English Premier League credibility under threat after Arsenal got mugged by match officials

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LONDON (AP) — The hottest-ever New Year’s Day in London saw Arsenal fans get heated after a meltdown against Manchester City.

Arsenal fans hurled plastic bottles and toilet rolls at City’s celebrating players after Rodri scored a stoppage-time winner at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as temperatures reached 16.2 degrees Celsius (61.16 degrees Fahrenheit) in the capital.

City’s comeback to win 2-1 and secure an 11th straight Premier League victory was completed in the third minute of stoppage time, prompting Rodri to rip off his jersey and slide across the field right in front of the home support.

“We struggled a little bit in the first half, the second half we played more of our game,” Rodri said. “They did a great game but fortunately we showed our champions personality.”

As City moved 11 points in front of second-place Chelsea at the top of the standings, fourth-place Arsenal was left dwelling on its collapse.

City had been trailing through Bukayo Saka’s goal during an electrifying first-half display from Arsenal.

But the game shifted in City’s favor during a two-minute spell after the break.

Granit Xhaka conceded a penalty for bringing down Bernardo Silva with a trailing leg and Riyad Mahrez leveled from the spot in the 57th minute.

What proved as costly for Arsenal was Gabriel getting booked for trying to scuff the penalty spot before Mahrez’s kick.

Within a minute, Arsenal had an immediate chance to regain the lead. But Nathan Ake’s hooked, scrambling goal-line clearance prevented an own goal from Aymeric Laporte after he headed over goalkeeper Ederson.

Then Gabriel was booked again in the 59th and saw red for fouling Gabriel Jesus.

Arsenal’s attempts to cling on to the point were thwarted by Laporte’s deflected shot reaching Rodri to score.

“We are very frustrated with the outcome if you play a game like this against one of the best teams in the world,” said Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg, who was on the touchline while manager Mikel Arteta isolates with COVID-19. “At the end to have zero points is frustrating because we should have won the game.”

Arsenal was frustrated in the first half not to be awarded a penalty before Saka struck with a first-time connection from Kieran Tierney’s well-placed pass, City goalkeeper Ederson having escaped action for bringing down Martin Odegaard.

“I am looking for consistency,” Stuivenberg said. “We have VAR in place so why not check yourself as a referee? That did not happen so it is disappointing.”