Manchester City turned on the style in North London against a troubled Arsenal side, putting three past them for the second time in a week.
It took just over 15 minutes of the first half for Pep Guardiola’s side to secure the victory, and a display of athleticism and skill from Leroy Sane left the Gunners shellshocked.
Sane was accompanied by a supporting cast who were also able to get in on the act. Bernardo Silva kicked things off, David Silva pulled the strings, Sergio Aguero led the line with skill and invention, and Kevin De Bruyne, so often the star, was the oil which allowed the other parts of the City machine to move freely around him.
But even though the visitors went into cruise control after getting the job done, they did take some warming up in the freezing conditions. For the hosts it was more a question of trying to save some face and restore some pride.
Just as the Arsenal ground staff cleared the snow from the periphery of the pitch and the gangways around the Emirates stadium, so too the Arsenal players had to clear their minds of Sunday’s crushing League Cup final defeat against tonight’s opposition.
Arsene Wenger’s team, who were so blunt in the previous game, looked like they might be sharper today as they lined up four attacking players against a City back line who are not without their faults.
For all their own failures in the final, Wenger will no doubt have spotted some weaknesses in the opposition. His lineup suggested as much, but when it came down to it City’s strengths were so overwhelming that weaknesses weren’t often visible.
In theory, the visitors should be a little more brittle without their defensive midfield lynchpin, Fernandinho, but if they could keep the ball then this wouldn’t matter. In his place they had the perfect player to help them do so in the shape of Ilkay Gundogan, who was just as effective in his own way.
Arsenal were able to threaten in the opening stages and their attacking four of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, and Danny Welbeck, were at least testing the opposition defence.
Mkhitaryan had been cup-tied for the previous game, but he was back here provide a burst of speed and creativity in the final third.
He fed Aaron Ramsey who was able to pull the ball back into the area, but could only find Vincent Kompany and Ederson, who eventually dealt with the situation between them. The Armenian had a dig from distance shortly after but his shot, though well struck, was straight into the arms of City’s Brazilian goalkeeper.
Sane took the game to another level, and his first contribution was to take out multiple players as he dribbled through a maze of would-be Arsenal defenders from the left wing, before finding Bernardo on the right. The Portuguese tucked the ball inside onto his trusty left foot and found the far corner with ease.
It was a move which Sane started from nothing, but once they were a goal to the good City began to engineer more chances in a display which showed why they are so far ahead of the rest of the Premier League.
HIGHLIGHTS from a brilliant 0-3 win in North London! #afcvcity
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 2, 2018
Dem talk say na Phyno dey strike for Arsenal. The real Aubameyang still dey Dortmund.
— Man United In Pidgin (@ManUtdInPidgin) March 1, 2018
No disrespect , but this Aubameyang is just John Utaka with a fancy haircut and horrible dentition.
— Deacon ‘Dolapo (@dollycent) March 1, 2018
I’m crying cos remember when Arsenal supporters thought they were getting top four and winning the Europa League because they beat Everton and signed Aubameyang and Mykhtarian?
— – (@AnfieldRd96) March 1, 2018
I sat there like, “finally, I don’t even care any more, but at least this will give us something to cheer. A moment of happiness, however small. At least it’ll do Aubameyang’s confidence the world of good.” We can’t even score pens now. I see how it is.
— Arsène's Son (@hughwizzy) March 1, 2018
0-3. This is the worst I have ever seen any Arsenal team play. Disgraceful. #WengerOUT
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 1, 2018
The only person in the world who still thinks Arsene Wenger should remain Arsenal manager is… Arsene Wenger. Why is this stubborn, deluded old man allowed to put his ego & wallet before our club’s prosperity?
It’s unprecedented & ridiculous. #WengerOUT pic.twitter.com/GJ1oH1y2Vb
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 1, 2018
My respect for Lacazette is growing. It took Wenger just two matches to finish Aubameyang. Lacazette at least managed to put up a fight & stay relevant for a couple of months. #WengerOut
— WengerOut Bot (@WengerOut_Bot) March 1, 2018
Literally laughed out loud reading a quote from Arsene Wenger saying he was "amazed" his position as manager was being questioned. #WengerOut
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) March 1, 2018
Arsenal Fans let's just settle this once and for all.
Who do you want out the most?
RT For #WengerOut
— Iyá Lájè Of Lagos (@newscantell) March 1, 2018