Arsenal dominated the Champions in their own back yard for the first 45 minutes, which was impressive considering the ridiculous amount of money on show in Manchester. According to Opta, the cost it took to assemble Manchester City’s first eleven could save world hunger. Something to think about.
Many (well, those from Sky Sports) billed this match as “the acid test” to see if Arsenal were in fact title contenders. The 1-1 draw proved nothing, as we’ll know a good 20 games into the season before we know if we’re genuine contenders.
But at the moment, we can only be optimistic about Arsenal.
The obvious conclusion is that Steve Bould’s influence has turned Arsenal into a more formidable defensive unit. And it’s hard to argue with the statistics – we’ve only conceded twice in the league this season, and for all their “talent”, it took a set-piece for them to score.
The game itself, I thought, was pretty lacklustre, due to the teams involvement in the Champions League and due to Manchester City’s extremely negative tactics.
Arsenal controlled the first half, passing the ball well but unable to get through City’s wall of players sitting deep and trying to catch us on the break. You would feel that the current Champions, with a team that has that level of quality throughout the squad, would be slightly more ambitious at home.
The home side sucked the life out of the game and we couldn’t get any meaningful chances on goal, which was their whole game plan. We couldn’t find much space behind the City defence and for all of our posession City were pretty comfortable.
Our togetherness and play was impressive though, and some of the interplay was sublime.
But City’s tactic of winning set-pieces paid off and Lego Head scored from a corner.
We never gave up though and although the game followed the same tempo and we struggled to make any clear chances we finally got the breakthrough when Koscielny with a superbly taken goal.
And if Gervinho wasn’t hyperactive we could have even nicked a winner.
The game was cagey and this was exactly what City wanted. But the character shown by this current Arsenal side is fantastic and the unity between the current crop of players is encouraging.
And we are still unbeaten which can only add to the confidence of the side.