Manchester Metropolis secured the primary win of the Premier League’s restart with a 3-Zero victory over 10-man Arsenal at an empty Etihad on Wednesday because the English prime flight’s return was marked by protests towards racial injustice.
Each units of gamers got here collectively earlier than kick-off to take a knee, as had Aston Villa and Sheffield United gamers within the first match after a 100-day stoppage attributable to coronavirus.
“I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what the white people have done for the black people,” stated Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola.
“We have to do a lot of things for the black people which we have not done so far.”
Metropolis’s victory closes the hole on Liverpool on the prime to 22 factors and means the Reds can not safe the title once they face Everton within the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
– Arteta’s plan undone –
A minute’s silence earlier than kick-off remembered those that had misplaced their lives to Covid-19, together with Guardiola’s mom.
Black Lives Matter was additionally emblazoned on the again of shirts the place the celebrities names are usually printed, because the gamers took a knee across the centre circle.
There was little return to normality as soon as the sport did kick-off to the hole ring of an empty stadium as a torrential downpour added to the troublesome situations for the gamers.
“We expected it to be weird,” stated Metropolis’s Raheem Sterling. “The first 10 minutes it was getting used to the atmosphere and getting the cobwebs off.”
Nevertheless, Metropolis quickly discovered their groove simply as Arsenal had been disrupted by two early accidents.
Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta had made a daring workforce choice on his return to the Etihad, the place he spent three-and-a-half years as Guardiola’s assistant.
The Spaniard left Alexandre Lacazette and membership document signing Nicolas Pepe alongside David Luiz on the bench, whereas Mesut Ozil didn’t even make the squad regardless of a short lived rule change to permit 9 substitutes on the bench.
Guardiola had voiced his considerations for gamers’ welfare over the shortage of preparation time to rise up to full health.
However it was Arteta’s plan that was undone inside 20 minutes as Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari hobbled off with Luiz changing the latter.
“Everything went wrong from the first minute when Granit got injured,” stated Arteta, who was left in little question of the work he has forward to shut the hole between his new employers and his previous.
As Metropolis started to show the screw, solely Bernd Leno within the Arsenal purpose stored the rating down earlier than half-time.
Nevertheless, Sterling made the breakthrough when Luiz failed to chop out Kevin De Bruyne’s cross and the England worldwide rifled dwelling his first purpose of 2020.
5 minutes into the second-half, Arsenal’s powerful job turned an unattainable one as Luiz pulled down Riyad Mahrez contained in the field and was proven a crimson card.
“It was not the team’s fault, it was my fault. The coach is amazing, all the players did amazing, it was just my fault,” stated Luiz, whose contract is because of expire on June 30.
“I should have taken a different decision in the last two months to try and decide my future as early as possible but I didn’t.”
De Bruyne coolly despatched Leno the fallacious means from the penalty spot to finish the sport as a contest.
There was another severe wanting damage to return as Metropolis defender Eric Garcia was stretchered from the sphere after being worn out by his personal goalkeeper Ederson resulting in 11 minutes of added time.
“He is conscious, that is a good sign, but he is going to get an extra test,” stated Guardiola of Garcia’s situation.
Metropolis used the additional time so as to add a 3rd as substitute Phil Foden side-footed dwelling after Sergio Aguero struck the put up.
Defeat is one other blow for Arsenal’s hopes of a return to the Champions League subsequent season as they continue to be in ninth, eight factors off the highest 4.