Ignore the scoreline when reflecting on this contest. This was, to date, the Premier League match of the season.
A 6-3 result suggests that the winning side rolled over an over-matched opponent. That wasn't the case at the Etihad on Saturday. Manchester City were certainly impressive in knocking off the league leaders, displaying both their class and their depth during another statement home victory.
Arsenal gave City a real fight, though, which is more than several other teams can say during the current festive period.
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal: The big story...
of the day may have nothing to do with the final score of this contest. Sergio Aguero, who buried a peach of a goal to open the scoring 14 minutes into the match, limped off the pitch five minutes after the halftime break. It was a non-contact injury, which usually suggests that the player in question is set to miss a significant amount of games.
The seriousness of the injury likely won't be known until Sunday at the earliest.
Aguero has been incredible this fall, arguably the best striker in the league. He is averaging a goal per start this season. City possess one of the deepest squads in the country, but don't discount how much they would miss Aguero if he is sidelined for a considerable amount of time.
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal: Mistake erased
Yaya Toure committed a rare error near the halfway line 30 minutes into the match. He seemingly lost concentration and didn't notice that Aaron Ramsey was pressing, and Ramsey did well to win the ball and begin a sequence that resulted in Arsenal leveling the match via a Theo Walcott goal.
Toure more than made up for that error. He dropped a precise over the top ball into the right portion of the penalty area eight minutes later, an on-point pass that set up an Alvaro Negredo tap in. Toure was a force in the midfield throughout the remainder of the match, and he also scored from the penalty spot six minutes into stoppage time.
Players such as Aguero, David Silva or Samir Nasri grab headlines. Toure is often the most important man in the City team. He is, as cliché as it is to say, the glue that holds it all together, maybe the world's most underrated player.
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal: Heads up
Arsenal have no reason to feel shame regarding this result. The Gunners twice fought back and produced answers to City tallies, and the visitors refused to play dead even when trailing 5-2 in stoppage time. That type of effort is what you would expect from a true title contender.
Somebody forgot to tell that to Mesut Ozil. Ozil, apparently dejected by the events of the day (Ozil assisted on what was somewhat of a flukey Walcott goal, but he was largely an invisible man outside of that moment), refused to acknowledge the away support after the final whistle. He then got an earful from Per Mertesacker, who was essentially ignored by the former Real Madrid player.
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal: Overall
There are times when American fans of the beautiful game feel as if luck is always against them. Of course the EPL's best match of the season would kick off at 7:45 am ET, when a large portion of the country was either rubbing their eyes or still in bed. That's just the way it sometimes goes.
Saturday's game featuring two of the England's top squads wasn't a technical marvel. A myriad of defensive miscues were made, and Arsenal would have had at least one more goal to their name had Olivier Giroud been wearing his shooting boots. It was, nevertheless, a great advertisement for football, a back-and-forth affair that entertained all who watched.
You don't need FIFA 14 when games such as this one air on TV.