Arsene Wenger felt both of Manchester City’s goals should have been disallowed for offside as Arsenal surrendered the lead to lose 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Theo Walcott opened the scoring early on with the Gunners’ only shot on target, before goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling turned the game in City’s favour.
Germany international Sane looked to be offside before racing clear to bag his first goal for the club, while David Silva was standing ahead of the Arsenal backline when Sterling’s low shot flashed past Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Wenger told Sky Sports: “I feel we dropped physically in the second half, in the first half we looked always dangerous and sharp.
“And on top of that the decisions went against us, the two goals are two offside goals and in a game of that stature, I feel enough is enough for us because we got some bad decisions for the whole season and today I looked at the goals – both are offside.
“The second one is five yards offside. But what can I do? We have to live with that and look at ourselves and analyse why we lost the game.”
Keeper Cech admitted he was unsighted for City’s winner but did not know whether Silva was the man who blocked his view.
“I have to say that there were players in front of the goal so I didn’t see the shot and there were people running across and I don’t know if one of them was David Silva or not,” Cech said.
“But, as I said, I didn’t see the ball because it was behind the players.”
City boss Pep Guardiola felt his team merited the three points and was pleased to see home fans remain until the final whistle.
The result moves the Spaniard’s side above their opponents and Liverpool into second, while the Gunners drop to fourth – nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
“We make a good game from the beginning to the end,” Guardiola said. “We deserve our win.
“Of course it’s not easy in the Premier League when one team scores first, it’s not easy to make a good comeback but I’m satisfied.
“The fans enjoyed it, they stayed until the end of the game. Normally they leave ten or 15 minutes before, today they stayed until the end and they were satisfied by a good performance.”
Walcott put the Gunners into a fifth-minute lead in a crunch Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium but City dominated after the break.
Sane equalised within moments of the restart – his first goal for the club – and Sterling put City ahead after 71 minutes before Kevin De Bruyne hit the post.
It was a welcome return to something like form for City, who cut the gap to leaders Chelsea back to seven points and climbed to second in the table. Arsenal were left to a rue a second successive away game in which they surrendered a lead after Tuesday’s reverse at Everton.
Early on it seemed City were the side lacking steel as their defensive vulnerabilities were once again quickly exposed.
With John Stones on the bench for a second successive game, the central pairing of Aleksandar Kolarov and Nicolas Otamendi were caught cold as Alexis Sanchez split them with a well-paced through ball.
Walcott gratefully accepted the invitation and finished coolly, giving Claudio Bravo no chance.
City tried to respond quickly but another aspect of Guardiola’s selection was soon being questioned as Sterling spurned a good chance. He had started alone up front – the third player to do so after Kelechi Iheanacho and Nolito since Sergio Aguero received a ban – but headed wide after being picked out superbly by De Bruyne.
Yaya Toure also headed at Petr Cech from a De Bruyne corner and the Arsenal keeper then had to react quickly after a Gabriel clearance rebounded in his direction off Hector Bellerin.
Despite these openings, City were generally sluggish. They were almost undone again when Walcott planted a free header wide and Bellerin fired another effort over.
But Sane showed his talent in flashes and some nifty footwork saw him beat Nacho Monreal to reach the byline but Gabriel cleared the danger. He then made his next opportunity count to some effect two minutes into the second half. Replays suggested the German may have been marginally offside but, racing forward in a central position, he took David Silva’s lofted ball in his stride with a clever turn. He beat Cech with a first-time finish.
The goal enlivened City and within moments they and Sane could have had another as De Bruyne played the 20-year-old in but this time Cech saved.
De Bruyne also let fly with a vicious low shot from distance that took a deflection off Granit Xhaka but Cech palmed away.
City continued to crank up the pressure and they took the lead after De Bruyne found Sterling with a brilliant crossfield pass from just inside his own half. Sterling still had plenty to do but he cut inside Monreal and rifled in a powerful low shot inside Cech’s near post.
The hosts looked a different side from the one that laboured through the first half and went close to another as De Bruyne hit the post at the end of another lightning attack.
Arsenal were suddenly seeming out of sorts and substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been linked with a switch to City in the morning newspapers, was taken off in the 78th minute, just 13 minutes after coming on. It was unclear if the England international was injured as he headed straight down the tunnel.
Arsenal were beaten and failed to threaten again as time escaped them.