Before the game, I couldn’t see Arsenal losing this one. Against Arsenal, Roberto Mancini reverts to type and plays completely negative. In the last home game against them last season, they had no interest in winning that match and even in the away game earlier this season, we were the better side.
Mancini is clearly scared of Arsenal and sets up his side to catch us on the break. Against us, he is typically Italian.
We had the potential to see a great game this afternoon but on 8 minutes, that all changed.
With Dzeko about to latch onto the loose ball, Koscielny pulled him down. The decision to give a penalty and send off the defender isn’t as black a white as everyone makes out.
Was it a foul? Definitely, there’s no doubt whatsoever. It was stupid from Koscielny because Dzeko probably wouldn’t have converted it. And was it a penalty? Yes, it was a stone wall penalty.
But the red card? I’m sorry, I can’t agree with that.
Surely a yellow card and a penalty is punishment enough? I couldn’t help thinking that if that was at Old Trafford, the penalty probably wouldn’t have been given, never mind a red card. Would a referee have the balls to send off a Manchester United defender? It would have been a penalty and yellow card at most.
Dzeko showed his prowess by missing the penalty and scoring a scorcher from 2 yards but with 10 men the game was over. Arsenal really should have tried to batten down the hatches until half time and then tried to regroup after half time. After all, the pressure was on Manchester City to win so we could have slowed the game down.
But once City scored it was over. If there’s anything City know what to do it’s defend and I had to laugh when I think it was Jamie “Literally” Redknapp that was baffled and couldn’t explain why with all their attacking talent, Manchester City had a very poor goalscoring record against Arsenal at The Emirates. It’s because Mancini plays negatively against Arsenal, even Stevie Wonder can see that Jamie.
The bottom line is the referee gifted the game to City with the big decision. Even with the Manchester City freekick that Milner scored from, the referee let City take it quickly while when Arsenal had free kicks, he said wait for the whistle and signalled that we had to wait until City set up their wall.
Without Arteta and a completely fit Giroud we were going to struggle but with 10 men it’s a massive ask.
And we’re mentally not strong enough. In the past, in the Bergkamp, Vieira and Henry era, going down to 10 men didn’t matter. We won countless games with 10 men in those days but this current Arsenal squad are extremely fragile. You just knew with 10 men it would affect us far more than the other big teams in the league.
Anyway, up and onwards to Stamford Bridge next weekend, should be an easy 3 points.