Manchester City celebrate Raheem Sterling's goal against Arsenal

Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal: Pep Guardiola's side narrowly secure three points

Manchester City returned to winning ways as Raheem Sterling struck the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

The forward, City's captain on the night, capitalised on Bernd Leno's initial save in the first-half to strike from close range.

Bukayo Saka was denied by a great save from Ederson while Gabriel had a strong penalty shout turned down as the Gunners looked for a route back into the game.

An equaliser didn't come but Arsenal remain above City in the Premier League standings.

The result saw Pep Guardiola get one over Mikel Arteta after his old assistant masterminded victory when these sides met in the FA Cup semi-final in the summer, but Arsenal remain winless at the Etihad since January 2015.

Without Kevin De Bruyne, City were far from their swashbuckling best but, as Sergio Aguero returned to clock up 65 minutes in his first appearances since June, they ground out the result to capitalise on Liverpool’s controversial draw in the Merseyside derby and edge their way into the top half.

Though Aguero’s return was a boost, Guardiola was forced into a defensive reshuffle with both Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy missing through injury, adding to the worries ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Porto.

City initially lined up with Joao Cancelo at right-back, Kyle Walker partnering Ruben Dias in the centre and Nathan Ake on the left, thought it was best described as fluid as Guardiola tried to keep his old right-hand man guessing.

The early signs were promising as Riyad Mahrez bent a shot narrowly wide with less than a minute gone before teeing up Aguero who headed over from close range.

Arsenal were slow to grow into the game but just as they were beginning to get a foothold in the City half, the hosts took the lead with 23 minutes gone. Aguero drove forward to feed Foden on the left. The England midfielder cut in to see his shot parried by Leno but it fell kindly for Sterling to side-foot home.

Our football team look at the main talking points from Saturday's Premier League action

Click to read Premier League: Talking Points from Saturday

Arsenal responded immediately as Saka twisted and turned to create shooting space but saw his rising effort pushed over before Nicolas Pepe headed wide.

The game was open now as Mahrez forced a save from Leno before the Arsenal goalkeeper prevented Foden from capitalising on a loose pass by Gabriel, but the Gunners took encouragement as they finished the half stronger.

Ederson made a brilliant save to deny Saka as he linked up with Granit Xhaka to break through the City defence, only for the goalkeeper to turn his shot over. He made himself big again moments later to deny Aubameyang from point-blank range.

Arsenal then wanted a penalty before the break for a high foot from Walker just before Gabriel fired wide, but referee Chris Kavanagh was uninterested.

Arsenal were straight on the front foot after the break as Pepe headed Aubameyang’s cross at Ederson, hurting himself as he landed awkwardly.

After that early flourish the two sides began to cancel each other out in a more cagey second half, with City largely untroubled and the more likely to score the second goal.

Follow Sporting Life on social - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football content

Like what you've read?

Most Read Football

Join for free!
Access to exclusive features all for FREE - No monthly subscription fee
Race Replays
My stable horse tracker
giftOffers and prize draws
newsExclusive content

Football Tips