Arsenal opened the scoring via Bukayo Saka at the Emirates Stadium, but goals from Riyad Mahrez and Rodri ensured Man City secured a comeback win on New Year’s Day as Arsenal FC suffer a slight blow to their top-four hopes.
With Mikel Arteta missing from Arsenal’s clash against Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium due to Covid, it was Albert Stuivenberg that spoke to the media.
The Arsenal’s assistant manager Stuivenberg said it was very frustrating to lose 2-1 to Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens but insisted that the Gunners can hold their heads up with pride after their all-round performance on Saturday afternoon.
While Man City carried their winning form from 2021 into 2022, Arsenal didn’t make it any easier for them as the hosts dominated the first half that saw them lead 1-0, thanks to a Bukayo Saka tap in.
But, in the second half, things turned on their head when referee Stuart Attwell changed his decision to hand the visitors a penalty after he was sent to the touch-line monitor to review Granit Xhaka’s tackle on Bernardo Silva.
Eventually, Riyad Mahrez stepped up to score the leveller from the penalty spot, and late on in the game, Rodri fired home from close range to beat 10-man Arsenal.
The north London club went down to 10 men when Gabriel Magalhaes was given his marching orders - two minutes after City equalised - as he was shown a second yellow card for his tackle on Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian’s first yellow came just after Mahrez's penalty when he ran up to the referee yelling.
“Very frustrating with the end result but also very proud of the players,” Stuivenberg told BT Sport. “When you end the game playing with 10 players against this City team and you don't concede a lot of chances, the overall performance is very good.
"Confusing is the right word [on the penalties]. We are looking for consistency. For me, the Odegaard penalty is a clear penalty but if there is any consistency there the referee also comes to check. With the City penalty that happens, I think it is quite soft, but that happens. We took the game again after that as we had the chance to score with Martinelli. But then we get the red card.
"When you already have a yellow you need to control emotions and be smart. I am not sure why the first yellow is given to Gabriel. I hear a few different things. But you have to control emotions. It is something we need to learn.
"Mikel has the same feelings as me. He is frustrated after the performance and seeing the development of the team from the start of the season to now. Are we able to compete against one of the best teams in the world? And we were. We also showed guts and played the game we wanted in the first half. In the end, it is frustrating to end with zero points."