Man City 0 Arsenal 2: Resilient in Defense, Efficient in Attack
This was one of those games I honesty didn’t have high expectations for. Would you blame me? Arsenal’s record in Manchester was nothing to write home about but when you consider that Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham and Tottenham recorded victories, the onus was on Arsene Wenger’s side to come up with the goods in a ground they conceded six last season.
The lineup didn’t really inspire that much confidence especially with the prospects of a young Hector Bellerin and of course, Nacho Monreal coming up against Jesus Navas. As far as I can remember, Monreal’s performance against Manchester City last was more or less his worst outing in Arsenal colors. Then there was David Ooooooooooooooooospina (the chant) continuing in goal ahead of Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal began like a house on fire with the Ox showing his athleticism to skip past Gael Clichy before providing a cross that was attacked by Olivier Giroud. Arsenal got the lead when Vincent Kompany impeded Monreal in the box and Santi Cazorla stepped up to smash in the spot kick even though Joe Hart guessed the right way.
The home side tried to respond with David Silva lofting a through ball for Sergio Aguero but Per Mertesacker was on hand to make a superb block. Aguero had another half chance that was saved by the Colombian goalie. Man City continued to pile the pressure with Jesus Navas stinging the palms of the goalie and the defense had to be aware to the threat Fernandinho posed. Sanchez showed great movement to spin away from Zabaleta but his wayward shot went wide. Navas continued to threaten from the right and he sent a drilled effort that was nicked away from the attackers by Laurent Koscielny.
Then it happened. Another brilliant delivery from Cazorla and the real OG reacted the quickest to head the ball past a hapless Hart. 2-0 to the Arsenal and the fans were in raptures.
Man City responded by bringing on Frank Lampard and the commentators were quick to point out that he had never lost a game he played for the Citizens. Story for the gods. The midfielder chipped a ball into the danger area and Monreal had a lash at it but the ball sailed over the bar. Santi Cazorla was having a stormer and he epitomized it with a slalom run that saw him go past his markers like they didn’t exist.
Late on, Wenger brought on Mathieu Flamini and Kieran Gibbs to sure things up at the back and the Gunners were almost 3-0 up when Rosicky threaded an inch-perfect ball in behind Clichy but Flamini’s cut back was intercepted by Kompany.
At the final whistle, Man City might have felt hard done by but they came up against a very organized Arsenal side that quelled every threat they posed while instilling some damage on their own. The Premier League takes a two-week break with the FA Cup taking center stage. At least, the spirits are really high at the Emirates camp.
To individual performances, I must say that the fullbacks were awesome in the game and they were protected superbly by Francis Coquelin that has been a breath of fresh air since his return to the first team. As for the away fans, they were awesome and I loved every bit of the never-ending Ospina chants.
Here’s to a sweet week ahead.