The host side Manchester City came from a goal down (0-1) to beat Arsenal 2-1 in an intriguing encounter at the Etihad Stadium. It was City’s second win in a row as Watford lost 2-0 at the Etihad earlier in the week. Arsenal on the their own part have now lost 2 in 2 in similar circumstances following a 2-1 loss to Everton in midweek(Tuesday) after taking an early lead in the game.
This time it was Theo Walcott that gave Arsenal the lead in the run of play. It was a game Arsenal could and should have wrapped up in the first half as City struggled to find their feet in the game. No Aguero and with Iheanacho on the bench it was all looking good for Arsenal until Leroy Sane equalized to make it 1-1 as City defeated the Gunners and dented their hopes in the title race.
With the defeat to Manchester City we highlight five talking points as observed from the Manchester City game.
ARSENAL DEFENSIVE WOES
The Gunners have been a victim of some defensive inconsistency as the season continues to progress. The visiting side conceded two second half goals to perhaps raise the significance of Mustafi’s loss in central defence.
The real deal is that Arsenal positioning and marking especially inside the box have not really been good this term. When a team concedes against Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth (irrespective of penalty circumstances) you are definitely going to find it hard against tougher opposition like City.
Arsenal are however creators of their own downfall as they let a lead slip from their hands in two consecutive game which saw Chelsea smiling with a 9 point advantage over the Gunners. Chelsea have managed to keep multiple clean sheets but that is yet to be seen from Arsenal and that is certainly key in the title race as the season progresses.
ARSENAL LACK THE MENTALITY
The Arsenal side crumbled under pressure when it matters the most .The City Arsenal game was more of a survival of the fittest battle and our opponents wanted it more.
Cesc Fabregas lamented Arsenal’s lack of mentality in his time at the club when Arsenal lost 1-0 to Manchester United in one of the big games some seasons ago. Fabregas believed Arsenal approached big games with a low key mentality in trying to profit from the opponent weaknesses rather than taking the game to the opposition whoever it may be.
This has been evident since Fabregas exit and we all saw how Manchester City defeated Arsenal in a show of character. The question here is can Arsenal rid themselves of this low mentality? That answer can only be given when the Gunners prove their mettle to the watching world beyond confirmation.
SANTI CAZORLA WIDELY MISSED
The Spanish midfielder’s talent was widely missed as Arsenal lacked steel and authority in midfield. The Gunners began on the front foot but when the going got tough there was no one (Arsenal player) to get going. Cazorla would have stepped up to plate you feel when control and calmness was needed in this key fixture. Now Arsenal are 9 points behind and 2 behind City after the defeat.
Arsenal side can surely not wait for Ramsey and Cazorla (in particular) to return from injury to boost the midfield department as the Arsenal’s midfield need more guile and efficiency as was lacking in the City’s game.
Ozil was lost in the game as there was no one to inspire from the central area. I hope the Spaniard returns when the title is still within Arsenal’s reach.
PETR CECH LOSES RECORD
The Arsenal side have taken away Cech’s pride in goal with the Manchester City defeat. How on earth do the Czech shot stopper go 8 games without a clean sheet to his credit? It’s obvious why Arsenal are 9 points away in the title race as the defense have failed to live up to the invincible standard.
A goalkeeper of Cech’s caliber deserved more than that and when it’s not forthcoming then certain questions should be asked to the right persons. At Chelsea Petr Cech kept many clean sheet as a result of defensive competency attributed to the partnership of John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho in their hay days.
Arsenal needs to be more organized defensively in order to appreciate the good job Petr Cech is doing in the last line of defence as this will help Arsenal this term with the FA Cup set to begin next month.
IWOBI NOT TAKING HIS CHANCES
The young playmaker who switched allegiance to African power house Nigeria alongside John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and talent forward Oghenekaro Etebo in transition have not proven he deserves enough time on the pitch for Arsenal, not even on the starting eleven.
2 goals in space of days against FC Basel and Stoke City was a high point for Iwobi in the season rather than a turning point. The forward was one of the major problems for Arsenal on the pitch as he was rightly replaced by an experienced manager Arsene Wenger with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. (Although arguably too late.)
Such performance can demote a player especially in a club with Arsenal’s pedigree and class. If the young Nigerian fails to improve in future games then Wenger can splash the cash and he will find himself further behind the pecking order in Arsenal’s midfield.
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A passionate sports writer who combs around the world for football matches. Loves and follows the major leagues in Europe along with Champions League football. He is a lover of international football as well as action ranges from South America to Europe and Africa as the case may be.