London (AFP) – Manchester City capitalised on Sadio Mane’s controversial red card to thrash title rivals Liverpool 5-0, while Arsenal eased the pressure on Arsene Wenger with a vital 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.
City goalkeeper Ederson was stretchered off in a neck brace after being caught in the face by Mane’s boot as he raced out to head the ball away, with the Liverpool winger dismissed for the clash late in the first half at Eastlands.
City already led 1-0 through Sergio Aguero’s opener at that point and braces from Gabriel Jesus and substitute Leroy Sane completed City’s biggest win over Liverpool since 1937.
City are unbeaten in 12 Premier League games, their best run under Guardiola, while Argentina striker Aguero is now the outright leading non-European goalscorer in Premier League history with 124 goals.
“After 10 v 11 it was a little bit easier for us and we played the second half the way we wanted to,” said City manager Pep Guardiola.
With Liverpool having avoided defeat against their top-six rivals last season, it was the first time Jurgen Klopp’s side had lost to one of their principal adversaries since a 1-0 loss at home to Manchester United in January 2016.
“The decisive decision in the whole game was the red card. I don’t think it was a red card. Sadio didn’t see the goalkeeper,” Klopp said.
Subjected to stinging criticism following Arsenal’s damaging defeats against Stoke and Liverpool, Wenger received more bad news just before kick off when it was revealed his chief transfer negotiator Dick Law has decided to step down.
But it took just six minutes for Danny Welbeck to lift the gloom at the Emirates Stadium as the Arsenal striker headed home from Sead Kolasinac’s cross.
France forward Alexandre Lacazette doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 27th minute, bagging his second goal since his pre-season move from Lyon with a curling strike from the edge of the area.
Welbeck’s second goal, from Aaron Ramsey’s 50th minute pass, secured Arsenal’s first win since the opening weekend.
– Ton up for Kane –
Alexis Sanchez came off the bench in the closing stages for his first Arsenal appearance this season following the collapse of his mooted move to Manchester City on transfer deadline day.
“It was a serious performance. We played well all over the pitch,” Wenger said.
“Confidence is so important and the best way to get it is to perform like we did today.”