Arsenal 0 - 2 Man City – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 0 - 2 Man City

Arsenal welcomed Man City to the Emirates stadium, with the stakes sky-high. The Gunners needed to claw their way back into the Premier League top four, as The Champions were looking to close the gap on Man Utd. In the end, The Citizens plucked three valuable points from a chaotic game.

The First half could not have gone worse for Arsenal. The opening nine minutes contained good football from both sides, promising to be a tight, entertaining matchup. Koscielny however, had other plans.

The ball was loose in the box, between Dzeko, Koscielny & Szczesney. The Pole looked favourite to get there first, but Koscielny decided that he needed to hug Dzeko at the waist, hauling him down in the process. Mike Dean gave the penalty, and the red card. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it was undeniably the correct decision from the referee.

Dzeko’s penalty was pushed on to the post by Szczesney, who then gathered the ball comfortably. It was nice to see the penalty being saved, but we all knew that it did nothing but delay the inevitable. Arsenal were a man down in the ninth minute, against the Premier League Champions.[quote_right]“Our Skipper was making great challenges, as well as his trademark strides forward with the ball at his feet. It was a welcome sight, but City were expertly stifling any attacks.”[/quote_right]

Oxlade-Chambrlain was subbed off for Per Mertesacker to fill the defensive void, and Man City immediately got to work on breaking us down. Silva, Milner and Dzeko in particular were making excellent runs, paired with great movement. Arsenal simply couldn’t keep up.

After a harsh, quickly taken freekick, Man City caught Arsenal off guard, and managed to slip Milner through. Vermaelen couldn’t get close enough, and the Englishman rattled his shot off the far-post, and into the net. It was a great finish from Milner, and Arsenal were looking nervous.

Just ten minutes later, Zabaleta’s cross was turned goalwards by Tevez. Szczesney made a quick, instinctive save, which could only roll to the feet of an unmarked Dzeko, who tapped the ball home to make it 2-0. Arsenal desperately needed to tighten up their defences, or face an embarrassing scoreline.

The second half saw an inspired Arsenal fight-back, which unfortunately could bear no fruit.

Manchester City contained Arsenal very effectively for the majority of the half, and they looked to be satisfied with their two goal lead. The Gunners were looking better defensively, and were managing to engineer a few counter attacks.

Giroud was brought on in place of Podolski, which was both a wise, and unwise decision. Giroud’s presence in the City box was certainly needed, but Podolski had been playing well. At the risk of rattling some cages, I would have preferred to see Cazorla’s number being called instead. The Spaniard was yet again our of ideas, and barely in the game at all.

Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud & Thomas Vermaelen were putting in stellar performances. Our Skipper was making great challenges, as well as his trademark strides forward with the ball at his feet. It was a welcome sight, but City were expertly stifling any attacks.[quote_left]“As time went on, the Arsenal fightback looked to be in vain…”[/quote_left]

In the seventy second minute, Kompany lunged in on a rampant Jack Wilshere in the City half. Kompany was insistent that he won the ball, which he did. But the replay showed that both of his feet left the ground during the tackle. A text book sending off. Mike Dean showed him red, and Arsenal were given a lifeline.

The final fifteen minutes was difficult to watch. Arsenal were a mixture of players who were desperate for a goal, and players who were desperate for the final whistle. Giroud had worked hard, but managed to miss an easy header in front of goal. Theo Walcott looked isolated, but had a goal cleared off the line by Lescott in the closing minutes.

The Gunners had done well to show their fighting spirit in the second half, but City were too experienced for any horse-play. Certainly, Koscielny’s sending off played a pivotal role.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [7/10]
Did well on numerous occasions to keep Man City out. Saved a penalty, denied Tevez an easy finish, and showed some real passion at times. Unfortunate to concede both goals.

Sagna: [5.5/10]
Once again, Sagna struggled to keep up with play. His form dropped weeks ago, and simply hasn’t returned. He did well to help with attacks, but failed to put in any meaningful crosses. Didn’t do too bad defensively.

Koscielny: [4/10]
A mindless challenge on Dzeko to get himself sent off. Last man, inside the box, he decides to wrap his arms around the striker. Very poor from the experienced Frenchman. Sent off.

Vermaelen: [8/10]
MOTM. Made numerous challenges to deny City more goal scoring opportunities, and showed that traditional spirit & passion which has been missing in recent weeks. Could have done better for Milner’s goal. Still, more of the same please Skipper.

Gibbs: [6.5/10]
Did well overall, but was weak in the challenge for Dzeko’s goal. He was out of position, and failed to throw himself into the challenge. Apart from that, he did well going forward and defended with general solidity.

Diaby: [6.5/10]
Not an ideal game to play in after nearly four months out injured, and it showed. Diaby was strong on the ball, but tiredness soon set in, forcing off the pace. Subbed.

Wilshere: [7/10]
As per usual, Jack fought with all his might to hold off City attacks, and drive Arsenal forward at every opportunity. A tired Diaby and a non-existent Cazorla made things difficult for him.

Cazorla: [5.5/10]
Cazorla fast became a fan favourite (myself included) at the beginning of the season, but has failed to produce anything meaningful in any big games. Because of his moments of brilliance, It hurts me to say it, but he was a passenger today. Again.

Podolski: [5/10]
Couldn’t keep the ball, gave away silly fouls and did more harm than good to our attacks. I was hopeful of selling Ramsey, but after signing a new contract, perhaps a loan is all I can hope for. No where near good enough to be starting for Arsenal at the moment.

The Ox: [N/A]
Poor Ox only had twelve minutes of playing time due to the sending off.

Walcott: [6/10]
Isolated up front for most of the game, and was offside way too often. Took his chance well in the second half, and had his goal cleared off the line.


Mertesacker: [6/10]
The Big German didn’t start, and he never really adjusted to the game. He was slow to react and was out of position quite often. Still managed a few good challenges though.

Giroud: [6.5/10]
Olivier came off the bench and did his utmost to get a goal back for Arsenal. He missed a golden opportunity, but you can’t fault his effort. He attacked every ball and tracked back when he could. Needs to be starting more.

Ramsey: [6.5/10]
Can’t fault Aaron today, came on and kept the ball well enough. His pass for Theo’s almost-goal was perfect.

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[title]Koscielny Costs Us[/title]

Despite fighting well in the second half, Arsenal’s problems will only be compounded by today’s loss. Koscielny getting a red card in the ninth minute undoubtedly threw us off, but our lack of a ‘Plan B’ is simply worrying.

City contained us all too easily today, and Arsenal simply ran out of ideas. Giroud & Walcott need to be on the pitch at the same time in order to diversify our game. Currently, we’re too one-dimensional. Next up in the league, Chelsea away. Gulp.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Man City match? Were both red cards justified? Share your views in the comments section below.

Photograph: - PA