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HomeNewsEPL 2023: Arsenal vs Manchester City dogged by controversy, VAR, penalty calls

EPL 2023: Arsenal vs Manchester City dogged by controversy, VAR, penalty calls

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Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has been peppered with bottles by livid Arsenal fans after City’s 3-1 win at the Emirates on Thursday morning.

The top-of-the-table Premier League clash had massive implications for how the season might play out, with Mikel Arteta having never gotten up over Pep Guardiola’s men in six meetings.

With City 1-0 up early courtesy of a De Bruyne opener, controversy erupted as a loose ball in the box saw City keeper Ederson and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah clash, with Nketiah attempting a volley off the outside of the boot and being cleaned up in the process.

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It was the type of challenge that is routinely considered normal from goalkeepers, given priority in taking the ball from underneath attacking players, but rarely called a foul.

With Ederson getting airborne as he clattered into Nketiah, social media erupted with outrage over referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to award a spot kick.

CBS Soccer correspondent James Benge said it was “not one that is always given but clearly one when you watch it back.”

Journalist Louise Elliott said it “wasn’t a penalty – just a collision.”

Heading into the break with scores at 1-1, the officiating was once again the centre of attention with Erling Haaland brought down in the box in the 59th minute by Gabriel, winning a penalty for the visitors.

VAR had other ideas however, with the replays showing Haaland was in fact off-side when the ball over the top was played through.

Gabriel’s yellow card was rescinded, leaving the game at 1-1.

City’s first goal came off the back of a monumental blunder from Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, who seriously undercooked a pass back to goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, and allowing De Bruyne to chip Ramsdale from outside the box to score his first goal for City in 13 games.

Former Villa captain Jack Grealish took City 2-1 up in the 72nd minute, assisted with some clinical holdup play from Ilkay Gundogan and Erling Haaland.

Grealish jumped on a ball teed up perfectly on the edge of the box behind the play, slotting it in the bottom right and putting City on top of the league with their superior goal difference.

Haaland, after having less of the ball than anyone else on the field in the first half, put through the winner for City in the 81st minute, taking an overcooked pass on his weak side and slotting it home past Ramsdale to put City 3-1 up.

The game was further dragged into the mud after Kevin De Bruyne, replaced in the 87th minute by former Leeds man Kalvin Phillips, had bottles thrown at him by Arsenal fans on the edge of the pitch.

Being peppered with plastic bottles as he walked around the perimeter, De Bruyne smirked and laughed at Arsenal fans, having scored the opening goal of the game and with City now on top of the Premier League once again.

The Belgian couldn’t resist laying into Gunners fans with a cheeky wink, and City fans on social media loved it.

“The look on his face says it all,” said one user.

“Little concern, maximum confidence.

“Much like City right now.”

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