LONDON (AP) — Arsenal finally ended its 12-game losing streak to Manchester City in the Premier League after Gabriel Martinelli scored in the 87th minute Sunday to secure a 1-0 win over the defending champion.
In a cagey match that featured few quality chances for either side, substitutes Kai Havertz and Martinelli combined for a late winner that made the Emirates crowd erupt.
Havertz laid the ball off for Martinelli whose shot from outside the area took a deflection to wrongfoot City goalkeeper Ederson.
It was a goal that put an end to six years of demoralizing league defeats against City — including a 3-1 loss at home last season that helped Pep Guardiola’s team finish five points above Arsenal.
The team’s 12-match losing streak against City in the league was the longest against any opponent in the club’s history.
City, meanwhile, fell to consecutive league losses for the first time since 2018 after a 2-1 defeat at Wolves last weekend.
Arsenal and Tottenham now top the standings on 20 points from eight games, with City two points behind in third.
Up until Martinelli’s goal, the game had featured little of the crowd-pleasing soccer that both sides are known for, instead settling into a cautious match.
With both teams missing key players, neither side seemed willing to take many risks.
City was without suspended midfielder Rodri, with Kevin de Bruyne a long-term injury absentee, and lacked its usual fluid buildup play.
Rodri’s replacement, Mateo Kovacic, was lucky to stay on the field in the first half when he first got away with just a yellow card for a studs-up tackle from behind on Martin Odegaard — with a VAR review judging that it wasn’t worthy of a red — and then escaped a second booking minutes later after another late challenge on Declan Rice in the 35th.
Arsenal’s star winger Bukayo Saka wasn’t fit enough to even make the bench after limping off with a hamstring problem in midweek, ending his club record streak of 87 straight league starts.
But Martinelli came on after halftime to make his return from an injury and gave the Arsenal attack an immediate spark, forcing the first real save from Ederson from a tight angle in the 51st.
City had nearly taken the lead after just four minutes, when Rice had to head an effort by Josko Gvardiol off the line after a corner. Arsenal couldn’t clear and the ball then fell to Nathan Ake in front of goal shortly afterward, but he blasted his effort over the bar.
But that was as close as the visitors ever came, despite being gifted a couple of first-half chances courtesy of shaky play from Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya.
City’s star striker Erling Haaland, meanwhile, was kept quiet throughout and never had a sniff at goal. City finished the match with just four shots, the fewest it has ever had in the Premier League under Guardiola.