The Gunners were undoubtedly the better side against Pep Guardiola’s table-topping side, but the tie turned on it’s head after Gabriel was dismissed just before the hour mark for two yellow cards in quick succession.
It is unclear what the first yellow was for, at first it appeared he had been cautioned for trying to scuff the penalty spot prior to Riyad Mahrez’s effort from 12-yards, but assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg has since explained that it may have been for a comment made to the referee.
Arsenal’s assistant boss was pressed for his thoughts on the dismissal, responding: “Yeah of course when you have a yellow card you have to control your emotions and be smart.
“I am not sure why the first yellow card was given, I hear some different things, but if you have it you need to control your emotions.”
Controlling emotions has long been an issue for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, the Gunners becoming the first side to reach 100 red cards in the Premier League – their 11th since the the Spaniard took over in late 2019.
Granit Xhaka was the man guilty of giving away the spot-kick, the Swiss midfielder so often the one going for an early bath because of his tendency to use “excessive force” when going in for challenges.
Of the 11 dished out to Arsenal under Arteta, Xhaka has only actually received two of them against Burnley and Man City respectively, yet the former Borussia Monchengladbach man has a reputation for ill-discipline.
Xhaka conceded he feels unfairly treated compared to other players.
“When you see some tackles and imagine if I was in this position? I would be sent off straight away,” he told The Athletic.
“This makes me do things in a different way sometimes because I know that my risk compared to the risk of other players is not the same.”
If the 24-year-old defender doesn’t look to stamp out his trait of letting his emotions get the better of him, he too could fall victim to potential sub-conscious bias from referees.
Gabriel’s red against City on Saturday means he has now contributed to the same amount of dismissals as Xhaka during Arteta’s reign, after the Brazilian was sent off in similar fashion at home to Southampton last season.
When Arteta first returned as manager two years ago, the Gunners had accumulated 89 red cards, with another one of the Spaniard’s former sides in Everton sitting in top spot on 95.
Remarkably, it has not even taken three full seasons for Arteta’s Arsenal to leapfrog the Toffees for one of the more unwanted Premier League records.