The Ped Report Arsenal 0-3 City
As Sharon and the Safety Management Team beavered away to get this fixture played, Arsene Wenger and the football management team must have wished the game had been pushed back to the "free" weekend of the next round of the FA Cup that neither of these sides needed.
But it wasn't to be and City's hangover cure for their cruise to winning the Carabao Cup against the same opposition was simply to pulverise and annihilate Arsenal into submission for around 35 minutes and then humiliate them by taking 55 minutes in-game rest.
It was said that with the Mhikitaryan-Aubameyang axis, the Gooners might generate a different threat than the one they produced at Wembley. It could equally be said that whoever said it could be correct, but the tactical approach of the Ashburton Grove Bottling Factory was only in similar vein to what they produced at the National Stadium.
Intent in the early stages to snuff out City's midfield threat and to try to push forward themselves with the aid of the Stretford evacuee, Mhikitaryan, the perpetual absentee Ozil and possibly their only positive, Ramsey, Arsenal soon found themselves under the Man City cosh and didn't have the resources or desire to compete with it.
Guardiola was no mug. He fielded what might be considered his best available eleven with Ederson restored to minding the nets, the same back four as at Wembley, Gundogan covering for the injured Fernandinho, David Silva and De Bruyne taking the game to Arsenal. Sane, Aguero and Bernardo designed to create a black evening for the poor-looking Gooners defence.
And so it proved. For the first 35 minutes of this match City were simply devastating. After the huff and puff of Arsenal's commencement, City blew them away with three exceptional goals in the space of less than 20 minutes.
Bernardo Silva is growing into his role with the club. Some might say he is waiting patiently for the demise of his namesake, David, but deep down he knows that might be a long wait. Instead, he has set his sights upon creating decisions for Pep by making the right-sided berth his own. He opened the scoring tonight on 15 minutes with an exceptional shot.
Leroy Sane, fresh from his alleged and flatly denied dressing-down at the hands of the management maestro skinned the Gooners defence and squared the ball into the neat and tidy Portuguese genius. Bernardo kept his cool and curled a beauty beyond the outreaches of Cech and into the far corner.
Almost immediately you could sense the focus leaving the eyes of the Arsenal side to be replaced by a glazed look of deja-vu. It would prove to be just that. Despite Otamendi picking up his eighth yellow card for a deliberate foul, City were in the mood. They streamed ahead almost at will, instilled by the inimitable David Silva, who squeezed the ball into Sane. The German once again left the Gooner defence on empty, played it into Aguero who quickly returned in into the path of Silva. Often known for untimely changes of feet, El Mago changed from right to left, put the back line on the wrong foot and slid it beyond Cech to make it 2-0.
The game was effectively finished with less than half an hour on the clock.
But City, in a ruthless early evening mood, had not finished. Just after the half hour another "team move" saw City work the ball the entire length of the field before a rapid interchange of passes on the edge of the box put Sane clean through and his first touch was enough to change the scoreline to emulate that at Wembley.
Truth be told Arsenal were all over the show and there was nothing there to suggest that the beleaguered Wenger should be spared the rod. The Stretfords have seen already that Sanchez is a shadow of the footballer he was and the Sold Trafford hierarchy already have doubts as to why he was signed. The residual Gooners look less then a spent force.
The new signings, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang surely can't become poor footballers overnight, but in this company it looks as though they have. Neither could make any sort of impact against a stubborn and robust City side that now has the Premier League title in its sights and is showing no disbelief in the fact that they can win it.
With City 3-0 to the good, there was little possibility of a Gooner revival, so the Blues promptly took the rest of the night off.
Not even when referee Marriner awarded them a penalty following a challenge by Otamendi, could they make an inroad into the City lead. The brilliant Ederson guessed correctly and ushered Aubameyang's weak penalty to one side and the Arsenal heads sank even further.
The fact that the first change Guardiola made was after 70 minutes and was due to an injury to Walker, was testimony to the fact fact that Wenger's men had hardly mounted any kind of sustained challenge to City, despite the second half possession stats favouring them.
City simply eased themselves, once again, to an easy win over Arsenal having this season tested the netting 9 times, conceding only once.
Make no mistake about it you Arsenal fans. This is one poor team. Your fans had the opportunity to hide behind the challeng presented by the inclement weather to claim the absentia tonight, but how many of those stayed away because they had a premonition of what the outcome of this match was going to be?
There is nothing in the Arsenal tank right now which suggests any kind of turnaround any time soon. Wenger is unlikely to turn his back on a reported £10m a year salary, so it's time the board loaded his rucksack with the said £10m and pointed the way outside. Wenger is a spent force, his team are likewise. The non-tactical approach is no more. City's tactics have been devastating to the status quo in the Premier League and on their heels might well be Sue's darlings over at Anfield. The likes of Wenger and Maureen are yesterday's news in a footballing sense. Indeed I think Sue had been watching too many documentaries on TV about Iraq as she constantly referred to Arsenal in a context I cannot repeat in these scribbles.
Next up are Chelsea at the Etihad over the weekend. Should City secure another three points, then the Premier League should close its doors for this season at least.
Well played Sane. Often the subject of acrimony because of his occasionally poor first touch, tonight he emulated Bernardo. Everything stuck to him like glue. He was involved in all of the goals, finally getting one for himself, thus easily accrediting himself with the Man-of-the-Match award.
Another inch closer to the title, another match day when those who follow continue to remain fed up.