Manchester City 2 Arsenal 1
Sane 47, Sterling 71, Walcott 5

Arsene Wenger looked on in horror as did the travelling supporters at the Etihad. Having taken the lead after five minutes and ominously looking like getting a second, Arsenal were rocked by two Manchester City salvos to send Wenger’s side to a second defeat in the space of five days. The defeat and capitulation were carbon copies of events at Goodison Park. For City read Everton, a goal down but able to summon a strong response and in so doing, once again expose a frail Gunners’ under-belly which was thought to have been consigned to recent history.

Theo Walcott put the Gunners ahead with just five minutes on the clock after racing forward to receive a slick reverse pass from Alexis Sanchez. City have shown their own recent vulnerability and early signs pointed to another slip my Pep Guardiola’s men. Leroy Sane however responded with a quick leveller following the break, with Raheem Sterling thundering in with his left foot after getting the better of Nacho Monreal.

Both City goals had more than a hint of offside about them, but the home side were in the lead. Shorn of ideas and shorn of the mental resilience to respond, Arsenal looked tired and unable to muster any kind of recovery in this their fourth away game out of five.

Now nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea, Wenger was at a loss to explain what he had just witnessed.

“I felt we were in control and it didn’t look like we could lose the game. (In the first half) we stopped them from creating chances, they looked a little bit short of ideas to create chances, but they caught us cold in the second half. But as well we dropped physically in the second half. And when we won the ball we didn’t come out as clean as in the first half.”

Critical of the officials in the 2-1 loss at Everton, the Gunners’ boss was just as scathing of the officials at the loss to City.

“ I want them to be very well protected, I want them to be safe. But if they could make the right decisions that would be even better. Safe and good decisions, even better. I do not want to make the referees the subject of the press conference.

” I just feel it’s right that they are safe and protected but if on top of that they make the good decisions, even better. It’s difficult to lose a game of that stature on two offside goals and I can understand City are very happy, I would be as well, but I think the goals are offside,” said Wenger.

City could have further gone ahead when Kevin De Bryne cracked the post, however Arsenal will feel that they had a legitimate first half goal chalked off when Alex Iwobi struck home only to see the assistant referee’s flag raised. That inability to add to Walcott’s opener enabled City to fashion an unlikely recovery as Arsenal and Mesut Ozil in particular visibly faded.

“ We certainly gave them hope with the 1-1. We dropped a bit physically in the second half and maybe mentally as well when they equalised. After that we tried to come back in the last 20 minutes. We were a bit unlucky on one or two occasions but they killed the game well. They know they have experience, they slowed down, went down and it was difficult to create the (chances ).

“On top of all of that we conceded two offside goals, what is very difficult to accept in a game of that stature. But as it is well-known, the referees are protected very well, and that is right, like the lions in the zoo. So we have to live with those decisions.