Welcome to the brand new world which, for Arsenal fans at least, felt very much like the old one.
David Luiz was the punchline yet again for Arsenal, as their accident-prone Brazilian came on as a sub, blundered for a goal, gave away a penalty and got himself sent off.
Even by his standards it was a bizarre and crazy 25-minutes work and, for a man who is trying to negotiate a new contract, not exactly a great way of making his case.
Mikel Arteta had left him out of the starting XI but, with Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari needing to go off injured early on, Luiz got his chance. Nothing went right for the Gunners in the eerie, empty Etihad, and it was not their fault that Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling appeared fit, hungry, sharp and near to their best.
Arsenal were on terms for the first 15 minutes but it was largely one-way traffic for the rest of the evening.
Sterling opened the scoring shortly after half-time when Luiz hacked at a de Bruyne misplaced pass and inadvertently set-up the England forward. Sterling made no mistake.
Luiz then hauled down Mahrez as the former Leicester attacker got past him. Referee Anthony Taylor had no choice but to send him off. De Bruyne slotted the penalty away and the match was effectively over.
Phil Foden came on as a sub and tucked away the third, following up after Sergio Aguero hit the post. Arsenal’s best player was their keeper Bernd Leno, who made a string of saves to keep the scoreline just about respectable.
City had 20 attempts, 12 of which were on target. Arsenal had three efforts but could not muster one on target.
It would have been an entirely satisfactory evening for the hosts had it not been for a nasty-looking injury suffered by Eric Garcia late on when he collided with Ederson. There was concern all-round, and a 10-minute delay, as he was taken off.
At the start of the game, players had taken a knee for the Black Lives Matter campaign.
With coronavirus and social justice on the minds as much as football, it was an unusual resumption. But for Luiz, it was deja vu all over again. And for the team as well: in terms of grit and assurance, Arsenal still look a mile short of the top sides.