Skinned at City: Manchester City 6 – 3 Arsenal – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Man City 6 – 3 Arsenal

Just days after scraping through to the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsenal faced another tough test at The Etihad. Manchester City were high off their win against Bayern Munich mid-week, and were looking to close the gap on the Premier League leaders.[quote_right]”City continued to look threatening, but Arsenal were trying to make things happen despite only just clinging on defensively…”[/quote_right]

Manchester City burst into life as soon as the whistle blew. Toure, Negredo, Silva and Aguero were all looking dangerous, making intelligent runs behind Arsenal’s back four.

It was no surprise then, when Sergio Aguero popped up with a goal in the fourteenth minute. Nasri’s cross came off Demichelis, and spun towards the back post. Aguero made his run past a static Koscielny, and volleyed the ball home. It was poor defending.

City continued to look threatening, but Arsenal were trying to make things happen despite only just clinging on defensively.

In the thirty-first minute, Ramsey dispossessed Yaya Toure in midfield, and set Ozil away on the right. Mesut drove forward and passed brilliantly to Theo Walcott on the edge of the box. The Englishman side-footed the ball elegantly past Demichelis and Toure and then Pantimillon.

Unfortunately, Arsenal’s joy was short-lived. Just nine minutes after the equalizer, Yaya Toure lifted the ball to Zabaleta on the right, where both Wilshere & Monreal were absent. Zabaleta played the ball in, and Negredo poked it past Szczesney. Yet more poor defending.

The whistle soon blew for half time,, and Arsenal were on the back foot.

City only got better in the second half. Yaya Toure was making Arsenal’s midfield look bitterly average. In the fiftieth minute, a poor ball from Ozil couldn’t be controlled by Flamini, leaving Fernandinho pick it up. The Brazilian used his acres of space, and lined himself up to curl the ball into the bottom corner.

Arsenal responded with Theo Walcott again in the sixty-third minute. Ramsey played him in behind inside the box, and Walcott beautifully curled the ball into the far corner.

Yet again though, Arsenal’s confidence was cut short, as Silva made it 4-2 just three minutes later. Poor defending from Monreal and Mertesacker allowed Navas to play Silva in, who finished from close range.[quote_left]”The whistle blew, and Arsenal’s rollercoaster of defeat finally came to a painful end.”[/quote_left]

Arsenal spent the next few minutes trying to muster up a comeback, but missed chances and extremely poor linesman calls kept The Gunners at bay. As the clock wound down, Arsenal were looking tired.

In the eighty-eighth minute, Fernandinho once again reared his head. The midfielder benefitted from strong City attack, picking up a ricochet in the area. He chipped the ball past Szczesney, off the post, and in. It was now 5-2.

Despite the time though, the goals were still flowing. Bacary Sagna crossed to Mertesacker in the ninety-first minute, and the big German headed the ball home, making the score line a more respectable 5-3.

Yet, disaster was to strike The Gunners on more time. Milner was brought down by Szczesney in the box with seconds to go. Yaya Toure stepped up, and tucked it away.

The whistle blew, and Arsenal’s rollercoaster of defeat finally came to a painful end.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesney: [5.5/10]
Couldn’t really have done anything for any of the goals, but a the end of the day, he conceded six. Not his day.

Sagna: [6/10]
Started well, but faded quickly, especially when it came to defending. He was positionally poor in the second half in particular, but managed a good assist for Mertesacker.

Mertesacker: [6/10]
Directly at fault for Silva’s goal, and probably could have done better when organising Arsenal’s defences. Had a few slide tackles which didn’t come off too. Did well to grab a goal though. Shouldn’t have been screaming at Ozil at the end of the game in front of the cameras.

Koscielny: [6/10]
Had his afternoon cut short through injury, but he was directly at fault for Aguero’s goal. Ball watching.

Monreal: [5.5/10]
Nacho started well too, but was positionally terrible at times. He lost the ball on a few occasions, and should have done better leading up to Silva’s goal.

Flamini: [6/10]
Mathieu was out of his depth. Toure and Fernandinho dominated the centre, and Flamini just couldn’t keep up at times. Should have done better to reach Ozil’s pass leading to Fernandinho’s goal. Subbed.

Ramsey: [7/10]
Aaron also suffered at the hands of Toure and Fernandinho at times, but showed determination to try to bring Arsenal through the test. He did well to dispossess Toure leading to Walcott’s first goal, and also to get an assist for Theo’s second.

Wilshere: [5/10]
A poor performance from Jack. Gave the ball away, didn’t help out enough defensively, and was ineffective in general across the pitch. Had one great long-range effort saved though.

Walcott: [8/10] – MOTM
Theo was fantastic. Both of his goals were beautifully taken, and he tried his best to get Arsenal moving in the final third with his intelligent runs. The only positive today.

Ozil: [5.5/10]
Hid for most of the game, but still popped up with an assist for Walcott. Had an extremely bad episode with Mertesacker at the end of the game, which the cameras didn’t need to see.

Giroud: [5.5/10]
Not Olivier’s day. Missed chance after chance, and looked stifled by Kompany. Had a perfectly good goal scrubbed off by the linesman though. Subbed.

Subs:

Vermaelen: [6/10]
Tried his best to replace Koscielny by providing some stability at the back, but he could do nothing in the face of City’s attacks. Didn’t do much wrong individually.

Gnabry: [6.5/10]
A big ask for Serge, but he showed some spirit and desire whenever the ball was around him. Couldn’t influence the game though.

Bendtner: [6.5/10]
Came on and scored a goal. Unfortunately, the linesman once again denied him.

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[title]Skinned at City[/title]

In all truth, we were taught a valuable lesson today.

Our defending was extremely poor, whilst our attacked were, for the most part, lacking the desire to score. Ozil was nowhere to be seen for much of the game, Giroud missed chance after chance, whilst Wilshere was all over the place.

Yaya Toure and Fernandinho won City the game. They dominated the midfield, and kept Arsenal quiet.

It’s not good to blame officials, but the poor decisions today were truly scandalous. Zabalata’s hand ball in the box, along with both Giroud and Bendtner’s “offside” goals were all dismissed, incorrectly. Yet, there can be no excuse for conceding six goals. A skinning is a skinning.

Arsenal still sit two points clear at the top, but this result means that they must beat Chelsea at home next week. Here’s hoping.

What did you think of the City vs Arsenal match? Let me know in the comments below!

Image: Arsenal

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