MAN CITY 0 – 3 Arsenal – MY THOUGHTS

25 Oct

It was just one of those days. They come along from time to time, but for the best sides, they appear on a rare occasion, so we must put this result behind us as a matter of urgency. At the risk of sounding awfully like a cliché, there were plenty of positives to take from the game, but we need to move on and remain optimistic, ready to brush aside our next opponents.

Arsenal, despite their recent trophyless seasons, are a class outfit, an absolute pleasure to watch from a neutral’s perspective in terms of the way they play their football. If you could name one side that you would not want to play when down to ten men, it’s likely that most people would name the Gunners. They have an irrepressible ability to keep the ball, tire opponents with their movement and are learning to apply the finishing touch to their majestic brilliance.

My good friend Roberto Mancini made a number of changes from the side that defeated Lech Poznan in midweek, with Emmanuel Adebayor, scorer of a hat-trick in that match, relegated to the bench against his former club. He was joined there by Wayne Bridge who was replaced by Micah Richards, whilst it was lovely to see summer signing Mario Balotelli on a Premier League squad sheet for the first time this season.

But the most controversial, and, in hindsight, foolish, of Mancini’s changes was the inclusion of young Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata at the expense of England international Joleon Lescott. Yes, it’s true that the former Everton man hasn’t exactly been rooting up trees with his performances of late, but his experience in a match such as this would have proved invaluable.

Boyata is an extremely promising player, and someone in whom Mancini has placed a great deal of trust. The centre-back has only made a handful of starts for City, but already he has faced Manchester United twice, games during which he superbly shackled Wayne Rooney, and Chelsea, as well as appearing regularly in European competition. He has always demonstrated great awareness and has impressed many an expert pundit. But Mancini’s gamble backfired spectacularly after only four minutes when Boyata was sent off for a reckless and naive challenge on Maroune Chamakh when the striker was bearing down on goal.

Despite the vehement protestations of many around me at the ground, the referee, Mark Clattenburg, got the decision spot on. What has been overshadowed through all the anger of the crowd, is the fact that Chamakh was allowed all the time and space in the world to cut through our defence and force Boyata into making the tackle. Surely our defence should have been tighter than that. One thing that really riled me at this point was the brandishing of a fake card by Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. He is a fantastic player but a nasty piece of work on the pitch and could have got sent off.

What was most pleasing from my point of view was the battling spirit we showed in face of such adversity. After the early departure of Boyata, Mancini reshuffled the pack, dropping Yaya Touré into defence, although the Italian settled on the idea of Jerome Boateng partnering Vincent Kompany and Gareth Barry at left-back as the half progressed. Against a side like Arsenal, who keep the ball so well, it needed a Herculean effort from the City players just to keep the score at a respectable distance and that’s exactly what happened and more.

Spaniard David Silva nearly opened the scoring within the first minute, his delectable backheel just being stopped by Fabianski in the Arsenal net. Micah Richards was next, his lung bursting run culminating in a rasping left-foot shot that narrowly curled wide, although he should have hit the target. In the second half, Manu Adebayor, who replaced the injured Tévez, should have done better with a header whilst David Silva was at the forefront of all our creative moments.

That failure to take chances cost us dear as the visitors took the lead through Samir Nasri after a sumptuous one-two on the edge of box to leave Gareth Barry trailing in his wake. Arsenal continued to press but were denied a second when Joe Hart superbly saved Cesc Fabregas’s penalty after a reckless Kompany challenge. They did however double their advantage midway through the second half through Alex Song, whose powerful effort found the top corner after a dreadful clearance from the liability that is Wayne Bridge. The scoreline was given a disrespectful look in the closing minutes when Danish striker, Nicklas Bendtner finished past Joe Hart to make it 3-0.

If I were to single out one City player who epitomised the battling spirit more than most, it would have to be the much maligned Micah Richards. Admittedly, I’m not his biggest fan, but the full-back produced a scintillating performance, complete with defensive bite and attacking verve. He was a tower of strength all afternoon, hurtling into tackles with the carefree abandon which has been lacking from his game recently. Going forward, he was powerful, holding off the attentions of Djourou before slicing wide, and then he terrorized Clichy later with an impressive. He does need to work on his final ball though, as he possesses not one iota of creativity, but if he produces more performances like this, he will be England’s first choice right-back in no time.

So overall, it was a disappointing loss, but one from which we will learn and hopefully improve. The atmosphere was fantastic, the spirit was there from the players and we will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

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35 Responses to “MAN CITY 0 – 3 Arsenal – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. REDORDEAD 25/10/2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Fair shout, the only thing I would disagree with is you’re view on Cesc being nasty he was getting hounded by the 3 in middle.

    GL for the season.

    RED,

  2. Bafc 25/10/2010 at 6:24 pm #

    As an Arsenal fan i have to say that I agree with most of what you’ve said and I do agree that Arsenal’s player were wrong to surround the referee before Boyata was red-carded. However, I think that Manchester City’s players would have done exactly the same in the circumstances and I would also say that you are harsh to call Fabregas a dirty piece of work on the the pitch when there were quite a few tasty tackles put in from both sides yesterday.
    However, as I said earlier, you are mostly spot on with your points

  3. Angel 25/10/2010 at 6:24 pm #

    As a Gunner and not a big fan of teams that buy their way towards success, I can still very much congratulate you on such well-written, reasonable analysis. I look forward for your take on the return match next year.

  4. Nice Gooner 25/10/2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Aaah how refreshing to read an unbiased, balanced and *realistic* blog from a non-gooner! Well done for being pragmatic, I agree with 99% of what you wrote. Thank you!

  5. elliot 25/10/2010 at 6:34 pm #

    cracking report mate, spot on in every way

    i thought the ref was spot on with every decision in the game and th abuse he was getting from the fans around me was disgraceful and over the top!

    keep it up!

    • Neil Hursthouse 25/10/2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Sorry Elliot. Clattenburg got the two key decisions correct (sending off and penalty) but he was far too fussy. Personally, I felt Arsenal disappointed in the first half and City deserved far more than they got. True that Arsenal keep the ball far better than any other team in the PL but (and maybe I’m just a bitter blue 😉 the sensationalism being reported in the press about their performance yesterday is somewhat premature. 11 v 11 would definitely have been far, far different (and would have been a fabulous spectacle too).

      • elliot 25/10/2010 at 11:26 pm #

        i would say he got pretty much every decision in the game correct, but thats just my opinion (plus i’m actually a ref!) so i try to look at the game objectively from that point of view!

  6. Adam 25/10/2010 at 6:36 pm #

    A certain irony in a fan of a team that includes De Jong, Richards and Kompany calling Fabregas a nasty piece of work. But then I suppose you could be having a joke. Surely Mancini cocked it up yesterday with a bizarre selection policy.

    • View From A Blue 25/10/2010 at 7:09 pm #

      Care to expand on why you have singled out Richards and Kompany as nasty pieces of work? I have watched them for a number of years now, and have no idea why you would have a go at them…

  7. caveat emptor 25/10/2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Gunner supporter here. My congratulations on a wonderfully balanced article. Such a rare thing for a football blog (though, given this is a sport, a lack of balance is no bad thing either).

    I too was disappointed by Fabregas waving a card, but disagree with your overall assessment of him. Having watched him a lot, I feel he is pretty much a model footballer in play as well as behavior. I think, and hope, that the action was an anomaly.

    Your team is looking very capable. I must admit to being very nervous prior to, and during the game. One test you will have to pass will be getting results when your best players (Tevez) are injured for a long run of games. More and more, it seems that winning the league requires either true depth or unusual luck (from an injury perspective).

    Best of luck with your blog.

  8. Nick 25/10/2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Fair piece, though not sure I agree with you about Richards. He let up on Nasri in the closing stages, relaxing to plead for a throw-in when the ball was on the line, and allowing him the space to find Bendtner.

    As a gunner fan, I was impressed with Silva, and what he brings to your team. He kept you dangerous after your real danger — Tevez — went off. With Tevez on the field and fit, City always have a chance to equalize.

  9. Patrick 25/10/2010 at 6:47 pm #

    as an Arsenal fan that has read and heard some of the comments about the game i must compliment you on an honest accurate balanced report, well done.

  10. ts 25/10/2010 at 6:48 pm #

    am an arsenal fan n i agree with most of the things you mention but about farigas did u see ur players srouding the ref to get the arsenal palyers booking, well what is the diffrent from wat fabrigas did even thought i hate any players doing that but to single out fabrigas is not fair

  11. Alf 25/10/2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Bollocks, the City players brandished imaginary cards all afternoon

  12. tg 25/10/2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Sorry Cesc unsportingly waved an imaginary card at the ref for Boyata’s obvious red. I hate seeing that from anyone, least of all from our best player. The lad can’t help it though. It’s his barca DNA 😉

    • ts 25/10/2010 at 6:53 pm #

      lol spot on

  13. RedandDread 25/10/2010 at 7:01 pm #

    As a Gooner, agree with everything said above. It’s easier to come on the oppo’s boards after a win but refreshing to see a well written and relatively objective piece.

    Many bloggers could learn from your journalistic honesty and objectivity.

  14. simon 25/10/2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Cesc – nasty piece of work?P!

    Did you not see De Jong take him down every time he could actually get close enough. Keep you own house in order first pal.

  15. rat 25/10/2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I really like this blog, always read it. But why must you always say ‘my good friend Roberto Mancini’ Every time, think of some new adjectives to describe him.

    I think we were unlucky, not because of the ref or anything but we fought hard and to be honest 3-0 flattered them

    • View From A Blue 25/10/2010 at 7:11 pm #

      Thanks rat. I always say that because, as explained when I was in the official matchday programme, I have a signature phrase each season that goes into every blog. And this year, on account of meeting our manager, it is that.

    • Mart 25/10/2010 at 10:27 pm #

      “I think we were unlucky, not because of the ref or anything but we fought hard and to be honest 3-0 flattered them”

      Not sure we were watching the same game.

  16. Ramgun 25/10/2010 at 7:12 pm #

    A fair report. I dislike the waving of imaginary cards and should, itself, be a yellow card offence. One thing missing from all of the reports that I have read is the incorrect offside decision when we (Arsenal) were through one-on-one at the start.
    It is impossible to know what would have happened with an eleven-a-side match. Both teams look good enough to finish between 2nd and 4th. Exactly where might be determined by injuries.
    With regard to the sending-off the referee has been given no choice by the powers that be. He would probably have been in trouble if he hadn’t given a red card. I think that as Chamakh had pushed the ball too far a yellow would have been fairer but that option is not available to refs at the moment.
    Finally, I am old enough to have seen the Mercer-Allison team in 1967/68 and a pleasure to watch they were. I particularly remember late in the season going to White Hart Lane and happily cheering Man City to a beautifully crafted 3-1 over the unmentionables from the wrong end of the Seven Sisters Road. Thanks to Malcolm Allison for his work with that City team.

  17. dave 25/10/2010 at 7:14 pm #

    gooner dave.i agree with everything you said.apart from fabregas.didnt like what he did,but thought he diserved a yellow.how refreshing to read a blog from a supporter who however gutted he is at losing,he can tell it how it happend.good luck mate apart from jan 5th

  18. 7masters 25/10/2010 at 7:17 pm #

    As A gunner I have to agree with you on many things, Except in Cesc Waving card behind referee back. I mean Citeh players would have done the same thing if the it was us. But I rather Cesc not to do that again it demeaning to watch no matter who does it. But then The referee waved 5 yellow cards on Arsenal directions which not only crippled us but made us very cautious. Citeh are goner be top team very soon and they just need to be more cynical at the other end. But what they cannot buy it experience and playing together for sometime.

    Watching the two teams it look we are now witnessing the end of era in top four order. I think Liverpool, Man United are goner end up outside top four these seasons. I doubt Chelsea would last long unless they bought replacement for their ageing squad and take time to gel them into there side. Arsenal have matured and ready to play there part, While Citeh are few months away from becoming the finished article. Also they are delight to watch football wise, No thuggish behaviour we expect from Man United whose players like Scholes, Flethcher are simply thugs but in scholes case he is also a complete midfield machine.

    New era is upon us and old order is goner be consigned to history book.

  19. Goonerist 25/10/2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Good piece and good luck with the rest of your season (except when you come down to our place of course).
    Thought you looked pretty good yesterday and had they had 11 men on the pitch would probably have pulled off a result.
    Agree that it was very disappointing to Fabregas waving the card about, but at the same time this kind of thing has become commonplace in the game, card waving or no card waving players always seem to crowd the ref these days to try and influence a decision, although it is pretty ugly when you see it done so brazenly!! Players always work the refs and linesman but I would prefer them to do it in a slightly more discreet way. Having said that I generally don’t think Fabregas is a nasty piece of work on the pitch. Nasty piece of work = Roy Keanes challenge of Haalaand all those years ago or Ian Wright’s attempt to break Schmeichal’s leg at Highbury one season and then pulling the race card when pulled up about it.

  20. The BearMan 25/10/2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Well presented and keenly observed to construct a balance view of yesterday’s game. Football is a game of luck, and many factors were in Arsenal’s favour yesterday. Compliment on our opponents yesterday, they fought with great might, although the deck was stacked against them after the early sending off.

    Perhaps Arsenal has done Man C’s next opponent a little favour, as your star player left the pitch worn out, and maybe injured. My team Arsenal needs to go on grinding results out and correct very quickly repeated mistakes. We have to remember it is not the final game of the season and we do have to entertain Man C at the Emirates along the way. No time for gloating, but to take some encouragement from yesterday and to regroup and build.

    Keep up the excellent work, keep writing. Very enjoyable! Gooners delight!

    keep up the beautiful

  21. J Nooris 25/10/2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Arsenal are one, if not the best passing side in Europe. You took your chance once we were down to 10 men, and eventually had us chasing shadows. The first 5 minutes however did suggest adifferent kind of game. We came straight out of the blocks and you were saved by a fantastic reflex from your goalkeeper.We are proud of our lads they way they still came after you and refused to bow their heads. 85 minutes with a man down eventually took its toll of us but like all good teams we have to bounce back immediately. For Arsenal the future is bright, young team, bags of talent. For us, I am very optimistic. I would not be surprised to see our teams dominate this league in years to come.

  22. Arsene 25/10/2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Hahaha

  23. matt dred 25/10/2010 at 8:59 pm #

    It does make me laugh when Man City fans refer to Arsenal “5 trophyless seasons” when a large porportion of city fans have never seen their club win a thing !!?? It’s almost as if you arrogantly assume that spending obscene amounts of cash immediatly elevates you from no where to a top club!! we shall see

  24. Mick 25/10/2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Every team surrounds the ref. Look at Stoke goading the ref to send off Nevile. Good report though.

    • Mart 25/10/2010 at 10:29 pm #

      “Every team surrounds the ref. Look at Stoke goading the ref to send off Nevile. Good report though.”

      And City players surrounding the ref following Djourou’s challenge (that led to the yellow). Hardly model pro’s either.

  25. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO!!! 26/10/2010 at 12:59 am #

    Fantastic, fair, stylish review Steven – very impressure and accurate – there is not much more for me to add to be honest. I think you sum up everything to perfection. If I can criticise in any small way, it would be about the wya you initially seem to slate Mancini for including Boyata….think you use the word ‘foolish’ in hidsight, but asking everyone outside the ground i think they’d prefer him than Lescott for sure?

    Oh and this did make my day and I want to see the word used in every article now – thats my challenge for you >>> “as he possesses not one iota of creativity”

  26. Oneofthesedays 26/10/2010 at 2:23 am #

    Nice report. Good luck with the rest of the season.

  27. oluwatobi motors 26/10/2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I think man city would have got something out of this game if not of the lazy english lads the gareth barry and james milner I would have prefered mancini playing adam johnson and silva together other than james milner on the wing and would have withdraw james when there was a red card

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