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A few thoughts on the Manchester City match

January 20, 2015

Once more into the breach…..   We’ve all heard the “Arsenal cannot do it against the big sides” mantra time and time again and to be fair, recently (I say recently) that has been the case, Arsenal don’t have a very good record against our rivals.. So it was time for Arsenal to stand up and be counted against Manchester City.

How long do you go back to call recent? Three games maybe? If so then City haven’t beaten Arsenal. If like me you understand that football started around a hundred years before the Premier League was formed then our results against City are as follows :

AFC 88 wins v City. City 48 wins v AFC . Massive difference.

And against the other doped club :

AFC 66 wins v CFC. CFC 55 wins v AFC.

People can go back as long as they like if they have agenda driven reasons, but history is history and the fact remains teams are sometimes better than others in certain eras. However, results are over the history of the fixtures between clubs is what counts. Manchester City have done well against Arsenal during their recent spell of buying trophies, but Arsenal used to smash them for fun.

Arsenal went into the game against City with Oooooooooospina still at No.1. Bellerin was given the right back slot. Monreal had left back covered. Coquelin carried on at defensive midfield due to his recent good form. Rosicky lost out though and after a couple of good performances as Aaron Ramsey came in to replace him. The team lined up as followed.

Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Rosicky), Ramsey (Flamini ), Cazorla, Sanchez (Gibbs), Giroud.

City started the game as most would have expected – on the front foot and Arsenal unusually set up as if they had brought a few London buses with them to park in front of Oooooooooospina. As the game progressed Arsenal started to come back into the game and City were having a serious case of the Arsenal pass, pass, pass type football and nothing at the end-of-it ploy. One early burst forward by Fernandinho for City saw Koscielny take him out and no let’s have a quiet word for Koscielny from the referee, simply yellow card. Fair enough, could not argue with that booking.

A good run down the right from Oxlade-Chamberlain saw his cross headed wide of the near post by Giroud – close! Then a one-two between Monreal and Giroud saw Kompany body check Monreal – Referee pointed to the spot – penalty to Arsenal! Moan all you sodding want BBC MOTD that was a penalty. Santi steps up to take it and puts it plum into the far right hand corner 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Got to laugh at this – “Paul Hayward Ridiculous penalty award against Kompany on Monreal, who threw himself over. Joins the long list of this season’s refereeing blunders” The twats just keep on getting twatish!

What is this guys issue about the penalty and why wasn’t Hayward arguing the toss that Kompany should have been booked.  Later in the first half Kompany was booked for a poor foul on Giroud and should have been off at this stage. Lucky City?

The first half ended with Arsenal having taken control of the game and dictated how it was being played. City flattered coming forward, got a few corners that were well defended by Arsenal, also City did not have a single shot on target the whole of the first half.

HT 1-0 Arsenal.

The early stages of the second half saw Arsenal revert back to Arsenal’s usual style play, which is not to worry about our opponents, let them worry about us. This approach opened the game up, City started to look dangerous and had their best period of the match.. However, Arsenal were still breaking well and causing City problems, the classic end-to-end football match. One of these breaks saw Sanchez run at City’s defence and fouled. Cazorla took the resulting free kick, floated it right on to Giroud’s head and the ball went beyond Hart into the net 2-0 to the Arsenal!

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah… Nah nah nah nah GIROUD!!!

City really didn’t offer much and Arsenal’s defence was solid and comfortable. Coquelin did a great job. I suppose the best way to sum up Arsenal’s performance at the £tihad would be the players, played as a team. The whole team back to front was professional, disciplined and looked like they wanted to win this game badly. The team showed passion, fight, were not afraid to also get a foot in, chase back and defend as a team. The passing was very good against City, though at times the final pass in the last third of the pitch attacking wise was not quite as good as it could have been.

FT 2-0 Arsenal

The game ended with Arsenal playing the match set up more like Chelsea too get a result and City playing more like Arsenal passing the ball around, looking good, but not causing Arsenal too many problems.

I think everyone is pretty agreeable that what the match against City showed was sometimes you have to play a certain way to get results. You have to take your opponents into account, change your style to counter them if needed. Arsene Wenger seems to have shocked many by doing just that against City. Even garnered praise from many for doing so. Will he continue with this tactic in such future matches though?

What Sunday showed our future opponents is Arsenal can have a “Plan B” so it should not be so simple to think the usual suspect Arsenal will turn up in their back yard for future matches.

The referee who many Arsenal supporters may have had good reason to worry about before the match had a good game, though I would question how Kompany could give away a penalty, foul Giroud (get booked) and then make a very poor challenge on Cazorla and yet somehow finished the match still on the pitch?

Oooooooooospina – Did everything asked of him, though to be fair City did not ask him to many questions. City had four shots on Target and I can’t think of any of those that caused the Columbian too much trouble. Maybe some keepers are lucky as so far in three games he has kept three clean sheets. 6/10

Bellerin – Most people are now well aware this lad has promise. The lad looked like a seasoned professional against City. Good tackler. Good positioning, good going forward and looks a real live wire to handle. Obviously it’s still early days. 8

Monreal – Nacho has done so well for Arsenal this season. Filled in as and when needed in different positions and in no way deserves some of the over-the-top criticism that has been aimed at him. Solid performance. Won the penalty. 8

Koscielny – Total boss at the back. If this guy is not one of the best five defenders in Europe then the five that are must be awesome. Simply superb, never ruffled and one of the few defenders who has pockets in his shorts for attackers. 7

Mertesacker – Benefits from having Koscielny playing next to him big time, but against City both he and Koscielny can be thankful for Coquelin who gave both of them more of a rest than they would normally get. 7

Coquelin – Star man after Cazorla for me. One moment Charlton, next month Arsenal. Had everything in his locker Sunday. When the midfield lost the ball or when Arsenal gave away a corner in the second half he was screaming at his teams mates. Total control of his performance and disciplined. Stayed where he was most effective, did the simple things well. 9

Cazorla – Simply has to be the best all-round performance from any player, in any game this season in the premier league so far. The little Spaniard was everywhere and caused City all sorts of problems as well as stop problems. If you were looking at Spanish player Silva before the game, it was the Spanish player Cazorla that you were raving about at the end of the game. Assisted one and scored one as well. I remember watching Liam Brady get 10/10 many years ago at Bristol City (2-0 Arsenal)  in 1977 for a similar performance. However, that was Liam Brady, so I’ll have to give Cazorla 9.Only Liam gets a 10

Sanchez – Not one of his best games, but you know our opponents cannot take their eye of the man for a single second. Even his not so good games though is better than most. 7

Oxlade-Chamberlain – If I had to take issue with one player it was Oxlade in the first half where I thought he gave the ball away to often. Overall though he played his part in a proper team effort. 6

Giroud – What can you say about him. Looks as lazy as hell at times, yet he does have this superb touch and able to pass the ball on quickly with flicks and first time passes. Against City he stood up, was counted and fully deserved his goal. 7

Ramsey – First game back and like Coquelin stayed disciplined for all but about fifteen minutes at the start of the second half. Had a good chance ten minutes into the second half and maybe if Giroud had got the ball to him a fraction quicker he might have got off a better shot and scored. Aaron ran himself into the ground and you could see how knackered he was just before Flamini replaced him. 6

Flamini, Gibbs and Rosicky. Flamini could have assisted for 3-0 had he put the ball across onto Giroud’s foot instead of behind him. Rosicky came on and did all asked of him and typical Tomas all action game. Gibbs had a cameo.

Whatever people want to say about Arsenal and the victory against City, let them, the fact is Arsenal won and I for one bloody well enjoyed it. It’s put me right in the mood for Brighton next weekend.



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