Arsenal simply wasn’t prepared for Man City at the Emirates on Sunday Jan. 13 and paid for it with a 2-0 defeat. Manager Arsene Wenger said his players were too timid at the start of the match and allowed City to dictate the pace. However, defender Laurent Koscielny was far from timid when he placed both of his arms around City’s Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko and pulled him down in the six-yard box in the eighth minute
Koscielny’s tackle was ridiculous and he deservedly earned a red card while City was awarded a penalty. It seemed like Arsenal had escaped the punishment when Dzeko’s spot kick bounced off of the goal post and rolled along the goal line into the arms of Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was subbed in the minute and replaced by Per Mertesacker due to the red card. However, it didn’t take City long to make up for the penalty miss as England international James Milner put them in the lead in the 21st minute. Dzeko then got his name on the score sheet as he doubled the lead in the 32nd minute with a tap in after Szczesny had made a fine save.
It looked like City would cruise to their first away win at Arsenal since 1975, but things got a little more difficult for them after that. Arsenal, who was without Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, but had Abou Diaby back in the squad, started to gain confidence and made a game of it. They didn’t create too many clear-cut chances on goal though, but were given a lifeline in the 75thminute when City defender Vincent Kompany was given his marching orders for a two-footed tackle on midfielder Jack Wilshere.
Arsenal had 15 minutes of 10 on 10 football to pull off a remarkable comeback, but it just didn’t happen. The Gunners lost ground on Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, and Everton on the weekend as United edged Liverpool 2-1, Chelsea smoked Stoke 4-0 away and Spurs earned a point with a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers. United still leads the league with 55 points followed by City at 48 and then Chelsea with 41, Spurs with 40 and Everton at 37.
Arsenal sits in sixth place still with 34 points and is just one ahead of West Brom, two in front of Liverpool and three ahead of ninth-place Swansea. With United beating Liverpool earlier in the day Arsenal should have been better prepared for a City team that basically had to win to keep themselves in the title race. They started the game off slowly and paid for it dearly when Koscielny was sent off.
Arteta has a calf strain and according to Wenger could be out of action for about three weeks. The manager said he’s still open to signing some players in the current transfer window, but is interested in top-class players only. The Gunners won’t have much time to lick their wounds and recover as they’re at it again on Wednesday at the Emirates when Swansea comes to town for an FA Cup replay. The first third-round match was an exciting affair at Liberty Stadium that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Arsenal Player Ratings Jan. 13 vs Man City
Wojciech Szczesny 7
Managed to save Dzeko’s penalty and halted Carlos Tevez as he tried to run around him with a fine dive to knock the ball away from the striker’s feet.
Bacary Sagna 6.5
Had his work cut out for him after Oxlade-Chamberlain was subbed following Koscielny’s red card. Played a strong game on the right side.
Laurent Koscielny 1
A ridiculous challenge on Edin Dzeko saw him give up a penalty and was sent off in the ninth minute. He let his club down and the fans and fully deserved his punishment.
Thomas Vermaelen 6.5
Vermaelen played well enough as did the other defenders.
Kieran Gibbs 6
Not his strongest game of the season nor his weakest. Could have done better on Dzeko’s goal.
Abou Diaby 5.5
It was his first game since September and some fans question why he started against City. He didn’t look comfortable and was replaced in the 61st minute by Aaron Ramsey.
Jack Wilshere 8
Wilshere again proved he’s the heart of the team. Gave a great effort and his teammates could learn a lot from his determined ways.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.5
Oxlade-Chamberlain started the game well, but unfortunately was taken off after 12 minutes and replaced by defender Mertesacker due to Koscielny’s red card.
Santi Cazorla 6
He played a decent game, but didn’t really have much of an impact on the proceedings.
Lukas Podolski 7
Podolski held his own against City and was Arsenal’s most dangerous player going forward. However, Wenger took him off in the 57th minute and replaced him with Olivier Giroud.
Theo Walcott 5.5
Walcott wasn’t really in this game at all. When he did get the ball he wasted it.
Per Mertesacker 6.5
Came on in the ninth minute for Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was steady enough, but wasn’t a difference-maker
Olivier Giroud 6.5
Came on in the 57th minute for Podolski. He blew a couple of decent chances, but put in an effort.
Aaron Ramsey 6.5
Came on in the 61st minute for Diaby and played a steady game.