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What went wrong for Arsenal against City

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Premier League table toppers Arsenal were brought back to earth with a bang on Saturday, as Arsene Wenger’s men were put to the sword 6-3 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

The north London side looked tired from their trip to Napoli in midweek and were thoroughly outplayed by Manuel Pellegrini’s men. Here is where it went wrong for the Gunners.

Full-backs isolated

Both sides lined up with bespoke versions of the popular 4-2-3-1 formation, but it was the hosts that exposed the system’s one main weakness better than Arsenal.

Although 4-2-3-1 gives a good balance if used correctly, it can leave a team’s full-backs exposed. This was the case for Arsenal, with the visitors’ wide midfielders not tracking back against the City full-backs.

Pablo Zabaleta in particular managed to forge space against Nacho Monreal, but both Arsenal full-backs found themselves in two-on-one situations.

Giroud fatigued

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Olivier Giroud is having a good season but is starting to pay the price for featuring in almost every game. The French striker looked fatigued here more than at any point during the campaign, and was bullied by Kompany and Demichelis.

Arsene Wenger obviously saw this and replaced the ex-Montpellier man with Nicklas Bendtner in the second-half, but the over-reliance on Giroud needs to be addressed in the January transfer window.

Ozil hasn’t showed up for the big games

Similar to Arsenal’s defeat at Old Trafford, Mesut Ozil played a peripheral role in his team’s efforts and failed to provide the creative spark to see his team as a real threat.

The Germany international has been in great form against the so-called weaker teams in the division, but is yet to really shine in a game against a title contender.

Arsenal fans will be impressed with the former Real Madrid man’s start to life at the Emirates Stadium, but Ozil needs to step it up in games where Arsenal do not have it all their own way.

Bullied in midfield

Despite the presence of designated enforcer Mathieu Flamini, Arsenal were outplayed and outmuscled in the centre of the park.

Fernandinho put in his best performance in a City shirt, while Yaya Toure was his usual commanding self.

As such, Aaron Ramsey struggled to influence proceedings, while Jack Wilshere was guilty of being caught on the ball and misplacing passes due to pressure from the opposition.

Comments (4)

  1. I thought the side was a bit tired mentally. City pressed really well but most of their goals did come from stealing the ball high up the pitch largely due to basic errors and I thought mental tiredness could have been a factor there. The several awful calls by the linesmen against us really didn’t help and were probably worth another couple of goals actually. I thought Wenger made a bad call in taking off Flamini when Wilshere really should have been taken off instead and the penalty for their last goal was dodgy imo. I thought Milner manufactured the contact from Szczesny and had the game ended 5-3 instead of 6, I don’t think the result would have looked so bad. The headlines should be saying “City overcame a plucky performance from a tired Arsenal” rather than that they smashed us or whatever, but I suppose that’s to be expected. It would have been nice if the linesman could have at least just done their jobs properly so that we didn’t have to overcome both the having fewer days to recover from a big CL game (not that many of the City players had to make any kind of recovery anyway) as well as these dodgy calls which certainly effected the game. All-in-all I think City deserved their win on balance of play but got more than the rub of the green and that made the result a lot harsher on us than we really deserved.

    • Totally agree. We gifted them at lest 4 of their goals and the linesman denied us at least two clear goals and a penalty. 6-3 sounds so much worst than 5-3 but the way the media is reporting this is beyond hyperbole, they’ve turned it into a Mancunian orgy.

      Ozil also appears to have been singled out which is incredibly harsh given his excellent assist for Theo’s goal. Most players would have just taken that on and had a shot. His awareness and wherewithal to stop and look up is what sets him apart. And creatively I thought we were awesome…we actually created more open chances than they did.

      Wilshere is turning into an enigma and huge worry. He’s petulant, makes too many technical mistakes, loses his cool…all of the things Wenger stands against. That was the most worrying thing for me, his display. Back at home we’ll show the Mancs just how good they are and will put this defeat into perspective but the way Wilshere is turning out is a real worry.

  2. It was a disappointing defeat for Arsenal. A team i see as title contenders. However,Jack wilshere should not have been in the lineup,he was disastrous,Rosiscky should have would have being perfect instead of shambolic Jack. January transfer is fast approaching , Giroud does not have the werewithal,he lacks virtually everything as a striker. Arsenal need a super powerful striker if they want to remain as contenders. Above all,a player like Roziscky should not sit on bench at such a big game like this. Whatever happens, i will remain a gunner!

  3. Too many reasons to count. The refs were rubbish!

    We desperately need a new goalkeeper, Szczesny could’ve prevented at least half of the goals if he was any better, he is rubbish, not worth playing in the EPL for any team!

    The players need to track back, as you saw yesterday city’s players outnumbered our full back and defenders!