Rodri scored a 93rd-minute winner as Manchester City took another huge step towards retaining the Premier League title with a 2-1 win over 10-man Arsenal on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola's men are now 11 points clear at the top, thanks to an 11-game winning run, but were made to toil until deep into stoppage time by the Gunners.
A 5-0 thrashing to City when the sides last met in August saw Arsenal off to its worst start to a league season in 67 years. But Mikel Arteta’s men have rallied to rise to fourth in the table and showed why as they led at half-time through Bukayo Saka's seventh goal of the season.
Riyad Mahrez levelled from the penalty spot before Gabriel got himself sent off for two quick bookings just before the hour mark. And the 10 men just failed to hold out for a point when Rodri poked home from close range after Aymeric Laporte’s shot was blocked.
Plastic bottles rained down on the Spanish international as he celebrated, the Arsenal supporters furious as they voiced their frustration at the officiating after seeing a penalty appeal of their own waived away in the first half.
Arteta was forced to watch the game from home after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time earlier this week. However, that did not disrupt the Gunners’ fine form. With Arteta’s assistant Albert Stuivenberg directing operations, the Gunners ran the champions and runaway leaders ragged in the first half. But it was to no avail
In LaLiga, Raúl de Tomás and Javi Puado scored late goals as Espanyol fought back to win 2-1 at 10-man Valencia on Friday and earned its first away victory of the season.
The match that closed out 2021 will be the last one to be played with 100% occupancy for at least a month in Spain. Health authorities have reinstated caps of 75% seating for games during January given the sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Premier League: Arsenal 1 (Saka 31) lost to Manchester City 2 (Mahrez 57-pen, Rodri 90+3).
LaLiga: Friday: Valencia 1 (Alderete 50) lost to Espanyol 2 (Raul de Tomas 83-pen, Puado 88) .