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Arsenal Come up Short Against Manchester City But There Are Signs of Progress

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Arsenal are offering free vision tests to thousands of fans across the country. This is as a result of the negative comments of a handful of ‘Covidiots’ who claim Arsenal haven’t improved and who want Mikel Arteta sacked. I don’t mind constructive criticism or fans that are impatient for success, but what I do object to is a lack of knowledge about the game and how to play it. Arsenal lost by a single goal against Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad and yes, have struggled against top-six sides. FACT!

However, Arsenal put on a competitive performance and for periods, were on terms, in a game, where both sides failed to dominate. Yet, had Arsenal taken their chances then the negative feedback wouldn’t have been an issue. Essentially since the City vs Arsenal game came down to one defensive error and more worryingly, the Gunners’ inability to get back on terms. However, looking back on the game, the competitiveness during the game between the two sides is quite a surprise, given that major bookies on had significants odds on hand on an comfortable win by the hosts, which was clearly not the case.

The goal came after Ceballos was robbed in the middle, Mahrez passed to Aguero who found Foden in space. His right foot stinger was saved by Leno but popped out to Sterling (23). Arsenal couldn’t complain, it was a well-worked move that cut them apart and had the Gunners defence flying back in vain.

Manchester City vs Arsenal
(Photo by MARTIN RICKETT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

However, the Manchester City vs Arsenal outing felt very even at times and the former Premier League winners had periods where they looked beatable. Was that because Arsenal were better than in previous encounters? Well, to a degree, yes, but they weren’t good enough to grab the three points.

Saka was the pick of the Arsenal side, sprinting forward on goal from the left and employing a slalom technique to open up the hosts. As a result, he almost got himself on the scoresheet but for City’s shot-stopper Ederson, who kept Arsenal at bay.

Aubameyang must be bored looking for opportunities and he failed again with the meagre pickings on offer here, with just one decent chance where he failed to beat the keeper. The Manchester City vs Arsenal tie was one of those games where luck or excellence would ultimately make the difference and City had both. There’s certainly no need to go overboard, it’s not a tragic loss. Manchester City had periods where they controlled the play, but so did Arsenal.

Focus and the ability to apply pressure were Arsenal’s downfall, that and yet another game where they failed to find Aubameyang. This is partly due to formation and tactics, but it’s also down to personnel and the lack of that one player who is looking for the Gabon striker all day long.

It needs a ballplayer with vision and that’s why Arsenal will again try to secure Aouar in the summer. Ceballos seems to be swallowed up by his general duties and that detracts from his creative abilities, other than that, who is there?

Please don’t say Ozil. The misguided claim that he would make a difference is as desperate as it is unlikely. How many games have the German disappeared in? Have you forgotten Baku?

Arsenal need to move on and Thomas Partey will eventually make a difference but his six minutes or so proved inconclusive, although he showed the referee enough to get his first yellow card. The big problem for Arteta this campaign is balance. His experimentation with the side is certainly necessary for the absence of a decent pre-season. He needs to work the group into an effective unit that gels together instinctively, like City themselves and Liverpool.

You just feel that it isn’t quite there yet, parts of it are but the whole side is just failing to find fluency. In time, I can see Arsenal reverting to a back four which will be music to Bellerin’s ears. The Spaniard isn’t totally comfortable with his new role and has more to offer. If Arteta isn’t convinced, then he needs to bench him in favour of Soares, who looks more flexible, or Maitland-Niles, who would relish any role at present.

There remains a series of intriguing questions going forward and apart from providing Aubameyang with decent service, the midfield needs to become far more creative. I must admit I was surprised that Partey wasn’t included from the first whistle, even if he was suffering from an international hangover, I would have given him 70 minutes just out of curiosity.


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Big games require big players and having been deprived of watching the silky skills of De Bruyne, we then endured the absence of Partey. There will be time for him to cut his teeth with the games coming thick and fast but caution may have to be thrown to the wind with the likes of Leicester City, Manchester United, and Aston Villa on the horizon.

Arteta has many things to ponder as he tweaks and adjusts these teams but unfortunately, it has to be done in a busy fixture list with a series of pointless internationals interrupting the flow.

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The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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