Three in Finland: Arsenal 3 – 1 Man City – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 3 – 1 Man City

Following a poor performance against Galatasaray in the Emirates Cup, Arsenal travelled to Helsinki to face financial giants Manchester City. With the Premier League season just days away, both sides were eager to record convincing wins. [quote_right]”[Walcott’s] first touch was good, allowing him to comfortably clip the ball over an oncoming Joe Hart. It was a great pass followed by a confident finish.”[/quote_right]

Manchester City kicked off the game with some heavy pressure. James Milner and David Silva were helping to push Arsenal’s defences back, and the Blues almost found an opening goal, but were fortunately – and perhaps unfairly, flagged offside.

However, in the eighth minute, Arsenal turned the tables. A clever ball from Aaron Ramsey allowed Theo Walcott to go through on goal. His first touch was good, allowing him to comfortably clip the ball over an oncoming Joe Hart. It was a great pass followed by a confident finish.

The rest of the first half was interesting. The beginnings of the game looked to be end to end, with both sides coming forward with purpose, yet Arsenal reacted to their own opening goal by shoring up their midfield, and locking down their defence.

Despite some intelligent play from Manchester City in the final third, The Gunner’s defenders, backed up by Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta, were doing a brilliant job of closing down the play, forcing City to start from scratch each time they came forward.

As well as organising themselves well defensively, the pace of Walcott and Chamberlain enabled Arsenal to break very well whenever the opportunity arose. The Ox in particular was casually weaving in and out of City’s defence, causing them all sorts of issues. The half ended with Arsenal looking solid defensively, whilst Man City appeared to be understandably frustrated with the scoreline.

The second half was just as pleasant as the first. Manchester City continuously tried to find a way through Arsenal defences throughout the opening minutes, but to no avail.[quote_left]”[Giroud’s] first touch was impressive, yet the brilliance came with his second, as he coolly lifted the ball over a scrambling Joe Hart. Arsenal were in dreamland.”[/quote_left]

Arsenal on the other hand, continued to look confident. The introductions of Giroud and Cazorla seemed to be working, enabling The Gunners to add to their lead in the fifty-ninth minute. This time, Theo Walcott played in a very well weighted ball into the path of Aaron Ramsey’s intelligent run forward. The Welshman rounded Hart calmly, and passed the ball into the open net. Easy.

As the game went on, Arsenal were clearly growing in confidence. Just three minutes after Ramsey’s goal, Theo Walcott yet again played in a sublime ball from the half-way line to Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman had made an excellent burst forward, beating Kompany to the ball. His first touch was impressive, yet the brilliance came with his second, as he coolly lifted the ball over a scrambling Joe Hart. Arsenal were in dreamland.

Arsene Wenger saw the three goal cushion as que to bring on trialist Sebastien Perez, along with a host of younger players, including Gedion Zelalem.

Typically however, Arsenal were unable to keep a clean sheet. A simple ball played into Negredo in the seventy-ninth minute saw him push off a rather weak challenge from Koscielny, and finished quite comfortably past the substitute Fabianski.

Despite the goal, Arsenal’s youngsters helped see the game out, and Arsenal were able to hold their heads up very high as the final whistle blew.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [6.5/10]
Had very little to do, but pulled off one or two good saves from some decent attempts on goal from City. However, he misjudged a long ball in the air, and was saved by Koscielny’s clearance off the line. His concentration levels need to improve.

Sagna: [7.5/10]
Back in his usual right-back position, Bacary looked assured. He coped well with Man City’s pace and power in the final third, and was able to get forward to help attack. Had an impressive shot pushed on to the post by Hart.

Mertesacker: [5.5/10]
Up until today, Per had performed very well in pre-season. Today, he looked extremely tired, and was caught out on a few occasions due to bad positioning and lack of pace. Foolishly stood still holding his hand in the air for offside as Negredo mounted an attack on Arsenal’s goal.

Koscielny: [7/10]
Laurent looked as solid as ever, up until City’s goal. Throughout the game he cleaned up any mess seeping through midfield, and won plenty of challenges. However, Negredo pushed him off far too easily for his goal.

Gibbs: [7.5/10]
Looked energetic in defence and going forward, and managed to deal with a host of attacks which were concentrated down his side of the field.

Ramsey: [8/10]
I was extremely impressed by Aaron today. He worked hard defensively and closed down City players regularly, yet he also managed to play a superb ball into Theo Walcott for the opener, and did well to grab a goal for himself.

Arteta: [7/10]
Mikel looked a lot more comfortable in midfield today, in contrast to his performances in the Emirates Cup. He passed the ball well, and helped close down City whenever they came forward.

Wilshere: [7/10]
Still being eased into action, but Jack showed some good passing throughout the first half, and helped get Arsenal forward as much as he could.

The Ox: [7.5/10]
Alex was absolutely buzzing on the ball. He pierced through City’s defence on a number of occasions, and was unlucky not to be involved further when it came to goals and assists.

Walcott: [8.5/10]
MOTM. Theo was involved in all three goals, and was pretty much at the heart of every Arsenal attack. Great finish for his first goal and , accurate passing and amazing vision to set up both Ramsey and Giroud.

Podolski: [6.5/10]
Typically, Lukas had a quiet game. He wasn’t given great delivery, but he didn’t get himself involved enough either.

Subs:

Giroud: [8/10]
Came on and did exactly what you’d want him to do. He held up play brilliantly, won headers, and scored a wonderful chipped goal. 8 goals this pre-season, long may it continue.

Cazorla: [6.5/10]
Santi hardly touched the ball during the second half, and did very little on either side of the pitch. However, he showed some neat touches whilst on the ball. His lacklustre displays against teams with imposing players is typical of him, and it’s something he needs to work on.

Fabianski: [7/10]
Dealt very well with a number of City shots, and showed bravery to get down to Negredo’s feet when he beat Arsenal’s offside trap. Maybe should have kept out Negredo’s later goal.

Perez: [6.5/10]
The Colombian trialist actually looked pretty good. His passing was accurate, and he broke up play quite well. Interesting.

Zelalem: [6.5/10]
Gedion looked assured in midfield, even when up against the likes of Garcia, Negredo and so forth. Hugely impressive that he played a part in such a tough fixture.

Jenkinson: [6.5/10]
Came on and looked lively, getting in some tackles and headers when necessary. His positioning is a little off at times.

Hayden: [N/A] 

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[title]Three in Finland[/title]

If Arsenal had lost 3 – 1 today, many fans would have been going absolutely crazy. In fairness, our fan base has every right to be concerned with the lack of signings a week before the season begins, but it’s difficult to not take positives from today’s result.

Impressive displays from Ramsey, Walcott and Giroud ensured that Arsenal got three in Finland, against a very strong Manchester City side. A side which consisted of Yaya Toure, Negredo, Kompany, Hart and so forth.

Make no mistake, Arsenal will need to strengthen if they are to challenge for the title this year, but today’s win can only be a good thing when looking at Saturday’s season opener against Aston Villa.

What did you think of the Arsenal vs Man City match? Share your views in the comments section below!

Image: Arsenal

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