Hull City fell to a second consecutive home defeat as Arsenal again turned on the style at the KCOM Stadium in a 4-1 win for the visitors on Saturday.
Six visits to the Tigers' current home have yielded six victories, and the latest was never in doubt after a straight red card to Jake Livermore late in the first half. City could have thrown in the towel when 2-0 down early in the second half, but there was a certain resilience to this heavy defeat.
Not until Arsenal bagged two goals in the last 10 minutes was the contest finally over after Robert Snodgrass's penalty had provided a glimmer of hope.
The spirit shown will have pleased Mike Phelan. A cricket score felt likely early in the second half against an Arsenal side swarming all over their depleted hosts, but the same desire that had secured seven points from the previous four league games spared an embarrassment.
Sam Clucas, who was playing nonleague football in the Conference four years ago, typified that attitude and never looked out of place against Arsenal's household names. Lively cameos from new boys Ryan Mason and Dieumerci Mbokani were also encouraging.
Supporters took satisfaction from the dogged manner of this defeat, but there will be concerns where the next Premier League point will come from now. A trip to Liverpool and then a home game with Chelsea are the only league fixtures remaining before the next international break.
An inability to finally sort Phelan's future as manager has also become a needless backing track to the season. Phelan suggested his long-term position could soon be secure, but it beggars belief it has taken this long.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- The caretaker boss went with the same XI for a fifth straight game but will perhaps regret his loyalty now. Arsenal had done their homework and committed bodies forward. Their slick passing then did the rest.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Eldin Jakupovic, 6 -- At fault for the opening goal when failing to deal with Theo Walcott's cross-cum-shot but responded in positive fashion. As well as keeping out Alexis Sanchez's penalty, he denied Alex Iwobi low down and then Walcott.
DF Ahmed Elmohamady, 6 -- The right-back caused Arsenal some problems with his advances down the right, drawing a yellow card for Santi Cazorla. The end product was not quite enough as a telling last pass eluded the Egyptian.
DF Jake Livermore, 5 -- Arsenal's clever movement and runners from deep had stretched City's defensive line like never before this season, and his day was done when handling a Francis Coquelin goal-bound shot. Harsh but an afternoon to forget.
DF Curtis Davies, 7 -- A number of vital blocks and interceptions helped to prevent Arsenal from running away with it. However, the pace of the Gunners' attack caused problems he has not endured this season as City's unflappable skipper.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 -- Hearts were in mouths when his misplaced back-pass sent in Sanchez, yet the covering tackle was superb. Struggled to contain Walcott when overrun in the first half but kept plugging away.
MF Tom Huddlestone, 5 -- The weakest performance of his encouraging season as Arsenal's vibrancy in midfield diluted his influence. Never really got a foothold in the contest before he was replaced just before the hour mark.
MF Sam Clucas, 7 -- The one to emerge with greatest credit from defeat as he looked the part against an opponent littered with star names. Never stopped in midfield and used the ball intelligently throughout.
MF David Meyler, 6 -- A fine example of the application that ran through City's display as he pressed and chased countless apparent lost causes. The Irishman is rising to the new challenge posed by record-signing Ryan Mason.
FW Robert Snodgrass, 7 -- Seven goals in seven games for club and country this season after a late penalty, and it could have been more had he put more power on a shot straight at Petr Cech. A lively performance all the same. The pick of the attackers.
FW Adama Diomande, 5 -- The physical, dominant force of the opening weekend has lost his way, and he missed the chance to bully Arsenal. The unfortunate fall guy when replaced by Harry Maguire in the wake of Livermore's red card.
FW Abel Hernandez, 5 -- Deserved some sympathy when left to plough a lone furrow for much of the game, but Arsenal's defence had it easy against the Uruguayan. One half-chance was drilled wide in the first half.
DF Harry Maguire, 6 -- Stepped into the breach following Livermore's red card and slotted in well alongside Davies. Confident on the ball.
MF Ryan Mason, 6 -- A home debut for the club's record buy and was a busy addition for the last half-hour. Set up the chance to win a penalty with a perfectly weighted pass.
FW Dieumerci Mbokani, N/R -- Showed he can add something different to the City attack when hauled down by Cech for his side's penalty.