Sterling hits the City winner to sink Gunners

Arsenal once again lost a one goal lead to lose successive Premier League matches 2-1 in the North West.

This afternoon the Gunners were beaten by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

It was the same outcome as the defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Tuesday.

Arsenal have now lost three league games from leading positions this season – more than they did in the whole of 2015-16 (2).

The result drops Arsenal to fourth place in the Premier League table.

The Gunners now trail the leaders Chelsea by nine points going into the hectic Christmas and New Year fixture programme.

Manchester City move into second place in the table – seven points behind Chelsea.

Liverpool will regain second place with a win against Everton at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby tomorrow night.

It all started so well for Arsenal.

They opened the scoring in the 5th minute.

Hector Bellerin ran 60 yards and played in Alexis Sanchez, who passed to Theo Walcott – whose shot went past Claudio Bravo into the net.

Sanchez has been involved in more Premier League goals this season in 17 games (12 goals, 6 assists) than in 30 games last season (17).

The Gunners thought they had doubled their lead just before half-time. Alex Iwobi volleying home, but the assistant flagged for  offside against Nacho Monreal.

Arsenal conceded just before half-time in the defeat to Everton.

Today they conceded just after half-time.

This time a tight offside decision went against them, in the 47th minute, when they lost possession in midfield from a poor Petr Cech goal kick.

David Silva played the ball over the top of the Gunners defence and Leroy Sane ran through to beat Cech.

Sane looked marginally offside, but referee Atkinson and his assistant allowed the play to proceed and goal to stand. It was the German’s first goal for Manchester City.

The winning goal came in the 71st minute and was set up by Kevin de Bruyne,  He played a pass to Raheem Sterling on the opposite wing, who cut inside and his left foot beat Cech at his near post.

David Silva was stood right in front of Cech, but once again referee was content for the play to stand.

The back-to-back defeats will raise further questions about Arsene Wenger’s future and whether this group of players have the character to mount a realistic title challenge in the second half of the season.

Wenger can point to three offside decisions going against Arsenal today, which directly influenced the outcome of the match

What is more worrying though was another poor and tentative second half showing, with Arsenal unable to combat the greater tempo and intensity shown by Manchester City after the break.

The gap to Chelsea has stretched to nine points following this weekend’s fixtures.

And realistically it looks as if Arsenal are now competing for a top four spot.

Arsenal: Cech 6, Bellerin 6, Koscielny 6, Gabriel 6, Monreal 5, Coquelin 6 (Giroud), Xhaka 5, Iwobi 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elneny), Walcott 6, Ozil 5, Sanchez 7