Arsenal record at Etihad Stadium: Three key habits for Gunners to break

The recent Arsenal record at Etihad Stadium makes for grim reading.

Almost a decade has passed since the North Londoners won at Man City – a 2-0 win in January 2015. Eight consecutive defeats, 22 goals conceded and just four scored at the Etihad have followed in the subsequent nine years.

However, City have not always had their way against Arsenal at home. The London side once had a strong record in the blue half of Manchester. Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal won their first four matches at the Emirates between August 2003 and May 2006.

The record started to shift in City’s favour after the hosts won their first-ever match against Arsenal at the Etihad in August 2006. Joey Barton’s penalty led the Sky Blues to a 1-0 win and Arsenal saw a big change in fortunes at the Etihad from this moment. In the following 18 meetings, the Gunners have triumphed just three times.

Sheikh Mansour’s acquisition of the Citizens early in the 2008/90 campaign signalled further dismay for the Arsenal record at Etihad Stadium. Since this era-defining moment in the Premier League, the North Londoners have lost 13 of their 16 trips to the Etihad and won just once.

What has contributed to Arsenal’s dismal run of form at the Etihad since they last tasted victory in 2015? We look at some key trends that the Gunners must address to triumph again at the Etihad as the two sides meet this Sunday.

Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Sunday – Photo by Icon sport

Arsenal record at Etihad Stadium: Three key habits for Gunners to break

Slow starts

One standout statistic in Arsenal’s recent visits to Man City is how the home side almost always scored first. In the last seven meetings between Arsenal and City at the Etihad Pep Guardiola’s side have opened the scoring.

City also have a chokehold over Arsenal’s attack, especially in the first half. The Gunners have failed to score a first-half goal at the Etihad in the last five fixtures, while the London outfit have netted just two in the opening 45 minutes in their last eight trips to the Etihad.

Conceding first-half goals

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott was the last Arsenal player to open the scoring at the Etihad – Photo by Icon Sport

Another first-half trend that will make Arteta wince is the number of goals conceded. The Citizens have often taken control from the outset against Arsenal at home. In the last seven meetings between Arsenal and City in Manchester, the Citizens have scored six first-half goals, with five of these strikes proving to be the match opener.

This is in contrast to Arsenal’s first-half scoring record at the Etihad. The Gunners have opened the scoring just once in their last eight trips – back in December 2016 when Theo Walcott netted after just five minutes. However, this did not prove to be the silver bullet, as Arsenal went on to lose 3-1; the result which kick-started the North Londoners' current barren spell.

Keeping De Bruyne quiet

Кевин де Брюйне
Man City's Kevin De Bruyne has scored eight career goals against Arsenal – Photo by Icon Sport

No player has been more prolific in City’s eight-match winning run at home against Arsenal than midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian has made seven goal contributions (four goals and three assists) for City during this streak, accounting for nearly a third of all the Citizens’ goals against Arsenal during their ongoing run of victories.

De Bruyne was a specific thorn in Arsenal’s side last season at the Etihad. It took the midfielder just seven minutes to set up Erling Haaland for the opener. The Gunners then gave De Bruyne too much space to dictate as he teed up John Stones before scoring himself just after half time in a commanding 4-1 win.

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Alex Waite

Alex is a freelance sports writer with experience writing digital news, blogs, features, exlcusive interviews and SEO. He has a keen interest and knowledge of UK and European football, ATP and WTA tennis, cricket and boxing.