Yesterday we lost 6-3 to Manchester City, and since then Arsenal fans have been panicking, saying that Arsenal are on a downward spiral. People will say we can’t beat the top sides and that we are going to fade over the next few months.
However, I would err on the side of caution before writing Arsenal off, and below are 5 perfectly reasonable reasons why we lost how we did against Manchester City, and why we shouldn’t quite panic just yet.
1. Manchester City are “Invincible” at home
Manchester City have spend the most money it shows in the quality of the squad. At The Etihad Stadium, they have already beaten Tottenham Hotspur 6-0, Norwich City 7-0, Newcastle United 4-0, Manchester United 4-1 and Everton 3-1. At home, they are ruthless and unstoppable – and have some of the best attacking players in the league. Aguero is world class, Negredo is an excellent player and they have players like Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri, David Silva and Yaya Toure would have assists and goals in their locker as well.
But the season is based on you performance, home and away, over 38 games. Manchester City look phenomenal at home but so far we have both played 16 games and we’re still 3 points clear of them. We have a chance to level the score at The Emirates in March, and while we suffered a heavy defeat, any win (even 1-0) would make things even.
2. Arsenal had less time to rest
We had to travel to Naples and had a tough game against a side that wanted to progress to the knockout stages. Manchester City meanwhile, played a day earlier against a team who had already qualified. We didn’t get a chance to train before travelling to Manchester and City came back from Europe with a home fixture. These things make a difference, and if yesterdays game was at The Emirates, then you can bet it was a different game.
3. Arsenal are “not negative enough”
If Arsene Wenger has a weakness it’s that in every game (Napoli aside), he will try and play for the win.
Any other manager yesterday would have played Arteta and Flamini in the middle and tried to keep the game tight. We’ve already seen Jose Mourinho, against a weaker United side at Old Trafford, park the bus this season. We knew that Manchester City would play attacking football in their own back yard and instead of playing a tight game like we did in Dortmund, we went toe-to-toe with City and tried to score goals.
We scored 3 goals at The Etihad Stadium and the only other side to do the same this season was Bayern Munich. We allowed the game to be wide open with our approach and you can’t deny that the goals we conceded were sloppy. Unfortunately the potential to increase our lead at the top of the league was too tempting for Arsene to pass up and we ended up going into the game with the wrong approach.
4. It was a bad day at the office
There was no doubt that the performance from some of the players was below par but over the 16 games in the Premier League and the 6 games in Europe, overall, we’ve been excellent. We played poorly against Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City and lost. But that only gives us 3 defeats in the league so far and that’s the same amount as Chelsea and Liverpool, and less than Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. Hotspur. The only team to have fewer defeats is Everton, although we are still 4 points clear of them.
5. We were unlucky and didn’t get any decisions from the referee
If you are going to get any kind of result against Manchester City away, then you need a couple of decisions go your way and it’s safe to say we got absolutely nothing yesterday. Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud had goals disallowed for offsides that never were, we had a lot of harsh decisions go against us and when it came to taking chances, we just couldn’t go it. Olivier Giroud had a golden chance to score from a fantastic Bacary Sagna cross but he flashed his header wide of the post. Of course, City had chances they didn’t take as well but with a bit more luck, we could have scored more and conceded less.