Mind The Gap, Man City is Coming!
Man City closed the gap at the lead to just three points after a comfortable outing against Unai Emery and his Aston Villa side that looked to be in good form since his arrival at the club. An early header from an unlikely source, Rodri, set the tone for the game, and the defending champions doubled their money when Ilkay Gundogan reacted quickly to Erling Haaland’s cut back on the byline. Riyad Mahrez put the icing on the cake from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 and Ollie Watkins’ goal in the second was more or less a consolation.
The gap between Arsenal and Man City was meant to be five points, but another frustrating performance against Brentford saw the Gunners drop two points, although it can also be argued that it was two points robbed, in this piece from Arseblog.
In as much as I wouldn’t necessarily argue with the fact that the officiating was crap and Lee Mason could have done better in the VAR room with the other chums that don’t know when to draw the offside lines, my main focus will be what we failed to do with the superior stats we had. Ball possession was 69 percent to Brentford’s 31, total shots was 23-9, but big chances was one to the visitors three. We also sprayed 510 passes to their 177, and had more corners (7-4). Brentford, however, edged past us on the xG charts,
|Expected Goals (xG)||1.55||2.01|
|xG First Half||0.48||0.92|
|xG Second Half||1.07||1.09|
|xG Open Play||1.50||0.82|
|xG Set Play||0.06||1.19|
|xG on Target||1.19||0.99|
We had the lion’s share of the possession and failed to do the required damage, despite the opposition defending with their lives. We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves, and we can pick ourselves up and fight for what should be the game of our lives on Wednesday night.
In his post-match press conference, Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, touched on the draw, some decisions and facing Man City.
On the offside goal for Brentford,
“Yes, I just looked it back and it is offside yeah. It is [frustrating] but probably they will give an explanation later in the week but today we haven’t got any, looking at the images, you have to apply certain principles in defending and you do that by sticking to the rules and suddenly you apply different rules you have to change your principles.”
The gaffer was spot on, as PGMOL reached out to Arsenal on the incident, citing human error as the culprit. Arsenal are three points ahead of Man City, instead of five, due to human error, and we are expected to just take it on the chin. It’s even worse to know that it was the same Lee Mason that was instrumental in the goal cancellation for Gabriel Martinelli at Old Trafford, when he stated that club captain, Martin Odegaard, was adjudged to have fouled Christian Eriksen in the build up to the goal.
VAR has been a blessing and a curse in the Premier League, and it hurts when your team is on the wrong end of it.
Man City comes up on Wednesday and the Gunners have it all to do as they will have the stiffest test yet to show their title credentials. Mikel Arteta has stated that the team will train, recover and plan adequately for the game, and it offers a great opportunity for the lads to show the fans and haters alike that they are capable.
Arsenal has already defeated Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium this season. Winning Man City will put the team in the right direction but there’s a lot of football to be played between now and May.
Mind the gap.
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