https://www.sportinglife.com- A dejected looking Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta
Manchester City thrashed Arsenal 4-1 to seal their place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals and heap further pressure on Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
The under-fire Spaniard is now the 8/11 favourite with Sky Bet to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post after another torrid night at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal, who have not won a domestic game since November 1, were outclassed as back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson endured a night to forget.
While City continue on their quest to win a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup crown, Arsenal must now prepare for a London derby at home to Chelsea on Boxing Day.
Arteta is in desperate need of a victory against the Blues if he is to begin to turn things around before a favourable trio of fixtures in and around the turn of the year.
Arteta opted to make eight changes to the team that lost at Everton on Saturday and, while his former boss Pep Guardiola made seven alterations of his own, the difference in the respective squads was clear for all to see.
Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte all capped recalls with the four City goals, while Alexandre Lacazette had briefly equalised completely against the run of play in the first half.
Runarsson should have done better with the opener and was at fault for Mahrez’s strike as he let a free-kick pass straight through his grasp, while the decision to start Gabriel Martinelli – just back from a nine-month lay-off – also backfired as he limped off injured.
Despite all the changes, the visitors looked much stronger on paper and were ahead as Jesus headed home Oleksandr Zinchenko’s near-post cross with a little over two minutes on the clock.
City continued to press and keep their foot on the gas throughout the first half but it would be Arsenal who equalised out of nowhere.
After an initial ball into the box had been cleared, Martinelli crossed from the byline and Lacazette was on hand to head past Zack Steffen to level for the hosts just after the half hour.
City would regain the lead 10 minutes into the second half, Runarsson this time taking complete blame for conceding as Mahrez hit a free-kick straight at the Iceland international, only for the ball to escape his grasp and end up in the back of the net.
Foden put City on the cusp on the semi-final, drawing Runarsson off his line and finishing with aplomb – although the England man was lucky that VAR was not in operation as he was offside when the ball was played through.
The tie was finished off as a contest as Laporte celebrated his recall by heading home Foden’s cross from a short corner – a third goal in 18 minutes for Guardiola’s men.