Jurgen Klopp reminded how tough Liverpool FC’s title task will be by Man City’s unlikely hero – Dominic Farrell

Manchester City dramatically defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the first Premier League game of 2022 thanks to a finale that will live long in the memory.

A stoppage-time winner from Rodri sent the travelling City fans into ecstasy, but it simply wouldn’t have been possible without Nathan Ake’s heroics at the other end of the pitch.

After a mix-up at the back, Aymeric Laporte headed over Ederson with the game poised at 1-1. Arsenal were about to retake the lead via a comedy own goal, moments after Riyad Mahrez levelled from the penalty spot.

Then, in true John Stones style, Ake sprinted back and cleared the ball off the line. Not a goal, but every bit as important and a moment to echo the clearance from 2019 that Jurgen Klopp mentioned again just a few days ago.

In MEN’s latest Facebook Live, City is Ours editor Dom Farrell joined multimedia editor Guy Clarke as the pair discussed the fallout from City’s last-gasp win at the Emirates including Ake’s heroics.

GC: “If we are in the next couple of weeks to say the title race is done, was the Nathan Ake last-ditch clearance on the line his John Stones moment for City? In terms of City ensuring they didn’t open up the door for the chasing pack to come and get them because at 2-1 down, obviously Arsenal still having 11 players on the pitch, it might have been a different game.”

DF: “It was a huge turning point in the game and we’re almost three years to the day of that John Stones clearance. If you compare the two, in terms of the Stones one…. [Ake’s, by contrast] was inches away from going over the line. He had a good width of paint to help him there!

Nathan Ake enjoyed his first huge moment in a City shirt against Arsenal

“I’m pleased for Ake because he’s generally regarded as a very good member of the City dressing room, which you’d have to be because he’s had next to no luck during his City career. Last season, when Guardiola changed things up a bit and City won against Newcastle on Boxing Day, he was delighted with that win.

“Nobody else saw it as a significant performance, but then the big run rumbled on through January, February and March. Ake started left-back that game, tucking in and playing in midfield but then got injured again. Then that becomes Zincheko’s spot and Cancelo has obviously played that left-back role as well.

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“But he gets a chance because there are absentees this week, plays well against Brentford then he gets to back up against one of the brightest young players in Europe. We all identified Saka vs Ake as a key point of difference for Arsenal and it proved that way, [in the first half] he had the better of him.

“Ake will be disappointed with the way Saka got away from him for the first goal. That’s your bread and butter as a defender. It wasn’t him getting run by a skilful pacey winger, it was simply him getting done because of a dozy bit of defending.

“But he’s proven he’s worth his weight in gold with that clearance.”

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester City! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive City coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to City fans – City Is Ours.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the blue side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@DomFarrell1986 and @alex_brotherton)!

Whatever happens now, if City make it four Premier League titles in five seasons, Ake’s place in history is secured.

DF: “It’s not been easy for him since he signed for City from Bournemouth because around the same time City signed Ruben Dias.

“Dias become the talismanic leader and Ake has become a bit of a bit-part player but he’s got his big title race moment now. If City do go all the way that will definitely feature in all the montages.”

What did you think of Nathan Ake’s performance?Follow the City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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