Published on August 11th, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City – The City Nitty Gritty
“Not a great start, but a start nonetheless”
Written by Daniel Cheeseman
It might not have been the start we all wanted, but I see it as a start, nonetheless.
Many people see the Community Shield as an irrelevant game, but I still think a lot can be taken out of this match in order to move forward.
To sum up everything from my point of view, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the things that stood out to me (both positive and negative) throughout the course of the game:
It was a bit of a ‘thrown together’ team
Right from the word ‘go’ I thought the team looked disjointed, and a lot of the players seemed to be unsure of their role within the team.
I’ll admit, when I saw Nastasic and Boyata on the teamsheet, I immediately thought ‘this is an accident waiting to happen’. This is not me having a go at the pair’s defensive abilities, but more the fact they are both young centre-backs who up until yesterday had never really played together in defence – so it was almost certain that they were going to be exploited.
I also thought it was strange to play Gael Clichy at right-back, despite having Micah Richards available on the bench.
Even though Micah hasn’t performed to the same standards that he did a few seasons ago, I personally would have much preferred to start him, as it was very obvious that the French international looked uncomfortable playing on the wrong side of the field.
We were outnumbered in midfield
When Yaya Toure isn’t allowed to play football, it impacts the rest of the team. Arsenal played with 3 across the middle – Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta – and it wouldn’t have mattered who we would have played in our midfield, as they would have always been fighting a losing battle.
The game was crying out for structure and for someone to play ‘inbetween the lines’, which would allow players like Yaya Toure to press forward as well.
Once David Silva came on at half-time though, we began to regain control of possession and, despite conceding another goal, I thought we started to look a bit more ‘back to normal’.
We looked a week or two behind Arsenal in terms of fitness
Although both teams were still on the road to recovery after long pre-season tours, Arsenal seemed to be a lot more prepared.
I’m not sure why that is, but maybe it was more of a mental problem rather than a physical one.
Was it a lack of motivation from our part?
Did the fact that we played no English players make a difference in terms of not taking the game as seriously?
Maybe if Sinclair, Milner and/or Hart were playing they might have encouraged the team to take the game a bit more seriously, as they are more aware of the importance of winning the Community Shield is to the fans – but that’s just a hunch of mine!
We lacked pace throughout the field
Navas and Clichy were the only two players I could think of who had some real pace.
I thought we were very exposed at left-back, as Alexander Kolarov, a player who we all know loves to attack, had to defend against Arsenal’s latest signing Alexis Sanchez.
Even at the best of times it’s obvious that the Serbian struggles to contain pacey players, but when that player is Alexis Sanchez – a player who combines his lightning quick sprint speed with precise dribbling, it probably isn’t going to end well.
We were also missing the explosiveness of Sergio Aguero in attack.
My mouth has been watering for a while now in anticipation of seeing the little Argentinian team up with Stevan Jovetic in attack – as both have similar playing styles, but at the same time have plenty of different tricks up their sleeves.
However, although the addition of Sergio might have made a big difference on the day, it’s probably more important that he’s fit for the new season – hopefully we will get the chance to see the Aguero/Jovetic combination soon enough though!
Stevan Jovetic continues to impress
The Montenegrin international had a series of unfortunate injuries which prevented him from playing for the most part of last season, so despite officially joining the club in 2012 – it feels like we’ve got a new signing. I thought Stevan was our best player on the day, as he looked the most alert and was one of the only ones to pose a threat to Wojciech Szczęsny’s goal.
However, I thought that he was somewhat more restricted in his play than normal – as he was playing as a second striker alongside Edin Dzeko.
This is another reason why I thought we were outnumbered in midfield.
I noticed in glimpses of Jovetic’s play last season that he seems to be good at knicking the ball away from the opposition in dangerous positions, and a lot of the time that results in an effective counter-attack – so I think that we missed out by playing him in that position.
The 24-year-old seems most effective when he is allowed to roam freely about the field and play ‘inbetween the lines’ as a playmaker, as well as a top-quality goalscorer.
In summary of this summary – sure, it was disappointing, but in truth it wasn’t the real Manchester City that lost the game.
Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City sounds to the neutral like we are in utter turmoil, but we all know that the real Manchester City do not play until next week – so wait until then to make a proper judgement!