Bitter Sweet: Arsenal 1 – 1 Man City – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 1 – 1 Man City

With Arsenal’s title hopes on the ropes, a visit from Manchester City wasn’t ideal. The Blues had their eyes set on the title, and were looking to add to Arsenal’s recent woes.

Arsenal started the first half the way they ended the Swansea game – poorly.

 The game looked to be on the brink of another horror show similar to the one seen at Stamford Bridge.

City were dominating possession, bullying our midfielders and making excellent runs behind the back four. The game looked to be on the brink of another horror show similar to the one seen at Stamford Bridge.

It took The Blues eighteen minutes to get their goal though. Dzeko’s shot rattled off the post before Silva bundled it into the net from close range. It wasn’t a particularly great goal, with Sagna not reacting quick enough to Dzeko’s run.

Thankfully, Arsenal got their act together thereafter. They shored up the defence and managed to start holding on to the ball a little better. As a result, the game’s tempo settled, and the score remained until half time.

Surprisingly, Arsenal came out of the blocks sprinting.

Crosses were coming in thick and fast whilst possession was being held on to and used properly. City were stunned, really.

The remainder of the game was a tight contest. Arsenal had well and truly woken up, whilst City weren’t moving as freely as they were in the first half.

Podolski was giving it his all down the left, and Rosicky, Cazorla and Sagna were linking well down the right. Arsenal’s deserved equalizer came in the fifty-third minute.

Lukas Podolski crossed well to Flamini who had found space in the City box, where he finished very, very well to beat Hart.

The remainder of the game was a tight contest. Arsenal had well and truly woken up, whilst City weren’t moving as freely as they were in the first half.

Unfortunately though, The Gunners didn’t have the firepower to put themselves ahead. Podolski had a good chance saved by Hart, whilst Giroud was positioning himself poorly cross after cross, attack after attack.

When the final whistle blew, both teams will have felt that points were dropped. But personally, I was just happy to avoid another bashing.

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Arsenal Player Ratings

Szczesney: [6.5/10]

Surprisingly, he didn’t have that much to do. His first half distribution was iffy, but he looked comfortable as the game went on. Couldn’t have done any better for the goal.

Sagna: [7/10]

Bacary wasn’t quick enough to get back for City’s goal, allowing Dzeko plenty of room to operate. Apart from that though, he worked hard and intelligently up and down the right flank all game. He put in a couple of very good crosses too.

Mertesacker: [7/10] 

Dealt with Dzeko aerially, made some good tackles, and looked at ease at all times.

Vermaelen: [7.5/10] 

Impressive performance in my book. He won headers and tackles well, looked to get the ball forward, and kept things well organised at the back.

Gibbs: [7.5/10]

Kieran was exposed to City’s onslaught early in the second half, with little help from Podolski. He dealt with it the best he could, and he grew into the game very well, helping out both at the back and up top.

Arteta: [5.5/10]

Had his moments today. He struggled to impose himself on the game in the first half especially. His passing and tracking was poor at times, but he also did well to hold on to possession when under pressure. Got better as the game went on, but this has to be his last season starting week in week out.

Cazorla: [7/10] 

Started off poorly in my opinion, but went from strength to strength. He created little in the opening half, and got muscled off the ball too easily. His second half was far better though, as he weaved past players and looked to start attacks.

Podolski: [7.5/10]

Looked lazy in the opening few minutes once again, but he soon started to defend well, and began making good runs forward when needed. He made two exceptional crosses, one which was blocked by Demichelis, the other was struck home by Flamini. Should have finished his chance in the second half though.

Flamini: [7.5/10] – MOTM

Another player who had a poor first half, but really came alive in the second. Mathieu almost morphed into a full-on number 10 at stages, making great runs in behind City’s defence. Although, he wasn’t doing exceptionally well to break up City attacks throughout the game, I’m giving him MOTM for his superb finish to bring Arsenal level.

Rosicky: [7/10] 

Probably our most effective player in the first half, although that isn’t saying much. His movement on the ball was always positive, but he was walking a fine line late on after a sliding tackle on Silva whilst on a yellow. Yellow cards don’t seem to mean much to Tomas.

Giroud: [5.5/10] 

Not good enough today. His movement was poor, his positioning was worse and his eye for goal was non-existent. He should have been on the end of a Podolski and Sagna cross, but his static nature in the box today meant he could only watch both crosses from a distance.

Subs:

The Ox: [6/10] –
Didn’t really have an impact on the game. Looked like he’d been playing for ninety minutes before he come on.

Sanogo [6.5/10]
Only had a few minutes, but he looked energetic. Won a few headers too.

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Bitter Sweet

Despite a poor first half, I was quite proud of the performance from Arsenal.

Mertesacker and Vermaelen held firm, whilst Podolski was showing glimmers of magic to try to get Arsenal ahead – which he should have done. Nevertheless, The Gunners impressively quelled City in the second half, and that’s no easy job.

However, a point doesn’t exactly do much for us. Everton are breathing down our necks, and unless the three above us drop yet more points, a title challenge will be beyond us. So, a bitter sweet draw in the end.

Next up, Everton away. Three points are a must.

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