Arsenal undone by defending against Man City

Arsenal 0 – 2 Man City report by KJ

Sorry for a late report on yesterday’s match. The Olympic opening ceremony had me a bit preoccupied and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world!

Onto the football, Arsenal played Man City yesterday in the Bird nest stadium (that which hosted the Beijing Olympics in 2008). There was a great atmosphere in the ground with the majority of the spectators being Arsenal fans. It’s great to know that our fan base spans all across the world and this should do wonders for our commercial revenue.

The match got underway with this starting line-up:

Fabianski

Jenkinson Bartley Vermaelan Gibbs

Song Arteta

Walcott Diaby Santos

Gervinho

It was quite an interesting line-up that predominantly relied on our experienced players. However, there was a couple of players that we generally never see in Bartley, Jenkinson and of course, Diaby.

We looked again quite rusty as our passing wasn’t very crisp. The football was end to end stuff and was quite entertaining knowing that nothing was actually on the line. We managed to get quite a few shots away ourselves and were holding our own against a  Man City team with Kompany, Yaya, Tevez and Aguero.

Unfortunately, the first team to break the deadlock was Man City with a nice shot across the face of goal from Pablo Zabaleta. I was quite impressed with Man City’s counter-attacking as they’d easily have 4 people across the line of goal when they attack.

However, on this occasion, the goal wasn’t down to great attacking play but rather a lapse in concentration by Jenkinson. We were initiating an attack of our own before making a misplayed pass. As a result, Man City were able to counter and Jenkinson was easily beaten. This was ,unfortunately, a feature for the majority of the time he was on. He was getting skinned by the likes of Kolorov and Tevez/Aguero.

The next goal was another one of the easy variety. Almost straight after kick off, Man City got their second. Some quick passing between their players before a cross was fumbled into the back of the net by Yaya Toure. Again it was another goal that wasn’t down to good football but bad defending. We just seem so incoherent at the back sometimes. We must note that we had two defenders that will generally never see play against a Man City front line in Jenkinson and Bartley. Hopefully when that match comes, we’ll have both Koscielny and Sagna to steady our defence as it clearly needs it.

Eventually, the second half came along with a number of changes to Arsenal’s 11 including the likes of Chamberlain, Miquel, Coquelin, Eisfeld and a few other youngsters coming onto the pitch. Things started to freshen up quite a bit with Oxlade-Chamberlain being the orchestrator. He really is a class act.

In terms of the attacking football, I was impressed by the players for using long range shots for once. It really troubled City and, if it wasn’t for the heroics of Pantilimon, we could’ve easily drawn or won the match. Shooting from range is something that we need to do more often. It forces opposing teams to close us down and as a result, leaves massive spaces for our pace merchants to run into.

I am a tad worried for our defending. We had at least two starters in the back line and once again, we looked unorganised and nervous. We also had our first choice defensive and box to box midfielders in Song and Arteta. They both failed to aid the full backs and that cost us. In my opinion, there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the system. I don’t know what it is but I just feel that even if we signed M’Vila, Thaigo Silva and Kompany, we still would have troubles at the back.

All in all, the match went pretty well attacking wise but again defensive errors ruined what could have been a good game for the Gunners.

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