A Valiant Defeat and not a rout but a defeat all the same – Thermapylae not Isandhlwana

Man City 3-1 Arsenal

Premier League Review

Well OK. We lost. But it wasn’t the smashing that we thought it would be.

City were not at their best to be frank. But to use a solid cliché, we made a good account of ourselves. Arsenal lost. But it was a valiant defeat, and not the rout at Liverpool.

This was our Thermopylae at the Etihad. And not an Isandhlwana, like we had at Anfield (check out the beginning of the film Zulu, or the finale of Zulu Dawn, to see a depiction of that battle. Either way we were not battered like the British Army was….)

This was our Thermopylae at the Etihad. And not an Isandhlwana, like we had at Anfield


It was a surprise to see Lacazette on the bench, though Wenger went for a revised formation, with Coquelin as a deep anchor/quasi-centre back. Alexis was up front, with Iwobi and Ozil behind.

We did start the first half well, at least for 10 minutes or so. We looked purposeful on the ball, and looked to push forward. Ozil and Alexis had some half-chances.

Though this ended when de Bruyne picked up on a loose ball, and hit home a low shot past Cech.

Sterling could have scored from a cross goal shot, but overall City were the better team. They were not stellar, though they had better chances in the half and warranted their lead.

In the second half, Arsenal and City continued their patterns of play, though they got a penalty from a rash challenge from Monreal on Sterling.

Image result for man city 3 arsenal 1

Aguero, City’s record scorer, slotted home, and the game for them was secure

However, Wenger brought on Lacazette, and he had a near immediate impact as he scored to make it 2-1. Though, we conceded again, due to a disputed offside goal from Jesus.

Arsenal kept going for another goal, as did City, but overall City warranted the win, though both teams had good passages of play.

Sub fires home to give hope

Impressions/player ratings

Well, it was said we would be smashed. But we held our own, and did make a good account of ourselves.

I was impressed with supposed “weak” players getting their foot in. Ozil did. Yes, OZIL… He even got booked for it.

Alexis did. Xhaka, Jack, Koscielny, Coquelin, and Ramsey.

Yes, we did lose, but it was a performance of some grit, purpose, and City was not as domineering as in other matches this season.

What Arsenal fans ask for is some fight, passion, and determination, and we got it. This was not like the Liverpool game, or the Watford game. Our away record is still poor, but then I think Wenger and boys can be proud, somewhat.

Wenger also warrants some kudos here, since he did attempt to have a game plan and be tactically sound. These points alone, in my mind, make this defeat easier to swallow. Many of our key defeats in recent seasons have been capitulations. This wasn’t. I genuinely think that if we had more performances like this, we would not have as many dissenters.


Man of the match

Overall, I agree with Sky Sports, de Bruyne was class.

For us though, I’ll give it to Ozil. He created chances, and for once looked like he was up for the fight. If he played like this the majority of the time, he would hold far less detractors.

Cech 5 (will he EVER save a penalty for us??), Kos 5, Monreal 5, Bellerin 6, Kolasinac 6

Coquelin 5, Ramsey 6, Xhaka 6

Ozil 6, Alexis 5, Iwobi 6

Giroud 5, Wilshere 5, Lacazette 6

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4 Responses to A Valiant Defeat and not a rout but a defeat all the same – Thermapylae not Isandhlwana

  1. Ogban November 6, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    That third goal was clearly scored from an offside position and shouldn’t have been given. It killed the game for Arsenal. At 2-1, it was obvious that City were under pressure; and it could have been anybody’s game. No need crying. We’ll see them again at the Emirates.

  2. Mike Walsh November 6, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    Am I alone in doubting that I watched the same match as this reporter??
    I love optimism and the desire to take the best from any situation but this is a step too far!
    This was a very poor display from an Arsenal team that adopted a game plan of “damage limitation” from the start, poor team selection and this bordered on cruelty the longer Iwobi remained on the pitch. In reality only Kos and Cech can look back on their performance with any sense of pride, woeful finishing from City saved us from embarrassment
    Sorry but another case of Arsene getting tactics and selection wrong and believe me I get no joy in having to say that.

  3. Victor Thompson November 6, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    I agree completely with Mike Walsh, the only thing I would add is that Jack Wilshire should have got a mention. he wasn`t on long but every thing he did had class written all over it. I think Iwobi should be rested from these big games. He is not up to this grade yet.

  4. DEW November 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    I agree with the writer that the team has shown intent. They were fighting til the end with their capacity and I want to thank for that. It is not like that irritating last year 2-1 defeat.

    On the substitutes, unlike the pundits I understand why the boss decide to introduce Lacazette in the second half. The idea was right and brought fruit. But I didn’t expect Giroud in the game because the game was relatively an open one. I was expecting fresh leg players at the middle. Victor is right, Jack is a class. I think he can pretty handle one game a weak. His problem was fitness and these days no one seems strong enough for the intensity of premier league.

    The main cause of defeat, for me, is the common one: 1) poor team defending tactic on closing down opponents and on tackles. 2) lack of confidence. City were more nasty in their game than Arsenal but Arsenal got more bookings. Because, city players are very quick to decide when to tackle, or foul etc so that they get away with it. But what arsenal players do is run 10-20 yards to a city player and then stand in front of him and retreat, that is the philosophy I think.

    Finally, watching the so called ozil-Alex combination as if there is no other player in the team is killing me. They simply pick each other even if there is someone else in promising position.

    I had plenty to comment but it would be too much if it is not already.

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