Arsenal 2 Man City 2: Defensive Lapses Cost the Gunners Yet Again
Arsenal 2 (Wilshere 64′, Sanchez 74′) – Manchester City 2 (Aguero 28′, Demichelis 84′)
Emirates Stadium (Premier League)
With the international break over, there was a renewed optimism about the Gunners encounter against Manchester City. Arsenal’s new knight in shiny armor, Danny Welbeck, spearheaded the attack and Jack Wilshere played alongside Aaron Ramsey, which cost Santi Cazorla his place in the team.
Welbeck showed good movement from the start and he opened up to receive a Wilshere ball but it was intercepted by the Man City rearguard. After some neat passing play, Ramsey had all the time in the world to square the ball to Alexis Sanchez but he blasted a wayward shot over the bar. Sanchez latched unto another ball and fired a dipping shot straight at Joe Hart but it was easy pickings for the England No. 1. Wilshere dinked the ball into the danger area and with Sanchez unmarked but Hart raced off his line to punch the ball away. Kun Aguero took on the defense and tried to square the ball from the byline but it was smothered by Szczesny.
Welbeck was trying to impact the game and be hurriedly fired Ozil’s pass wide but a glorious chance appeared for the English forward as he bore down on goal, executed a chip Carlos Vela would have been proud of but the post spared Hart’s blushes.
On the other end, Jesus Navas opened up space and drilled the ball into the heart of Arsenal’s defence but Per Mertesacker was on hand to play the ball over the bar. Aguero was growing in influence as he returned a neat one-two pass to James Milner but the swerving shot went over. However, Manchester City grabbed the lead when Aguero latched unto Navas’ inviting ball to place it past Szczesny.
David Silva almost doubled Man City’s money but Szczesny made a superb save to keep the away team at bay. At the start of the second half, the Citizens summoned a former Arsenal son, Samir Nasri, into the pitch and as expected, the boo boys gained their voice and made their feelings felt.
Another former Gunner, Gael Clichy, crept into the attack in swift fashion and chipped the ball over the goalie but his efforts went wide. Since chipping turned out to be the order of the day, Arsenal obliged Man City to score a goal in such a sweet fashion. Wilshere took Ramsey’s pass on his stride, left Clichy for dead and neatly chipped the ball over Hart that had no chance in saving it.
That goal brought life into Arsenal and an onslaught followed. Matt Debuchy fired an Özil pass to the side netting then Arsenal made their momentum count when Sanchez sidefooted Wilshere’s header to the top corner to put the Gunners ahead.
Wilshere’s influence continued to grow as he nutmeged his marker before exchanging passes with Welbeck and Özil. The final ball was lobbed by Wilshere to Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus missed the kind of chance he’s known to bury.
There was a concern was Debuchy suffered a nasty injury and he was replaced by Calum Chambers. Late on, Arsenal conceded a goal from a corner as Martin Demichelis headed the ball in. Mathieu Flamini was poised to head the ball off the line as it came to his direction but Szczesny deflected the ball into the net with his palm.
Welbeck attempted a Thierry Henry-esque shot but the ball curved away. That turned out to be his last contribution as he was replaced by the Ox. Right at the death, Arsenal almost lost the game as Aleksandr Kolarov and Edin Dzeko had chances that hit the post. Even Nasri found the net when Szczesny parried Dzeko’s shot but he was offside.
The ref’s whistle ended a pulsating encounter but as it has been all season long, the Gunners have conceded from yet another set piece. This is a growing trend that has become disturbing and one must wonder if these guys learn from their mistakes. To add salt to the Gunners wounds, Debuchy’s injury puts the defense in a very precarious situation as his replacement, Chambers, is also meant to be a replacement for the center backs as well. The Gunners are walking on a very tight rope in defense but nothing can be done about it, till January at least.
A tough trip to Signal Iduna Park follows.
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