Arsenal travelled to Manchester to play Manchester City on a Sunday afternoon, a day Sergio Aguero wouldn’t forget as he was inducted into City’s hall of fame; claiming the accolade of been his teams’ all-time top goal scorer. Congratulations to Kun on this great achievement.
It was a game both teams needed a result out of, as a win would draw Arsenal closer to the title race and a win for City would put them in the driving seat. Changes were made to the usual starting lineup we’ve gone for in the league and it was quite a frustrating starting XI that left everyone shook. Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Our most expensive player started the game from the bench, how does Wenger think?
It’s frightening how quick City turn defence to attack and it was evident in less than two minutes when City displayed a composed first lightning counter, and it almost brought a goal for City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero – but couldn’t find the target like he usually does.
Soon after, City came charging down with their first clear-goal opportunity and truly should’ve been ahead through Raheem Sterling. Leroy Sane did incredibly well to get himself to the Arsenal penalty box and did well to drive a low cross to the Englishman but he was a bit short and couldn’t get his timing right.
City would finally open the scoring in the 19th minute when Fernandinho returned a one-two with De Bruyne that saw the Belgian fire a precision left-foot shot past Cech to put the Blues a goal to the good. Petr Cech denied the Belgian a goal a minute before, but the Belgian had other ways of getting past the Czech international.
In the 36th minute City broke loose on the counter and could’ve easily doubled their lead just before halftime, but Sterling’s final pass to Sane was awful and the disappointment was clearly written on the face of Pep Guardiola. Arsenal’s best effort came just before the final whistle, as Aaron Ramsey’s effort was saved by Ederson.
Within four minutes of the restart, Michael Oliver awarded the home team a penalty, which seemed very debatable. Raheem Sterling was through on goal after Kolasinac had no idea where his man was, leaving Nacho Monreal tracking back as he went in shoulder to shoulder with the Englishman.
Now the Spaniard made no contact with the ball but went in shoulder to shoulder with Sterling before the Englishman went to ground and record breaker Aguero made no mistake from the spot kick in doubling City’s lead.
Lacazette was introduced shortly after for Coquelin and in the 65th minute of the game, he sparked back life into the Arsenal team as he made his mark and pulled one back for the Gunners, sending an angled finish between the legs of Ederson from Ramsey’s pass to put Arsenal back into the game.
I think it’s high time the English FA introduced VAR, as the level of officiating in the league has become alarming. An offside David Silva was not flagged as the Arsenal defence went into statue-mode, waiting to hear the referee’s whistle for offside but lacked the basic rule of playing to the whistle as Silva gave a simple pass to Jesus who tapped home and rounded off the goal scoring in this fixture.
While most people would moan and whine about the referee’s decisions, it’s safe to say Arsenal were outplayed and outdone by City and should consider themselves lucky the defeat wasn’t a high scoring defeat. Nevertheless, the referee’s decisions cost Arsenal the match looking at the goals scored and not the performance, as they came when the Gunners looked like they were building momentum.