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Arsenal v Manchester City

arsenal v city

Arsenal – 4-2-3-1 Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey; Welbeck, Iwobi, Sanchez; Giroud

Last August, this was billed as a potential title decider, a penultimate game shootout, winner takes all…but this clash between two giants of the premier league merely proved who would limp home to a possible third place finish in the league.

Leicester had wrapped up the league the week before and on the day of this game, were receiving the trophy, which meant this game had even less attention on it and that was reflected in the deflated crowd atmosphere at the Etihad. However to everyone’s surprise (including mine) what followed was a match worthy of being a title decider. Right from the off Mancherster City were on the front foot, closing Arsenal down and not giving them any space, and before Sergio Aguero had put City ahead with a breathtaking goal,  they were rampant down both wings and cutting Arsenal open at will. Petr Cech hadn’t even had to make a save before he was picking the ball out the net. Jesus Navas fed a ball across the box and Aguero – with his back to goal, swiveled and smashed in a low shot that left Cech floundering.

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Aguero scores

No sooner had City gone ahead, Arsenal were level. Fortuitous circumstances had led to Giroud heading home an equalizer from a corner needlessly conceded by former Arsenal left back Gael Clichy. Giroud had finally scored in a league game (his first since January) and the timing was perfect to kill the momentum city had. Giroud has come in for strong criticism this season and whilst a lot of it has been justified and he still frustrates everyone with his play, he can offer vital support and is a worthy squad player.

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Giroud heads home

A breathless half continued and for a period it was anyone’s game. City pressed and hurried but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances and Arsenal looked to counter on the break. The game took a sour turn when Danny Welbeck went down with a serious looking knee injury – which we now know will keep him out for 9 months. This allowed Arsenal to bring on Jack Wilshere, who himself was playing his first game of the season after breaking his leg in pre-season (at least when Arsenal players get injured, they do it properly).

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Return of king Jack

 

For anyone expecting a rest for the second half it wasn’t to be as five minutes after the re-start, the impressive Kevin De Bruyne ran at least 35 yards unchallenged to shoot past Cech, a shot Cech really should have saved for a keeper of his quality. You always felt Arsenal would have at least one more big chance to score and that proved correct as Alexis turned his marker and made a dart for the goal. He played a wonderful pass into Giroud who laid it back perfectly to Alexis, and he gratefully sent Hart the wrong way to equalize. Arsenal felt like that match had swung their way and they replaced Iwobi with Walcott after 60 minutes and started to take control of the game. Elneny was impressive in midfield as he often broke up attacks and started counters. Even though a point was good enough for Arsenal to secure third place, City had more pressure on them to win the game to keep United at bay, but you never felt like they would score and in fact it was Arsenal that nearly snatched a winner with Koscielny hitting the bar late on. The game ended 2-2 and it was a mixed bag after, the all important Champions league spot had been gained, but Danny Welbeck’s injury left a sour taste in the mouth.

In other news…

Arsenal fans were again fighting between themselves after the match, the pro Wenger supporters clashing with the anti Wenger supporters. This sort of behavior is not welcome in today’s game and does set a good example to any youngsters watching. I just hope this kind of behavior does not carry on next season.

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Disgraceful behaviour

Arsenals move for Granit Xhaka looks like it’s coming to a positive conclusion- deal imminent.

Welbeck out for 9 months with knee injury.

Thierry Henry and Mikel Arteta have been offered coaching roles within the club.

Next week sees the end of Arsenals season , final home game is against Aston Villa.

 

Until Next week.

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