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Key events

67 min: Saka brings down Grealish, who had cleverly stepped ahead of the Arsenal man as they battled down the inside-left channel. De Bruyne to take the free kick, just outside the Arsenal box.

66 min: Odegaard slips Tomiyasu into acres down the right. Tomiyasu fizzes a glorious ball across the face of goal and out of Ederson’s reach. But Nketiah can’t get there in time to poke home. Had he gone any earlier, he’d have surely been offside, so it was never meant to be.

64 min: Now it’s Nketiah going into the book for a late clip on Dias. A fair chance this won’t end with 22 men on the pitch.

63 min: Grealish is booked for arguing the toss over a goal kick. “Like all Gooners I’ve been desperate to be back at the sharp end of things, but I’d clean forgotten how much more stressful it is,” writes Tim Gilkison. “I’ll be fully grey haired by the time this match is done.”

62 min: Silva is finally relieved of his left-back beat. Mahrez is replaced by Akanji, who joins a back four, Ake taking over the responsibility of keeping Saka quiet.

60 min: It’s all happening, as seconds after the restart, Haaland contests a high ball with Gabriel and sticks the point of his elbow in the defender’s lug. VAR has a look at that, too, but it’s an accidental foul, nothing more.

VAR: no penalty!

59 min: Yep! Haaland was indeed just offside before starting his run that ended with him being hauled down in the box. Gabriel had been booked for his part in the initial penalty decision, so the referee rescinds the yellow.

58 min: … but they’re checking if Haaland was an inch or two offside as he received the pass before spinning Gabriel. Will VAR save Arsenal this time?

Penalty for Manchester City!

57 min: Gabriel and Haaland tussle as they chase a long pass down the right. Haaland spins Gabriel and enters the box. Gabriel takes a handful of Haaland’s shirt, then tangles his legs. Haaland goes over and the referee points to the spot!

A penalty is awarded for a foul by Arsenal's Gabriel on Manchester City's Erling Haaland before it is overturned for an offside after a VAR check.
Arsenal’s Gabriel tussles with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland … Photograph: Adam Davy/PA
A penalty is awarded for a foul by Arsenal's Gabriel on Manchester City's Erling Haaland before it is overturned for an offside after a VAR check.
The players go down and the ref points to the spot. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

56 min: Saka and Odegaard exchange crisp passes down the right. The former cuts back for Jorginho, who rolls a diagonal ball towards Nketiah on the edge of the six-yard box. Ederson smothers just in time. A neat move by Arsenal.

54 min: There hasn’t been too much in the way of top-of-the-table quality since the restart. A lot of top-of-the-table industry, though. No quarter given.

52 min: The ball flies out of play and towards Arteta in his technical area. The Arsenal boss cheekily guards the ball from De Bruyne, who wanted to take a quick throw. De Bruyne gives him a light shove by way of retribution. The sort of thing that could spark a bench-emptying brawl, though there’s a sense that Arteta knew full well he was trying it on, and understood De Bruyne’s reaction as a former competitor himself … so didn’t respond or escalate. All good fun amid the heat of the action. Right?

50 min: City seem to be pressing with a bit more urgency since the restart. Most of the play is now in Arsenal’s half as a result, albeit with no real danger to their goal as of yet.

48 min: Tomiyasu is booked for taking an age over a throw. The referee has been nothing if not consistent. “Nothing beats Earl Grey,” gargles Jeff Sax. A bergamot-infused back-and-forth. Could anything be more Guardian?

47 min: Slightly surprising that Silva, perpetually hassled by Saka during that first half and on a booking as a result, is still on duty as stand-in left back for City.

Norwegian pals Haaland and Odegaard enjoy a good laugh both in the tunnel and then in the centre circle … Roy Keane the purists won’t like it, but that’s lovely to see … and then Arsenal get the game restarted. No changes. “Earl Grey (43 min) is going to be of no help to Arsenal,” suggests Nickdastardly. “Not when City have Lord Pannick.”

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HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City

Well that was fun. Here’s how things stand at the break!

45 min +6: Mahrez curls in from the left. Rodri stoops at the far post to head goalwards. The ball pings off Ake, then off the crossbar! Ramsdale is forced to paw out for a corner, from which nothing comes. City so close to regaining the lead during the last knockings of a thoroughly entertaining first half.

45 min +4: Haaland makes a nuisance of himself chasing a speculative long pass down the left and draws a foul from Saliba. Free kick. One last twist in the first-half tale?

45 min +2: Silva finally goes into the book for an agricultural lunge on Saka. Given he’s been extremely fortunate to get away with a couple of fouls earlier in the piece, don’t expect to see him continue at left-back in the second half.

45 min +1: The first of six added minutes – ah the heady rush of a World Cup flashback – and it’s a free kick to City out on the right. De Bruyne curls it into the Arsenal box only for Gabriel to eyebrow away from danger.

45 min: Walker throws in long from the right. Grealish chests down. The ball breaks to Haaland, who scuffs a shot from 12 yards. It breaks to Gundogan, whose effort is turned around the post by Ramsdale. But there’s no corner for City, because Gundogan was a few inches offside.

43 min: That’s a really impressive response from Arsenal, you know, having gone behind despite being the better team. The Emirates is at boiling point now! “Arsenal to win according to my Earl Grey,” sips Jeff Sax.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City (Saka 42 pen)

Saka, after being made to wait for what seems an age, gives Ederson the eyes. The keeper goes the wrong way Saka passes calmly into the bottom left! The leaders are on terms!

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scores their equaliser against Manchester City from the penalty spot.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scores their equaliser against Manchester City from the penalty spot. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

41 min: Plenty of on-pitch debate. But Ederson is adjudged to have skittled Nketiah as the Arsenal striker went round him. VAR’s not going to get in the way of that decision!

Referee Anthony Taylor awards Arsenal a penalty as Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan and teammates react dispute his decision.
Referee Anthony Taylor awards Arsenal a penalty as Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and teammates react dispute his decision. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Penalty for Arsenal!

39 min: Ake passes back, and just for a second, looks to have hoicked the ball into his own goal. Ederson traps and clears just in time. But Arsenal soon come back at City. Xhaka passes down the inside-left channel. Nketiah rounds Ederson on the left and, falling backwards, flicks towards the empty net. Ake slides in to whip off the line … but the referee points to the spot!

Ederson of Manchester City fouls Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal resulting in a penalty.
Ederson of Manchester City fouls Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal resulting in a penalty. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

38 min: Those bookings have got the Arsenal faithful’s collective dander up. A fine, combative response from the home fans, despite the scoreline.

36 min: Martinelli plays a cute pass down the left but can’t quite release Saka, who accidentally handles. Ederson takes his sweet time over the restart, and is the second City player in short order to pick up a needless booking.

34 min: Adding insult to injury, Walker is booked for returning to the field of play before being officially sent back on. He’s fuming.

32 min: Martinelli nudges Walker from behind in a mid-air challenge. Walker falls on his back. He’s winded. He writhes around in pain, though as a former Spurs charge, doesn’t exactly get much sympathy from the home fans. Meanwhile here’s Mary Waltz: “Arsenal has a open goal to head into, misses. City is given a gift, bangs it into the net. Championship moments are hard to come by, you have to deliver when they are presented to you.”

30 min: Incidentally, while I was yakking away back there, Silva clipped Saka yet again. He must be testing the referee’s patience, surely. “Bernardo channeling the Scholes tackling defence,” observes Paul Ruffley.

29 min: Arsenal shuttle the ball left to right, Jorginho to Xhaka to Odegaard. Finally Saka is released into the box down the channel. He should shoot immediately, one on one with Ederson, but hesitates and is soon swarmed. The chance is gone, though had he scored VAR might have had something to say about offside. How Arsenal wish that was the case against Brentford last weekend.

28 min: That was poor from Tomiyasu, but what anticipation from De Bruyne, and such an elegant finish. The Arsenal defender bids for redemption when he meets Martinelli’s cross from the left on the volley. He flays it wildly over the bar.

26 min: Well that’s sucked the air out of the Emirates all right! Full marks to Jeff Sax, by the way, who seconds before City’s goal emailed: “When last did MC have less than 50% possession?!?! Maybe it means they will score.” Full marks to you and your supplier of tea leaves.

GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City (De Bruyne 24)

Arsenal have been the better team. They were pressing hard, asking City questions. They should have just taken the lead. But they’re losing. Grealish chases a ball down the left. Tomiyasu gets ahead of him and plays a blind pass back towards his keeper. But he doesn’t realise De Bruyne has ghosted in between them. De Bruyne sticks out a telescopic leg and caresses it around the stranded Ramsdale from 25 yards!

23 min: Xhaka works hard down the left to earn Arsenal a corner. Martinelli whips to the near post. City half clear, but dither a bit, allowing Odegaard to have a speculative whack from the edge of the box. It’s deflected and bounces harmlessly through to Ederson.

22 min: Zinchenko whip-curls a cross in from the left. Nketiah finds himself alone, in space between Ake and Silva, six yards out, level with the right-hand post. He flashes his header harmlessly wide right. On target, that was a goal, because Ederson was rooted and had absolutely no time to react. He should have scored.

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal heads the ball wide of the goal during the Premier League game against Manchester City.
Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal heads the ball wide. Photograph: Daniel Hambury/EPA

20 min: Arsenal partake in some sterile domination. It’s as though Arsène never went away.

18 min: A brief pause with Ramsdale requiring treatment for his ankle. Happily for Arsenal it doesn’t seem particularly serious and the keeper is soon back up and jogging about.

16 min: … so having said that, City launch their first dangerous attack of the evening. Jorginho gets careless in the centre circle. City counter. Mahrez crosses deep from the right. Haaland gets ahead of Tomiyasu on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, and whistles the ball through the six-yard box. Silva hadn’t gambled. Had he made a run forward, he’d have had a simple tap-in.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland beats Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu to the ball and plays it across the face of goal.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland beats Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu to the ball and plays it across the face of goal. Photograph: Ian Kington/IKImages/AFP/Getty Images

14 min: Arsenal are doing a good job of penning City back in their own half. They’re in control right now.

12 min: Xhaka curls in from the left. Ake ducks to bravely clear, and takes a kick upside the head from Nketiah for his trouble. A free kick, nothing more. Ake’s dive was unusually low and you couldn’t blame Nketiah for going for the ball. Happily, Ake is fine to continue.

11 min: Arsenal have enjoyed 60 percent of possession during these early exchanges.

10 min: It’s fair to say Silva is more accomplished in attack than defence, and here he is romping down the middle very dangerously. He looks for Grealish to his left but Tomiyasu reads the danger well to snuff out the attack. “Given how well Leno is performing for Fulham I think Drew is a bit harsh calling him deadweight,” writes Richard Hirst, “and I hope to be able to say the same about Soares soon.”

9 min: Silva tries to nick the ball off Saka again. This time he gets nowhere near it and takes a huge chunk of his man instead. A free kick is awarded this time. Much more of this and Silva could find himself in the referee’s notebook early doors.

7 min: Silva snaffles possession from a dozing Saka and sends Grealish off down the inside-left flank. Silva possibly clipped Saka there, actually, but play goes on. Grealish looks for Mahrez to his right, forcing Gabriel to poke behind for a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece, but that’s City into the game now.

5 min: Odegaard floats a dismal free kick into the mixer. De Bruyne should let it sail through to Ederson, but heads clear under no pressure. Odegaard has another chance to put something meaningful into the City box, only to hoick out of play to the left. Uncharacteristically witless from a usually whip-smart player.

4 min: Dias clips Nketiah out on the right. A free kick. Everyone lines up on the edge of the City box. Odegaard prepares to take.

3 min: City haven’t had much of a sniff yet. A rare instance of the boot being on the other foot.

2 min: Saka has a look down the left but can’t get an early shot away. Xhaka eventually skies one out for a goal kick. The home fans, already up for it, take it up a notch further.

Arteta and Pep hug, the teams take a knee against racism, then City get the ball rolling. What a racket the crowd are making!

The teams are out! One hell of an atmosphere at the Emirates, much as you’d expect for such an important game. Arsenal in their famous red shirts with white sleeves, City in their storied sky blue. “Speaking about how many players in the Arsenal lineup are new/young, I thought I’d offer this reminder for Arsenal fans of what what up until very recently was a realistic XI,” begins Drew from Canada. “Lining up in a 4-3-3: Leno; Soares, Luiz, Mustafi, Monreal; Torreira, Guendouzi, Ceballos; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe. Has any other club pivoted so dramatically and successfully so fast? An entire XI of dead weight gone!” We’ll be off in a couple of minutes.

Fans of Arsenal enjoy the pre-match atmosphere prior to the Premier League match against Manchester City.
Arsenal fans give it some. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal’s recent record against Manchester City is not good, to say the least. Their last Premier League victory came in December 2015, when Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud scored their goals in a 2-1 win, Yaya Toure with a late consolation. Their last victory in any competition was a significant one, though: a 2-0 win in the 2020 FA Cup semi-final, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring both goals, the Gunners going on to secure the first piece of silverware of Mikel Arteta’s reign. In the Premier League of late, though, Manchester City have been in complete control. They’ve won the last ten meetings straight, home and away, to the cumulative tune of 26-3.

26-3!

That’s why they’re champions, huh. City also beat Arsenal in the FA Cup less than three weeks ago, so it’s fair to say the Gunners have a very domineering bogeyman to overcome tonight. It’s just fortunate so many of their players are young and/or new, so won’t have built up too much scar tissue during this sorry sequence. But still. Some test for the home side this evening all right.

Pep Guardiola talks to Amazon Prime. “Haaland trained yesterday and he was well … but we will see … every game is completely different … it is a brilliant stadium, a brilliant atmosphere … Arsenal have waited many years for this moment … Mikel has changed the club and the team … the last decade City was there but I didn’t see urgency [recently against Manchester United] … football changes so quick … this is a big opportunity … we have success doing things in a particular way so we will try to continue to do it.”

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, arrives prior to the Premier League match against Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola rocks up at the Emirates before getting his chat on with Amazon Prime. Photograph: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta speaks to Amazon Prime. “Players get injuries and unfortunately Thomas [Partey] felt something in his back muscle … we brought Jorginho for this sort of occasion … Tomi deserves his chance … we must keep doing the same but better … we have dominated games … the game will have momentums and shifts … we need the people behind us to create a special atmosphere … City have so many options … we have to stick to who we are and do our best … there are no surprises, there were just possibilities … they have many options … we need people to turn this place absolutely mental and help us win the game.”

Arsenal make two changes from the starting XI sent out for the 1-1 draw with Brentford last weekend. Thomas Partey is injured, so Jorginho steps in to take his place. Takehiro Tomiyasu replaces Ben White, who drops to the bench.

Manchester City make just one change to the starting team named for the 3-1 win over Aston Villa last Sunday. Nathan Ake replaces Aymeric Laporte, who drops to the bench. Erling Haaland, forced off at half-time against Villa, is fit to start.

Some of the fans arriving for Arsenal's game against Manchester City take pictures of the new facade of the Emirates stadium that looks like the old front of Highbury.
Some of the fans arriving at the Emirates for the game take pictures of the new facade of the stadium that looks like the old front of Highbury. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

The teams

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah.
Subs: Turner, White, Tierney, Kiwior, Holding, Vieira, Trossard, Nelson, Cozier-Duberry.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva, Mahrez, Grealish, Haaland.
Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Laporte, Alvarez, Gomez, Akanji, Foden, Palmer, Lewis.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

TEAM NEWS IS HERE! 🙌

XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Gundogan (C), Bernardo, Mahrez, Grealish, Haaland

SUBS | Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Laporte, Alvarez, Gomez, Akanji, Foden, Palmer, Lewis#ManCity | @HaysWorldwide pic.twitter.com/OXcHAYKOeE

— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 15, 2023

Preamble

We’ll not insult your intelligence by banging on about the importance of this.

Kick off is at 7.30pm GMT. It’s on!



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