But Grealish’s smart finish saw City move ahead with just 18 minutes left before Erling Haaland’s late effort wrapped up victory.
Grealish has now revealed he took advantage of Ramsdale’s decision making after becoming close pals with the goalie at England camps.
The winger says he knew Ramsdale was going to anticipate a reversal of the ball after a pass from Ilkay Gundogan.
And that allowed Grealish to make the decision to slot the ball home before cleverly deciding NOT to whip his shirt off – or else face being sent off.
Grealish said: “I know Gundo and I knew he was going to pass it. He’s so unselfish and I knew he was going to pass it. Him and Kev, obviously Kev loves getting assists.
“As the ball was coming, obviously I’m trying to go back across the keeper. I was going to reverse it but then I know Rammers [Aaron Ramsdale] from England and we always have banter, so I thought he’s going to think I’m going to try and reverse it.
“I was due one of them, just a deflection or something. I was going to take my top off, but I realised I was already on a yellow card so it’s a good job I didn’t.”
Reflecting on the win, Grealish added: “It was massive. For me it was obviously a great night, that’s what I’ve wanted to do, especially recently, I feel like I’ve been playing well.
“I want to come and affect these big games, last month I scored at Old Trafford to make it 1-0 and I was buzzing thinking I’m going to get the winner here and then we went and conceded twice, so it didn’t really mean anything.
“But obviously to score here tonight was so important and I’m absolutely buzzing for myself and for the team.
“You get those must-win games where you speak amongst yourselves and everyone was so concentrated on the game and even myself I was so in the mood and was staying off my phone.
“We just had to win today, that’s what I was thinking and luckily we did.
“If I’m being honest, I don’t actually think we played that well, I thought Arsenal were the better team, but if you want to win titles you’ve got to come to grounds like this and win games and that’s what me and Riyad were saying on the bench.”