Eastlands was subdued this afternoon, the combination of arctic winds and a Manchester City team short on confidence despite being the richest team in the world. Arsenal without William Gallas, were out to try and prove a point. The lineups was as many predicted. Almunia (captain) Gavin Hoyte, Djourou, Silvestre, Clichy, Diaby, Denilson, Song Nasri, Bendtner, van Persie. Manchester City had Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Micah Richards, Richard Dunne,Javier Garrido, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland, Vincent Kompany, Darius Vassell, Robinho, Benjani Mwaruwari.
The first half was an absolute nightmare. Both teams were very poor with misplaced passes, it was low tempo and very few chances. The only real chance for Arsenal came after a central Nasri free kick on 34 minutes following a foul on van Persie, the curled kick fell to Bendtner who back heeled the ball to Song who shot inexplicably wide from 6 yards.
Man City took the lead in the first minute of added time when Benjani made a probing run in the Arsenal final third, the pass through the middle trying to find Steven Ireland’s run managed to rebound off either Silvestre or Clichy who both got into each other’s way in an almost comical way. Ireland chipped the ball over Almunia into the empty net.
Man City 1 Arsenal 0 ( Ireland 45’)
The second half started with a much improved tempo, and straight away Nasri linked with Clichy and had early jinxing runs but the final ball in was poor. Diaby had a couple of chances from good passing movements, and Robin van Persie had a shot over the bar. Despite substitutions with Ramsey and Vela coming on for Hoyte and Diaby, the game was lost because as usual, we couldn’t buy a goal.
Man City 2 Arsenal 0 (Robinho 55’)
A wonder strike by Robinho
Man City 3 Arsenal 0 (Sturridge 89’)
A penalty, which was awarded after Djourou brushed Sturridge who fell over and this was never a penalty, but I have given up with referees in the Premiership. No midfield, No pace, No attack, No hope of winning the league now in my view, even when today with Chelsea and Liverpool drawing their games we fail to capitalise.
This match report is going to become a post mortem on a dreadful performance. When was the last time that we lost two games in a row? In 2006/7 we actually lost 3 games in a row, in March we lost to Everton away 1-0, Liverpool away 4-1 and a 1-0 defeat by West Ham at the Emirates. I would remind you all that we lost eight games that season, and a dish of Lasagne saved us the fourth place finish as Tottenham lost out. That season, we lost to Blackburn in the FA cup on a cold night, and we lost inexplicably to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions league. So it has overall been much worse, and you don’t need to lose the plot completely Insiders.
But I believe what really annoys us all now, is that the problems on show from this team, are the same problems week in, week out and there seems to be no solution. No pace up front because instead of playing Carlos Vela and van Persie, Arsene Wenger again played Bendtner, who lacks pace and where was Bendtner’s touch? Clearly it is somewhere between Leningrad and Zanzibar, for even the best GPS in the world would’nt have found it. In midfield, Denilson has developed a charity streak, and was heard to say as he passed it for the tenth time to an opponent,
“Here you go mate, I haven’t a clue what to do with it myself”
I would have played Ramsey from the start in place of Denilson, but Arsene Wenger is too stubborn, If Denilson plays badly, he must play again until he gets it right. If Bendtner cannot score, then again we must play him again and again, despite there being youngsters who are willing to try. This low point is not so much bad luck, but bad planning and a bad attitude. Does anyone want to play for the Arsenal? Gallas’s words rang true, no fight. He must be smiling at home. I am now beginning to get angry, the depression is over, and I have resigned myself to scrambling for fourth place, but what angers me is the lack of fight and desire from some of these players.
Here is Arsene Wenger’s very bad tempered post match response
On the defeat?
“We lacked maturity… It was a flattering victory for Man City… we played into their hands. We have to try to win the next game and the one after that”
On the Gallas situation?
“ I will not speak about Gallas”
Angrily … “Why should I speak about a player who was not here!”
On the positives?
“We try to win the next game, we have to believe”
On his responsibility for the poor performance
“we are not in a blaming culture at our club, we live up to our responsibilities”
Has you ever had a worse week in football?
So here comes the Champions League on Tuesday.
Remember it HAS been worse, and we finished fourth… Normal service will be resumed at some point, we have too much quality in our club to have suddenly lost it all, so keep supporting the Club PLEASE!!!
Fabregas the King.