Thursday, January 6, 2011

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 0: Fabregas Excels But Gunners Drop Points at Emirates

Arsenal would not be satisfied with the result considering that they were the ones who created most of the chances in the game. On the other hand, Manchester City would be happy with the point and will look to push on from here. Arsene Wenger lamented the opposition’s defensive tactics while Roberto Mancini said that he had to ensure his team did not lose the game.

The Gunners were out of the blocks in a flash as they created numerous chances in the opening ten minutes of the game. Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas all had half chances but could not convert. After the initial burst, Robin van Persie starting in consecutive games weaved past his marker to create space to shoot. Unfortunately, it could only hit the base of the post and was the sign of things to come for the Gunners on the day.

Cesc Fabregas then did brilliantly to find space and shot at goal but with Joe Hart completely beaten, he could only hit the post and Theo Walcott also could only strike the post of the rebound. Manchester City looked a threat on set-pieces and it took good defending by Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny to clear the danger from free-kicks. It was clear that City had a plan to play counter-attacking football but struggled to get behind the defence.

Manchester City missed the creativity and pace of David Silva who has the ability to break down defences. Yaya Toure proved a threat with his direct attacking runs and did well on a lot of occasions but could not create too many opportunities. Carlos Tevez worked hard as ever but he had very little support from his attacking team mates and was isolated for large parts of the game.

In the second half, it was Arsenal again who looked for the opener and they really close when Robin van Persie did very well to get his shot away and it looked to be heading for the corner until Hart got a strong hand to the ball. Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure did very well in defence and stood firm when Arsenal got many players into the box.

Theo Walcott’s pace skinned Pablo Zabaleta on a couple of occasions but the experienced defender was up to the task of sticking close to the England International and Walcott could not get enough good opportunities. Samir Nasri could not exert an influence in the game as Micah Richards and James Milner both kept Nasri quiet which was essential considering his form of late.

At the end of the day, City would be happy to end the day staying in second place while the Gunners would consider it to be two points dropped at home. Wenger and his men will have to be consistent to mount a good title challenge while the Citizens will believe that they have the squad to be successful over the season.

Though they could be disappointed with the result, the performance was good from the Gunners and it does seem like the combination of Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou seems to be the best option for the Gunners after they secured their second consecutive clean sheet. Also, Koscielny has improved a lot from the start of the season and is starting to look like a quality defender. With the return of Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal will be a stronger unit and still have a good chance of winning the title.

It was a extremely hard game for the Gunners considering that City only wanted a point from the game but these are the sort of games that they should win in order to be close to the top. There were some positives from this game like the return to form of Robin van Persie who looked threatening and with relatively easier fixtures coming up, Arsenal should try to maximize the advantage.

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