel Martinelli was handed the start after making his return from injury over the weekend, and the Brazilian teenager repaid Mikel Arteta’s faith as he delivered a cross to Alexandre Lacazette, who nodded the ball past City keeper Zack Steffen.
It was a massive goal for the misfiring French forward, who had been in rotten form in front of goal over the last few months.
Gabriel Jesus could’ve put City back ahead just before half-time after he slipped in behind the Arsenal defence for a shot, but Runarsson produced a terrific save to deny the City striker.
However, Runarsson would commit a disastrous error to had City a second goal nine minutes into the second half. The Gunners keeper looked to have a Riyad Mahrez free kick completely covered, but he got his punch all wrong as the ball ricocheted from his fists into the back of the net.
It was an embarrassing moment for the Arsenal backup, one he obviously won’t want to see over and over again in the EFL Cup 2020 highlights.
City then extended their lead just a few minutes later. Fernandinho started a sweeping City counterattack and delivered a terrific through ball to Phil Foden, who coolly chipped the ball over the onrushing Runarsson.
City would put the finishing touches on their impressive quarter-final victory on 73 minutes. This time, Foden turned creator as his cross from a short corner was headed home by Laporte. And if the Frenchman hadn’t connected, his central defensive partner Ruben Dias was queueing up right behind him.
It’s back to the drawing board once again for Arteta, who is running out of time to turn things around at Arsenal.
As the SBOTOP preview of this cup tie pointed out, City have changed how they play this season, opting for a slightly more conservative style instead of the all-out attacking of the past.
Once again, they didn’t create all that many chances in this match (they had 13 in total), but they took those chances – with the help of some poor Arsenal defending.
Gabriel Jesus’s goal snapped quite a lengthy seven-match scoring drought. He hadn’t scored since a 1-1 draw with Liverpool back in August.
Similarly, Lacazette got his first goal against Premier League opposition since his consolation goal in a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in late September.
Manchester City will be back in action on Boxing Day to face Newcastle United, who crashed out of the EFL Cup after losing to Championship side Brentford. They will then face an in-form Everton side at Goodison Park a few days later.
As for Arsenal, they will be part of Boxing Day’s biggest matchup as they take on Chelsea at the Emirates. After that, they will take on Brighton, who are also languishing down the bottom of the Premier League table.
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