Manchester City 3, Arsenal 1
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dismissed the complaints of opposite number Arsene Wenger after seeing his side reassert their Premier League title credentials against Arsenal.
Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus scored for the Blues as they comfortably recorded a ninth consecutive top-flight win and, with rivals Manchester United losing at Chelsea, extended their lead to eight points.
Wenger, whose side briefly gained a foothold through Alexandre Lacazette’s strike, blamed Michael Oliver, accusing the referee of wrongly awarding City a penalty for their second goal and missing an offside in the build-up to their third.
But Guardiola said: “We won in the best way. Sometimes it’s like this. I was told it [the third goal] was offside and I don’t want to win like this, but [last season] Arsenal beat Burnley with a handball in the 96th minute.
“We want to try to play and we did it really well. It was well deserved. We fought in the bad moments, when we were tired, mentally we were stable. I was pleased with the performance.”
Wenger suggested that City winger Raheem Sterling had dived to win a penalty and that the performance of the officials was symptomatic of a decline in refereeing standards.
“I feel the referees don’t work enough. The level drops every season at the moment and, overall, it’s unacceptable,” said the Frenchman, whose team dropped to sixth.
“I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well. The third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game.”
Aguero, Sterling and De Bruyne all went close to breaching the visitors before the latter swapped passes with Fernandinho and beat Petr Cech with a low shot from 15 yards into the far corner.
Arsenal withstood further raids until four minutes after half-time, when Nacho Monreal ran across Sterling as he burst onto Fernandinho’s pass and Oliver awarded a contested penalty. Aguero sent Cech the wrong way.
Substitute Lacazette gave the Gunners hope 25 minutes from time when he ran onto Aaron Ramsey’s pass and shot under City goalkeeper Ederson, but the hosts would soon respond in controversial fashion.
David Silva was called onside despite protests and cut back for Jesus, on for club record scorer Aguero, to tap in.