After surrendering a lead against Everton in the midweek, Arsenal once again repeated the same mistakes against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane gave Pep Guardiola’s men a well-deserved 2-1 win over a disappointing Arsenal side.
Chuba Akpom, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy, Yaya Sanogo, and Shkodran Mustafi remained
Ilkay Gündogan had suffered a knee ligament damage in Manchester City's 2-0 win over Watford in midweek and is expected to be sidelined for a few months. With Fernandinho also suspended, it left Pep Guardiola short of genuine central midfielders in the squad. Fernando and Yaya Toure were slotted in to fill the void.
Sergio Aguero, who still had two matches left on his own four-match suspension, was missing once again. Guardiola opted to field Nolito as the central striker against Watford, with Kelechi Iheanacho on the bench. However, against Arsenal he opted to field Sterling upfront with Leroy Sane replacing Nolito in
Arsenal take advantage of lack of pressing from City
It is cliché, but it was in the truest sense a game of two halves. Both the teams committed almost similar mistakes either side of the half-time whistle. At the start of the first half, there was no urgency from the home side, and they did not put Arsenal under any pressure when they were in possession. There was no communication between the
The visitors took advantage of this, and Theo Walcott scored the opening goal in the 5th minute. When Bellerin brought the ball forward from the back, Kevin de Bruyne did not track his run. When Sanchez received the ball from Bellerin, no one closed him down. When Walcott made that run through the middle, no Man City player tracked his run. All of this culminated into a fluent Arsenal move, and a wonderful start for the visitors.
No man to mark for Koscielny and Gabriel
Koscielny and Gabriel are the kind of center backs who are happy to man-mark strikers and shadow them all over the pitch. However, with Manchester City playing without a proper striker, the duo had no one to
High backline without pressing is a recipe for disaster
It seemed like the Arsenal team were a bit confused about whether to press from the front or allow Manchester City possession till a certain area before closing them down. In a disastrous move, the Arsenal forward line opted not to press Manchester City upfront, while their
It was a disaster waiting to happen and, eventually, in the second half, Manchester City exploited that high line of
It was as if the Arsenal defenders overcompensated after conceding the goal and dropped too deep into their own halves. They afforded a lot of space to the Man City players in front of them in fear of being exploited by their pace. Once into this shell, Arsenal never managed to come out of it for the rest of the game, and this is what led to the second goal.
When Kevin de Bruyne played a wonderful cross-field pass to Sterling on the right wing, Nacho Monreal continued to back off instead of closing him down. Sterling continued his run into the box and with a lot of space in front of him, the Englishman pulled the trigger and beat Cech at the near post. Monreal should have dealt with him even before he had entered the box.
Arsenal drops deep and so does Ozil
Mesut Ozil has once again come under a lot of criticism for his performance, or lack of it, last night. But in the
As Arsenal dropped deep in the second half, they failed to get out of their own halves for the rest of the game. Manchester City
With Xhaka and Coquelin failing to connect the play with the attackers, Ozil had to drop deep into Arsenal’s half in order to orchestrate the play, and this left Sanchez upfront without any support. The German playmaker was seen flailing his hands at the Arsenal backline, urging them to move up the pitch but to no avail. As the match progressed, Ozil and Sanchez’s influence on the game died down, and Arsenal never looked like scoring another goal.