Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman1
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City | The City Nitty Gritty
“It could have gone better, but a draw’s a fair result”
As always, I went into the game against Arsenal fully expecting it to be a very difficult game, especially with it being at the Emirates, and seeing no Yaya Toure on the teamsheet inevitably made an already tough game a lot, lot tougher.
I could tell straight away that we were lacking that usual presence in midfield. The space between the strikers and holding midfielders was not occupied by the giant at the weekend, and it made a big difference.
That’s not to say that the Blues didn’t cope well without him though – as the fact that they still managed to score 2 goals and get a draw at one of our statistically worst away grounds is impressive to say the least.
However, I must say that Frank Lampard’s return to the Premier League was somewhat anticlimactic.
The former England captain has become a shadow of his former self, and you can now see why Manuel Pellegrini wasn’t as eager to give him some game time as everyone else was. I think the main problem is that he won’t be able to get over his loyalty for Chelsea soon enough to be able to make any sort of impact during his short time at City. He even said himself that he never expected to return to the Premier League once he had left chelsea, and it’s obvious that he is here just to play out the rest of his contract before he moves to New York.
As i’ve said in previous blogs, maybe we would have been better off signing David Villa on loan as opposed to Frank Lampard, as we could have done with a few more attacking options with the recent departure of Alvaro Negredo.
I was impressed with Jesus Navas’ performance on Saturday, he showed all the traits you’d want from a winger; pace, crossing, dribbling and he took full advantage of all the gaps that Arsenal left at the back while counter-attacking. His assist for the first goal was just as brilliant as Aguero’s finish.
I also thought it was one of our best defensive displays of the season. Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis and Clichy were all on point and made very few mistakes. It looks like even though Eliaquim Mangala was City’s most expensive signing of the Summer, I think he’ll find it a lot more difficult to get into the first team than initially thought, as Martin Demichelis keeps getting better and better.
The Argentinian, who has proved to be a vital part of City’s defence in recent months, scored an impressive header at a crucial point in Saturday’s game, and has since revealed that he would like to extend his contract with the Blues by another year.
However, I personally think that Wednesday’s Champions League game against Bayern is the perfect opportunity to give Eliaquim Mangala his City debut. The reason being that we can afford to lose that game and still progress through to the knockout stages, assuming we manage to win all our other games, so I personally would ‘save’ Demichelis for the slightly more important game against Chelsea at the weekend.
David Silva was once again instrumental in midfield. The little Spaniard dictated the play (as he always does), created a lot of great chances and (to everyone’s surprise) won a lot of 50:50 challenges in the air and on the ground. Overall, he was a general nuisance to Arsenal’s defenders.
Finally, about the referee – I’m not going to go on and on about whether his decisions were right or wrong, but I thought I’d give my brief verdict.
I would say that, on paper, they were probably fouls (with Jack Wilshere’s hand-ball being the most blatant of them) but I still think that Manuel Pellegrini overreacted in the post match interviews. Had it been the other way around, I don’t think that Pellegrini would have said the same thing (and the same goes for us fans), while there can definitely be questions asked on whether they were fouls or not, I don’t think that they were as certain as everyone seems to be making them out to be.
In summary, I would say that both teams had chances which they really should have taken (or at least done better with) and a draw was a fair reflection of the game overall.
The next match sees City face Bayern Munich once again in the UEFA Champions League at the Allianz Arena, the same ground and fixture where last year we came from behind to win 3-2.
Who knows what’ll happen in this week’s games, and I’m not going to try and predict them like some of these ‘hotshot’ Sky pundits like to do, instead I’m going to just take it as it comes and watch the game, and team, that I love!
City ’til I die!