Sterling leaped to head a Riyad Mahrez cross inside just two minutes and could have had a hat-trick during a strikingly mismatched opening period that suggested another emphatic afternoon’s work for Pep Guardiola’s side.
A second goal eluded them and though Arsenal, whose European prospects took a blow, grew into the contest. Arteta’s men were unable to punish City’s second-half lethargy in attack and found Ruben Dias commanding again in the heart of the defence.
City remains top of the Premier League, 10 points clear of second-placed Manchester United, who they face next month, while Arsenal stays in mid-table, 11 points off fourth spot and six behind sixth-placed Liverpool.
Watch the highlights of the match below
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “The way we conceded the goal after two minutes put us in a really difficult situation in the game. The team reacted really well; we started to generate chances and momentum but we lacked quality to score. We got something wrong, a tactical thing… we didn’t do it in the first five, 10 minutes – and they used the overloads. I thought we were really good on the ball against the press but we couldn’t pick the right pass.”
Pep Guardiola said: “It was as hard as we expected it to be. Playing against Mikel is so difficult – he’s so clever; I learn a lot watching his teams. That’s why I give incredible credit for this victory. People think, 18 wins in a row, it’s easy but you look around Europe, teams are dropping points. This consistency in the last month, honestly I didn’t expect it. I’m more than grateful for what these players are doing.”
Stats and facts from the match (Backed by Opta)
- Manchester City have equalled the record for consecutive away wins by an English top-flight team across all competitions (11), which was previously set by Pep Guardiola’s side between May and November 2017.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 25 games across all competitions (W22 D3) – their second-longest run without defeat under Pep Guardiola, following a 28-game spell between April and December 2017.
- This was Manchester City’s 15th clean sheet in the Premier League this season – the most by a team after 25 games of a top-flight campaign since 2008-09, when both Manchester United (19) and Chelsea (15) had as many.
- Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is the third player to score in three consecutive away games against Arsenal in the Premier League, after Nicolas Anelka (four games ending in May 2009) and Ian Harte (three games ending in May 2003).
- Manchester City’s opener after 75 seconds was the first time they’ve scored in the opening two minutes of a Premier League game since December 2019, which was also away at Arsenal (Kevin De Bruyne after 89 seconds).
- Arsenal have lost their last four Premier League games against Manchester City without scoring a goal. This is the first time in their history they have failed to score in four consecutive home league games against an opponent.