Arsenal 1 – 3 Manchester City – Match Report (040)

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far, Arsenal lost their position at the top of the table after suffering a 3 – 1 loss at home to Manchester City, who only top the table on goal difference, having played an extra game than us. The match was already shadowed by news that Thomas Partey was being left out as a precaution with a muscular injury. He was replaced by deadline day signing Jorginho, who played incredibly well as Partey’s backup. Th only other change was Tomiyasu starting for Ben White at right back.

We started the game fiercely, with a chance for Xhaka which was fired over, and Eddie had a shot blocked after Jorginho played him in beautifully. Then Haaland had a chance but no goal came from it. Th best chance of the half fell to Eddie Nketiah in the 21st minute as Zinchenko’s cross was a beautiful one, but it caught Eddie on the shoulder rather than his head and it was hit wide.

City responded, with Saliba mistiming a header and Tomiyasu making a mess of a back pass to Ramsdale, Kevin De Bruyne managed to put the ball in the back of the net from outside the box. The first significant mistake of the game was punished harshly. 

Tomiyasu soon had a chance to redeem himself with levelling the playing field, but his shot clipped the bar. Ederson was then given a yellow for time wasting, ridiculous to be doing this early in the game, which just showed how worried City were with our enthusiastic and dominating start to the game. 

Eddie then almost scored, and his effort was cleared off the line, but in the buildup to the goal, he was fouled by Emerson who really should’ve seen a second yellow and been sent off. However, the Gunners were awarded only their second penalty of the season, and there was never any doubt as Starboy Saka sent Ederson the wrong way. The first half ended 1 – 1.

With no changes at half time, the teams returned with them both giving it their all. My personal highlight of the second half was Arteta’s challenge on De Bruyne in his technical area to prevent City taking a quick throw in.

The drama continued as City were awarded a penalty after a questionable tackle on Haaland by Gabriel, but was then ruled out by VAR as Haaland was offside in the buildup, and Gabriel’s yellow card was rescinded. 

A City free kick caused a mad scramble in the box, with Jorginho clearing an attempt off the line and a mistake from Zinchenko saw Haaland close in on goal, but Ramsdale did fantastically to keep it out. In the 71st minute Grealish scored as the ball deflected off of Tomiyasu and just beat Ramsdale.

With only 15 minutes remaining, Arteta started making his substitutions. First came Trossard on for Martinelli, then shortly after, Arteta was waiting to bring on Vieira for Jorginho and White for Tomiyasu, when City scored for the third time of the night. There was never any doubt from City that Haaland would score when left tin open space, striking the ball with his right foot. 

The scoreline most definitely did not reflect the play from Arsenal, but too many mistakes cost us in preventing us from picking up even a point. Arsenal definitely created the most chances but were just not clinical enough with the final touch. Looking at the positives, though, Jorginho did an amazing job in replacing Thomas Partey, which is no easy feat. He put in a hell of a performance and I hope we get to see him feature more regularly for us. It was also good to see Reiss Nelson back on the bench although he didn’t get any game time. It is games like these that scream for Gabriel Jesus and hopefully we will be more ruthless in putting the ball away when we play the reverse fixture at the Etihad in April, with the vital Gabriel Jesus back in the squad.

Next up Arsenal play Aston Villa on Saturday in the early kick off, which will hopefully see the boys emulating Liverpool’s 9 – 0 thrashing of Bournemouth earlier in the season as they suffered defeat to Manchester United. 

Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson

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