City 3-1 Arsenal
Well OK. We lost. But it wasn’t the smashing that we thought it would be.
City were not at their best to be frank. But to use a solid cliché, we made a good account of ourselves. Arsenal lost. But it was a valiant defeat, and not the rout of Anfield.
This was our Thermopylae at the Etihad. And not an Isandhlwana, like we had at Anfield (check out the beginning of the film Zulu, or the finale of Zulu Dawn, to see a depiction of that battle. Either way we were not battered like the British Army was….)
It was a surprise to see Lacazette on the bench, though Wenger went for a revised formation, with Coquelin as a deep anchor/quasi-centre back. Alexis was up front, with Iwobi and Ozil behind.
We did start the first half well, at least for 10 minutes or so. We looked purposeful on the ball, and looked to push forward. Ozil and Alexis had some half-chances.
Though this ended when de Brunye picked up on a loose ball, and hit home a low shot past Cech.
Sterling could have scored from a cross goal shot, but overall City were the better team. They were not stellar, though they had better chances in the half and warranted their lead.
In the second half, Arsenal and City continued their patterns of play, though they got a penalty from a rash challenge from Monreal on Sterling.
Aguero, City’s record scorer, slotted home, and the game for them was secure
However, Wenger brought on Lacazette, and he had a near immediate impact as he scored to make it 2-1. Though, we conceded again, due to a disputed offside goal from Jesus.
Arsenal kept going for another goal, as did City, but overall City warranted the win, though both teams had good passages of play.
Well, it was said we would be smashed. But we held our own, and did make a good account of ourselves.
I was impressed with supposed “weak” players getting their foot in. Ozil did. Yes, OZIL… He even got booked for it.
Alexis did. Xhaka, Jack, Koscielny, Coquelin, and Ramsey.
Yes, we did lose, but it was a performance of some grit, purpose, and City was not as domineering as in other matches this season.
What Arsenal fans ask for is some fight, passion, and determination, and we got it. This was not like the Liverpool game, or the Watford game. Our away record is still poor, but then I think Wenger and boys can be proud, somewhat.
Wenger also warrants some kudos here, since he did attempt to have a game plan and be tactically sound. These points alone, in my mind, make this defeat easier to swallow. Many of our key defeats in recent seasons have been capitulations. This wasn’t. I genuinely think that if we had more performances like this, we would not have as many dissenters.
Man of the match
Overall, I agree with Sky Sports. de Bruyne was class.
For us though, I’ll give it to Ozil. He created chances, and for once looked like he was up for the fight. If he played like this the majority of the time, he would hold far less detractors.
Cech 5 (will he EVER save a penalty for us??), Kos 5, Monreal 5, Bellerin 6, Kolasinac 6
Coquelin 5, Ramsey 6, Xhaka 6
Ozil 6, Alexis 5, Iwobi 6
Giroud 5, Wilshere 5, Lacazette 6