Arsenal substitute Gabriel Martinelli fired a deflected last-gasp winner to earn a 1-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday.
It was a result that moved Mikel Arteta’s side level on points with North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, atop the Premier League.
The Gunners came into the match having not beaten Manchester City in the league since 2015, a run of 15 games – their longest winless streak against a single opponent in league history.
Ending such a barren run looked unlikely as Manchester City had the better of the chances in the first half, with Arsenal’s Declan Rice clearing off the line to keep the champions at bay.
The hosts did not have a single shot on target in the opening period, but upped the tempo after the break.
Even though Manchester City still created the better openings despite their Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland being kept quiet all afternoon.
The game appeared to be edging towards a stalemate before Martinelli struck four minutes from time, a deflection off City defender Nathan Ake’s head taking the ball past keeper Ederson.
The goal sparked wild celebrations at the Emirates, as Arsenal moved above City into second place on 20 points, two above the champions, and trailing Spurs only on goals scored.
“It is a great feeling. We have not beaten them for so long, but I am in no doubt we have beaten the best team in the world.
“I am really proud to be part of this team. We have to keep believing in what we are doing,” Arteta said.
Arsenal were dealt a huge blow ahead of kickoff as it was confirmed the injured Bukayo Saka would miss a league game for the first time since May 2021.
This meant Saka ended a run of 87 consecutive appearances, the longest ongoing streak in the competition.
Without the flying forward, Arsenal looked sluggish early on, with City’s Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol denied by Rice’s intervention, while Julian Alvarez almost diverted Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya’s hesitant clearance into the net.
The crowd did try to rouse a response from Arsenal, cheering every flying tackle with gusto, and it seemed to help matters, with the hosts growing into the contest.
Promising openings fell flat, however, as Arsenal failed to have a shot on target in the opening half of a Premier League home game for the first time since March 2022.
Martinelli’s introduction livened things up though and he soon had the Gunners’ first effort on target in the match, a fierce strike straight at Ederson.
With the international break to follow, the life seemed to be sucked out of the game before Martinelli broke Manchester City hearts.
It was a timely strike, ensuring Arsenal have yet to lose a Premier League game this season, last going on a longer unbeaten run to start a campaign in 2007/2008.
While Manchester City slipped to back-to-back league defeats for the first time since December 2018.
“Congratulations to Arsenal. Now we have two defeats in a row and then we have the internationals.
“Hopefully they (the players) come back fit and then we go again.
“Maybe it’s a little bit better to be there (in the chasing pack) and see what we have to do to catch them and then (we will) when we come back,” Manchester coach Pep Guardiola said.