The apprentice still needs more time as Man City Crashed The Gunners Partey
The EPL returned this weekend after the international break with a very tight encounter between Manchester City and the Gunners. A familiar face returned to the Etihad stadium but this time, he was on the Arsenal bench as the Gunners’ manager. Mikel Arteta will be happy that his team wasn’t beaten extremely as compared to the last time they visited the Etihad.
Kelvin DeBruyne sat this one out after sustaining an injury while on international duty with Belgium. Sergio Aguero was involved for the first time this season after returning from an injury, while Raheem Sterling was the captain for the game.
For the Gunners, new signing Thomas Partey was left on the bench, as Arteta continued with his Xhaka-Ceballos midfield pairing while Nicholas Pepe was given his first EPL start of the season as Lacazette was dropped to the bench.
The first half was very tight, Man City pressing Arsenal deep in their own half. Riyad Mahrez tested Leno immediately in the first minute, but his curling shot couldn’t find the target. The first 20 minutes was unusually quiet considering the intensity of this fixture, but the deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute by Manchester City’s captain for the day, Raheem Sterling, who slotted into the net after Leno parried Phil Foden’s shot into his path. From then on, the game opened up as Arsenal came out to search for an equalizer. They would have gotten one through the youngster, Bukayo Saka who was handed a start after he drifted in from the left and fired a fierce shot at goal that was tipped over the bar by Ederson.
Saka went close to scoring again after combining well with Dani Ceballos but his placed shot came off Ederson for a corner kick. Moments later, Aubameyang should have scored from a tight angle but the offside flag went up anyways. Some minutes later, Nicholas Pepe headed wide from Willian’s cross. Arsenal felt they should have gotten a penalty late in the first half when Kyle Walker appeared to kick Pepe with a high foot from a corner kick in the Man City penalty box, but the referee blew the halftime whistle instead.
The second half was openly contested by both sides, with Arsenal notably getting more of the ball and possession. Pep Guardiola looked to shake things off a bit by bringing on Ilkay Gundogan for the rather quiet Aguero. It was in the closing stages of the second half that Arteta brought on Thomas Partey, but his contribution would count for less as City held on to see out the victory.
Arteta would take the positives of not conceding many goals in a game where Arsenal could have easily equalized. But he really needs to think about a formation that would get Arsenal ticking immediately. Next up for the Gunners is a Europa League clash on Thursday with Rapid Wien.
Until Then, COYG!!!
Match Review by Patrick Alexander