Arsenal edged Manchester City last Saturday to win 1-0 in an interesting affair resulting in Arsenal's first Premier League win over the Citizens since 2015. Where did It go wrong for the Champions?
Manchester City started strong in the first 20 minutes being unfortunate not to take the lead. Goal line clearance from Declan Rice stopped Ruben Dias from scoring the opener which was shortly followed by a close ranged effort from Nathan Ake blazed over the cross bar. Julian Alvarez press nearly resulted in a blocked pass from keeper Matt Turner trickling over the line but the ball went just wide saving his blushes. Manchester City dropped off after this with Arsenal defenders managing to keep Haaland quiet for the entirety of the game. Declan Rice was superb; he cut out dangerous attacks and was pivotal in the midfield showing what Manchester City lacked with the Rodri suspension. Manchester City also lacked creativity in the midfield, Kevin de Bruyne provides passes no other player can see which was needed in a game of this magnitude. Arsenal were also, however, without star boy Bukoya Saka who was a massive miss picking up an Injury a week before the game. Pep chose Kovacic over Phillips which potentially was the wrong decision by Guardiola. Kovacic made two clumsy tackles and was seen as many as very lucky to be on the field due to two rash tackles early on.
Arsenal performed spectacularly for the most part of the game. Their defensive line was capable of managing city which they had struggled with for a long time. Julian and Haaland just couldn’t seem to get going with credit to Saliba especially who organised the back line perfectly. It would be fair to say it wasn’t City not playing well it was just an Arsenal team full of confidence playing at their best. Arsenal will use this victory in belief they can go one further this year after last year’s title race ended in the Blues winning a third Premier League in a row. Manchester City may struggle to get back to their ruthless form following the treble winning season. After such a high in winning the prestigious treble, Jack Grealish himself said it is hard to do one better after heading out of the Carabao against Newcastle.
Guardiola will be annoyed with Rodri after his suspension. The match bans have proven pivotal in the losses they’ve taken in recent weeks. It highlights his role in this city team and how essential he is in this Guardiola system. A match with him against Arsenal may have given that midfield dominance typically associated this City side. De Bruyne’s absence was again on show. He is certainly missed in these big games always being the shining star in Man City’s side. Against teams lower in the league he isn’t a necessity but in these massive games he is an obvious miss. The international weeks will be a relief for some City fans, meaning they are 2 weeks closer to his return.
Arsenal deserved the win after their fantastic performance but could an early goal have changed the complexion of this game? City have an outstanding record once they go one up, if Ake had scored would the result have been different? Is there any other reasons that city lost? Was Rodri’s absence the difference maker? Let us know your thoughts on the match.