Man City 1 - 1 Arsenal
Pundits & fans alike were adamant that today would be Arsenal’s first real test. Solidarity throughout the defence and attacking guile have carried Arsenal on an impressive start to the season. But, until today, they hadn’t faced high quality opposition. They hadn’t been tested.
Arsenal started off in an encouraging fashion, dominating the midfield and staying tight defensively. Our preferred trio of Cazorla, Arteta & Diaby were doing well against Yaya Toure & Co, keeping possession well and moving the ball out to our wingers.
Aaron Ramsey, who was surprisingly slotted into the right-wing position, did excellently throughout the first half. He drifted inside, driving at the City defence. Perhaps more importantly, he provided the young (yet impressive) Carl Jenkinson with some defensive back up. Which was probably why Wenger selected him to begin with.
Gervinho had an excellent chance to put us ahead, when he was put through brilliantly by Ramsey. Unfortunately, Gervinho’s touch was Adebayour-esque.
We continued to dominate City up until the 40th minute, when Kieran Gibbs needlessly conceded a corner. The ball was crossed in, and Mannone ran out like a brave Stallion on a mission. He leapt victoriously off the ground and elegantly soared through the damp northern air, missing the ball completely.[quote_right]”Cazorla cracked a sublime shot towards Joe Hart, who got two hands to the ball, but only just parried it wide. It brought about a welcome injection of belief…”[/quote_right]
Lescott rose above the static Podolski, who Steve Bould is currently torturing in chambers deep beneathe the Emirates stadium, to head City home.
Question marks could also be asked of Koscielny regarding Lescott’s opener. However one things for sure, it’s wasn’t the same defensive certainty we’ve become so used to over recent few weeks.
The second half started off awkwardly for us. Our dominance had faded and City were on a high thanks to Lescott’s first half header. Mancini mirrored our formation and it seemed to be working for them.
We remained defensively sound, despite conceding, and we looked to be dealing with Aguero & Dzeko extremely well. Then, in the 82nd minute, Cazorla cracked a sublime shot towards Joe Hart, who got two hands to the ball, but only just parried it wide. It brought about a welcome injection of belief. Cazorla took the corner, which eventually fell to the feet of Koscielny, who drilled it brilliantly past Joe Hart to equalize.
We appeared to be passing this monsterous test set infront of us. All we had to do now was hold on to our well deserved point, or better yet, grab a winner. Arsene Wenger two positive substitutes, replacing Diabyt & Podolski, who had both been quiet, with Giroud & Walcott. I would have kept Podolski on and taken off Gervinho instead, but hey, what do I know.
We continued to press and defend well against City counter attacks, which were coming thick and fast. We had chances to win the game, with Gervinho’s quite awful shot towards the end of the game, which went high and wide, for a decent position. I cant help but think Podolski would have made such a shot count.
The final minutes were not uncomfortable for us, a tribute to our defensive excellence. We remained calm in the face of world-class strikers. We earned an extremely good point away from home against the Champions of England. We passed our test.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Apart from his error for Lescott’s header, he really didn’t have much else to do. Needs to do better to shift Szczesny.
Fantastic improvement from his first few appearances. Still shows some naivety at times, but put in an excellent display against the Champions.
Always in the right place at the right time. Makes up for his lack of pace with his reading of the game. Kept Aguero & Dzeko quiet.
Despite scoring the equalizer, and making his first start of the season, I couldn’t help but notice some rust. At fault for Lescott’s opener, and almost gifted Aguero a goal. Hasn’t done enough to push Mertesacker out of the team.
We’re becoming used to Gibbs flying up and down the wings, creating chances and defending well, and he didn’t disappoint today.
Not at his best today. Gave the ball away on occasion and looked tired. Didn’t provide any of his traditional driving runs. Subbed.
He’s had better days. A lot of passes went awry and he failed to create anything significant. defensively sound though.
The heart of our midfield. Everything goes through him and rightly so. Excellent shot to win the corner leading to Koscielny’s equalizer.
A quiet game from the German, din’t create anything and looked isolated at times. Couldn’t link up with Gervinho at all. Subbed.
After some amazing performances against Southampton & Montpellier, Gervinho reverted back to his old ways. Silly passes, awful finishing, and a laughable first touch. Should have been subbed.
MOTM. I was as nervous as the next Arsenal fan to see him on the team sheet out wide, but Ramsey did a great job of getting the ball forward and linking up with the central midfielders. Slotted nicely into the middle when subs were made to solidify his performance. Glad to see him back on form.
Giroud [6/10], Walcott [6/10], Coquelin [N/A]
[title]With Flying Colours[/title]
Arsenal faced a test today. To see if we really were as good as Southampton made us look. To see if our comeback against Montpellier was guile & grit, or just pure luck. And with a great performance and late equalizer at the Etihad, we’ve managed to pass that test with flying colours.
Even with rotations including Koscielny & Ramsey, we managed to play beautiful, yet constructive football. It was a pleasure to watch. Some will say a win was needed to pass this test, but for me, they;re missing the bigger picture. We’re finally a unit, and a team to be feared. We proved that today. But, the test doesn’t at the Etihad. Bring on Chelsea next week.
What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments section below.