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Mikel Arteta’s tactics floored Manchester City in Arsenal win on a pivotal night for flowering coach

During commentary on Saturday, BT’s Ian Darke made a shrewd observation about the body language of Arsenal’s players.

‘They look like they are celebrating a party every time they stop a City attack,’ said Darke.

The cruel among us could suggest it was because it was so unusual. Prior to this brilliant performance, Arsenal had lost seven times on the spin to Pep Guardiola’s team.

Arsenal’s victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup was a huge moment for the Spaniard 

The Gunners boss' tactics unlocked City as the Gunners put in a superb performance

The Gunners boss’ tactics unlocked City as the Gunners put in a superb performance 

But down on the Arsenal bench, the sense of common purpose was mirrored. They were all at it. Celebrating throw-ins and applauding as City’s relentless attacks crashed against a strangely resilient red and white wall.

So it’s time to be generous to Mikel Arteta’s much-maligned team. The cruelty can wait. This was a bespoke tactical performance, orchestrated by a clever, flowering coach — and carried out by a team who look as though they have finally started to listen.

Arsenal have some way to go before they return to the top of the English game, as Guardiola suggested they would last Friday. It is only…