Man City V Arsenal: A Good Point, Lots of Plusses, but More Gunners Creativity Required

Guest Post match report today from @The_Gooner_Way

It was a point apiece at the Etihad as Manchester City and Arsenal battled to a closely matched draw that will perhaps see both managers leave contented. After today Arsenal sit in fifth place on nine points, ahead of Manchester City by goal differential.

Arsenal possessed the ball comfortably much of the time, but conceded a goal at the end of the first half to Joleon Lescott’s header. Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal’s centre-back, was the unlikely hero after his unstoppable shot from a corner eight minutes from regulation time tied the game.

There were a lot of pros in this game for Arsenal. Manchester City, current champions, struggled to find their feet in this game. Arsenal dominated both possession and chances.

There were times when Man City were on top, but that is expected at the Etihad Stadium.

Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson were all immense today and proved their worth.

Jenkinson’s confidence level must be rising every second he has the ball. Last season we saw a boy arguing with Theo Walcott in that painful 8-2 loss. Now we see a boy who has matured and could be, I think, one of the most influential players in Arsenal’s push for the Premier League title.

Cazorla played exceptionally (as usual) and could prove to be one of the greatest Arsenal buys in the last decade. He is confident on the ball, and even in such an important game, he stepped up and played fantastically well.

Mertesacker may have his doubters, and I must admit I wasn’t pleased with his performances last year, but in this campaign he is proving why he was so dominant and feared in the Bundesliga. His greatest strength is his positioning and tackling. He isn’t the best at headers and his speed is God-awful, but when paired with Koscielny, who is fast and strong in the air, he can be an amazing stopper against the opposing team’s play. I lost count of how many times he stopped David Silva’s through balls to Sergio Aguero.

The middle three held their own as well and transitioned the ball from defence to offence in a patient, but effective, manner. Offensively, Arsenal looked good and probably deserved another goal. Gervinho had a few chances, but his touches let him down. Podolski and Cazorla were similar, but when it came down to finishing, they skied. Podolski looked tired after the Champions League fixture.

However, even though Arsenal pretty much outclassed Manchester City, it still leaves us asking if Arsenal can win the Premier League.

I believe no. At least not yet. The simple reason for that is depth.

To win the Premier League, you have to be quick on your feet. If something doesn’t work, you have to be able to adapt. For Barcelona, teams are starting to adopt the park-the-bus method, which means to just stay in your own half and pray.

But they are still usually able to open up the opposing team’s defence because of their quality and depth. They have players who can come off the bench with blistering pace and beat defenders and enough quality players to pass around or shoot from outside the box or play the magical pass.

Arsenal, in my opinion, have a very narrow-minded playing style, and against Manchester City, who have a tight defence, they weren’t able to freely dictate the game in dangerous positions in the centre of the field.

It is true that Arsenal had the ball a lot more in the midfield, but it matters where and who had the ball. Defensive players such as Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta had the ball in non-offensive spots in the midfield, and even though they were able to get it out wide and forward, they rarely could reach anyone in the pocket between the midfielders and centre-backs.

Arsenal’s front three of Cazorla, Gervinho and Podolski are the only dangerous players offensively. Podolski played today as a lone forward while Gervinho and Cazorla played on the wings. Even though Arsenal were able to get the ball to them, they didn’t have the patience or quality to have the midfielders follow through in the attack. I don’t remember seeing Podolski get the ball from a midfielder and hold it up and wait for them to join him. The only times he got the ball were from out wide.

One can argue that Arsenal have improved, and I don’t disagree with that statement, but the draws have all been very similar to the Manchester City game in which Arsenal dominated, but couldn’t find a result.

In conclusion, for Arsenal to win the Premier League, they’ll need the Bould system to work at the back but also allow key players to get on the ball far more in dangerous situations. If they don’t, then in tight games like these not enough will be created.

But knowing Arsenal I know that we can achieve what has evaded us since 2004.

We are Gooners after all.

You can follow the author on twitter @The_Gooner_Way

And follow me on @AngryOfN5


16 thoughts on “Man City V Arsenal: A Good Point, Lots of Plusses, but More Gunners Creativity Required

  1. It is an excellent result considering that MC have been playing very well at home and are unbeaten in their last 32 home games. When Wilshere returns and Sagna is fit, it may start to allow AFC other attacking options, which with Diaby and Arteta can’t be realistically expected.
    Mannone seems to have stolen the #1 job for the moment and that is excellent news as well because Szcesny appears to need some competition to get him focused. That is 5 games unbeaten for the Gunners and a great start to the season.

    • Pernickety point only:
      with respect, weedonald, Mannone hasn’t stolen the #1 job; he’s been handed it by default, that is, due to injuries to two other keepers, though I’m sure you’re well aware of that fact.
      However, you’re right that Szcesny needs competition.
      I guess you would agree (?) that Mannone should have done better re the goal.

      • Perhaps ¨stolen¨ is a bit generous but negativity like William’s comment below conveniently overlooks the 3-4 crucial saves he made to prevent MC taking the lead. Mannone, until recently , had 0 EPL experience and maybe1-2 games with AFC as starting keeper so we can’t expect perfection just yet….his handling of high,lofted balls needs improving, but he is an aggressive and tough keeper with excellent shot-stopping skills and a good command of his area….not a bad start!
        I am hoping Gervinho can learn the TH14 technique of accurate and deadly shooting because If he does, he’ll be a 30 goals scorer with all the chances he’s getting and his excellent positional play!

  2. Just when fans thoughts the defence had arrived,they were let down by the gk.Mistakes by the gk are going to cost the gunners dearly as in the past. The gunners haven’t had a top,top,top gk since Lehmans time.
    In the MC game,the gunners have reverted to their old plan of trying to outpass the opposition.On a few occasions when the ball was misplaced or intercepted,it could have been curtains .The guuners better know the other teams are wise to their game especially one red faced.This rf guy has strikers who can hurt the gunners.

  3. mertesacker was amazing today and jenkinson seems to be way underestimated by people he played like hes been playing for years we actually didnt miss sagna. We need just 1 world class striker that our players can look for to finish all the good work the players in midfield do then this team will be like the 98 double winning team podolski is like wright carzorla is bergkamp ox/theo/gerv like overmars just need another striker some1 like young anelka to go with a solid defence and creative midfield that arsenal have this year.

  4. Arsenal’s midfield play this season will help us to control the game and get vital results. I think we may do better at the CL this season.

  5. I for one am glad that young Ramsey got a thumbs up in your post. Some Arsenal fans are merciless in their treatment of this boy. He missed a year and a half football at 18 years of age. That would finish many. This boy will be a player.

  6. @ weedonald
    Thanks for reply, sorry for my delay.
    I did actually agree with the gist of your original post at 12.04am, and felt you’d perhaps the word ‘stolen unwisely.
    I agree too with your reply at 1.37pm, as regards Mannone.

    My opinion of Mannone (overall) is as yours, I feel. I think he is 3rd in the pecking order, and considering that “fact”, he’s done pretty good. Let’s hope the conceded goal hasn’t damaged his confidence.

    As regards Gervinho, accurate and deadly shooting was very much his forte in France – check his stats in Wikipedia – but the Premiership is a big leap. I don’t think he’ll continue in his present position; he’ll probably be moved out wide as before, especially if, or when, Giroud scores first goal of many.

  7. Nothing is impossible with a magician like Arsene – though transforming Gervinho into a clinical finisher seems a miracle too far. But, like you, I don’t expect a major trophy this year – because to do that I believe something more than a talented well-drilled outfit is necessary: nowdays you need to have at the very least two or three truly exceptional players. At most, only one or two of the current squad would have been a first choice for the Invincibles. And hardly any more would have made it into GG’s league-winning sides. But on the other hand, with Arsene anything is possible.

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