Manchester City 6 Arsenal 3
(Aguero 14, Negredo 39, Fernandinho 50, 88, Silva 66, Toure 90 pen Walcott 31, 63, Mertersacker 90)

Arsenal suffered thier heaviest defeat of the season, the visit to the Etihad stadium proving to be a game too far after a sequence that saw a draw at home to Everton, the Champions League loss at Napoli and now defeat at the hands of a ruthless Manchester City, the Gunners were poor. Collectively and individually, the errors of Arsenal sides of seasons’ past resurfaced at the worst of times. Theo Walcott returned to the starting line up and grabbed a double, with Per Mertersacker heading in late on. By then Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, David Silva and Yaya Toure from the spot with Fernandinho’s first strikes doing City justice in a very open game. Damage limitation and defensive leadership are still lacking in the Arsenal dressing room, Arsene Wenger will have to address those issues.

Despite the heavy loss, Arsenal remain on top of the Premiership but the manner in which they were taken apart here will add further argument to the Gunners’ s critics and also add clamour to strengthen the side.

Samir Nasri saw the Wenger plan at first hand and took off at the first opportunity. It was the former Gunner’s corner headed in by Martín Demichelis which fell for Aguero to strike home after 14 minutes. It was poor defending by Laurent Koscielny in particular who seemed to switch off at the crucial moment.

Arsenal had started well, and Jack Wilshere hit an earlier shot wide, but just past the half hour mark, the Gunners were level. Aaron Ramsey robbed Toure of possession, the ball fed to Mesut Özil. The German picked out Walcott whose precisely placed shot was too good for Pantilimon who remained rooted to the spot.

When composure and leadership were sought, and the instruction to stay focussed, Arsenal collectively switched off. Toure found Pablo Zabaleta far too easily. The Argentine’s cross saw Negredo beat Koscielny to the ball and past Wojciech Szczesny, six minutes before the break. It would be Koscielny’s last action, the France defender suffered a gashed leg, forcing Wenger to bring on Thomas Vermaelen.

Down 2-1 at half time wasn’t the worst case scenario for the Gunners, but 5 minutes after restart, Fernandinho ensured if was. Mathieu Flamini has been that rock, the leader Wenger’s side had needed, but here he looked jaded and out of sorts. Flamini gave the ball away in his own half, and that was all it took for Fernadinho to curl in past the despairing dive of Szczesny.

Still Arsenal came at City, A trio of chances fell to Olivier Giroud, one of which he buried but was flagged offside. Replays showed he was onside and City’s luck would further deny Arsenal a clear penalty when Zabaleta handled in his area. Referee Martin Atkinson got that crucial decision wrong, but soon after Walcott had reduced the arrears.

Ramsey found Walcott with a brilliant chip, the England striker placing and exquisite shot past Pantilimon for a 3-2 scoreline. Again, a call for clear Arsenal heads and maturity was needed, but sadly Wenger was to see his side concede three minutes later. Substitute Jesus Navas was the beneficiary of more midfield and defensive uncertainly from the away side. Navas cross was latched onto by Silva with Mertersacker and Vermaelen horribly exposed.

Wilshere left fly from 25 yards, which saw Pantilimon stretch and save as the Gunners continued to surge forwards. With little or no midfield protection to the Arsenal defence, City scored a fifth. Nasri had twisted and turned his away without reward, but Fernadinho latched onto Nasri’s pass to chip over Szczesny for an amazing 5-2 scoreline after 87 minutes. Serge Gnabry and Nicklas Bendtner had replaced Flamini and Giroud.

Bendtner was very unfortunate to see his header go in, but then shocked to see it ruled out for offiside. Once again, the linesman made a shocking error in ruling out a legitimate Arsenal goal. Walcott saw further chances go begging, but Arsenal did grab a third. Bacary Sagna crossed for Mertersscker to power in past Pantilimon.

City grabbed a sixth, when Szczesny felled substitute James Milner. Up stepped Toure to send Szczesny the wrong way and Arsenal to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Wenger has nine days to get his side back on track, both physically and mentally, when visitors Chelsea will no doubt ask further questions of the Gunners’ title ambitions.