Arsenal 2 – 2 Manchester City
A point is better than most expected, particularly after Leroy Sane opened the scoring in the fourth minute. A point shows how low expectations have become.
In the great scheme of things, whether it is a good point or a bad one, will only be known after the midweek games. If we win and City lose; you get the drift. A point didn’t change anything in the pursuit of the club’s aspirations for a top four finish.
The City goals were both poor to concede, as you might expect from Arsenal at the moment. Bellerin was undone by a combination of De Bruyne quick pass and Sane’s pace. The German rounded Ospina and slotted home; for twenty minutes, we were on the ropes. Not in the sense of constant pressure but from fear; City passed through the midfield too easily. But the players overcame the difficult phase and worked their way back into the game.
As with the first, the second City goal came from sloppy defensive work. Özil gave the ball away cheaply, while Xhaka lost Aguero by not paying attention. Ospina is getting flak for not stopping the shot which I can see why but six yards out, I expected the Argentine international to score, no matter the angle. A player of that calibre will do so from that range, more often than not.
The goals were a comedy of errors and whilst I’ve named individuals, it’s only to underline that one player isn’t the problem, there is a collective defensive issue. I’d say it’s confidence but even when we’re playing well, there’s always a feeling that we will concede at some point.
Stop Breaking Down
The woodwork saved us twice and let’s be honest, Monreal handled at the end. However, aside from the twenty minutes or so at the start, I didn’t think City ‘deserved’ to win. A draw was a fair result given the bizarrely supine second half. There was a lack of intensity from both sides when it came to carving out clear opportunities once Shkodran Mustafi equalised.
Twice Arsenal came back, twice scoring from unexpected sources. Theo Walcott grabbed the first, played onside by Gael Clichy. Prodding home from close range relieved the pressure on what to that point, had been a poor first half performance, fraught with anxiety.
Typically, we didn’t go into the break level with Aguero scoring a couple of minutes later. The concentration levels in the squad generally are very poor at the moment, a sure sign of stress. The fog of Arsène’s future is strangling the club at the moment, and while the manager is right that it shouldn’t impact performances, it’s got to be a contributing factor. An unwelcome distraction, if you like.
Overall, there isn’t much to say about the game itself. I think we went 30 minutes without a shot on goal at one point which gives a fair indication of the attritional nature of the second half. We saw why neither side is challenging for the title or Europe; the lack of a killer instinct. City, had they possessed it, would have been out of sight by half-time. I think they were there for the taking in the second. Maybe it sums up both clubs’ seasons.
Torn and Frayed
As it is, the result leaves us sixth, where we started the day, and in next season’s Europa League, with little hope of avoiding it given the FA Cup winners are all in European places at the moment. Indeed, we’re the only ones who could drop out but even we won’t collapse that monumentally. Surely?
It wasn’t a good day for the club. A match in which it’s important for supporters to remember David Rocastle, saw the player criminally overlooked by Arsenal. The night before a much-hyped – and excellent – documentary on the man was screened on television!
There’s no excuse for Arsenal’s behaviour; it just sums up the dismissal of the club’s past in favour of money. Arsenal, the Football club is dying, replaced by a soulless bastion of Mammon.
Ivan is as much culpable as anyone; his vacuous statement to the Fans Forum beggared belief. Still the club refuses to announce whether Wenger will continue to be manager to the point that even Bob Wilson, a man whose loyalty to the Arsenal is beyond question, said it was necessary for the answer to be known.
If they are waiting for a good time, that’s the twelfth of never. If they are waiting to put forward a change in structure, this should have been ready months ago. The impact of Wenger’s departure on the club, the way it operates was surely predicted by the board? It underlines their abdication of everything to do with managing the manager if he is the “catalyst for change”.
Street Fighting Man
As for the scuffles inside and outside the ground, have a word with yourselves. That’s not about Wenger In or Out, it’s not about players you love or loathe, it’s about you as a person. Get a grip. If you want to fight for something, go and face down facism in every form it surfaces. If you disagree about football, get a pint and debate it; exercise your minds and persuade.
And if you think they were fights, go and look on YouTube for videos of the terraces in the 70s and 80s.
But do us all a favour, and grow up.