Arsenal stuck in old habits as pressure ramps up on Mikel Arteta following Man City drubbing

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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have lost all three of their Premier League matches this term  (AFP via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have lost all three of their Premier League matches this term (AFP via Getty Images)

Against West Brom on Wednesday we saw the good of Arsenal but here, at Manchester City, we witnessed the bad and the ugly.

The bad was Arsenal’s, at times, comical defending as they conceded two goals inside the opening 12 minutes.

That’s the earliest they’ve conceded twice from the start of a Premier League match since December 2017 and it didn’t get any better, with City eventually running out 5-0 winners.

The ugly came in the form of Granit Xhaka’s red card, which came on 35 minutes for a two-footed lunge on Joao Cancelo.

It summed up Arsenal’s miserable afternoon and, while referees have shown more leniency towards physical play this season, Xhaka could have no real complaints.

And Arsenal could have no complaints about the final score here as they were played off the park by the Premier League champions.

There were some grievances about Calum Chambers being fouled in the build-up to City’s second goal, with Aymeric Laporte appearing to catch him in the face, but beyond that there were few excuses.

Arsenal have now played three Premier League games and they’ve lost all three, making it their worst start since 1954. Add the fact they’ve failed to score a single goal and you can see why the pressure is ramping up on Arteta.

The Spaniard would have hoped this could be the moment Arsenal sparked their season into life, but instead they were behind after seven minutes.

It was all too easy for City as well, with Gabriel Jesus afforded plenty of time to cross into the box and Ilkay Gundogan just peeling off Chambers to head home.

The defending for the second goal wasn’t much better as Bernardo Silva’s ball into the box somehow evaded everyone and Ferran Torres was left with a simple tap-in.

The third, just before half-time, made it a hat-trick of poor defending as Jack Grealish danced into the box and teed up Jesus for a tap-in.

When Rodri curled home a fourth in the 53rd minute you feared for Arsenal, particularly as Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez were both introduced off the bench.

Mercifully for Arsenal, despite having none of the ball, the flow of goals stopped, with Bernd Leno making a few smart stops in the process.

City did eventually get a fifth as Torres was able to head home, unmarked, following Mahrez’s cross from the right with six minutes to go.

The pressure will now undoubtedly ramp up on Arteta, particularly given the manner of this loss.

It had all the bad hallmarks of the Arsenal of old - woeful defending, an ill-discipline red card and no fight.

Arsenal last won against City in the Premier League in December 2015, with a disciplined and defensive performance that included Francis Coquelin - remember him? - excelling.

This, however, was about as far away from that as you could get as Arsenal wilted in the Manchester sun.

Next up, they face a clash with Norwich on September 12, before matches with Burnley, AFC Wimbledon, Tottenham and Brighton before the next international break.

Arteta, and Arsenal, will hope the landscape looks far different then.

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