Manchester City came back from an early Arsenal opener to defeat the Gunners 2-1 at the Etihad
Theo Walcott opened the scoring after linking up with in-form striker Alexis Sanchez to neatly finish and put the Gunners ahead in the opening minutes of the game.
Leroy Sane then levelled the scores after a ball over the top but the striker appeared to be offside when he made his run.
Raheem Sterling then completed the comeback after a powerful shot from inside the area that Petr Cech allowed into his near post. The result means that the Gunners have now dropped into 4th place and are 9 points behind league leaders Chelsea. Manchester City have now jumped into 2nd with Liverpool still to play in tonight’s Merseyside derby.
Arsenal will not win the title with performances like this
We might only be 17 games into the Premier League season but Arsenal have shown the same soft underbelly that has destroyed their title hopes in previous seasons. The Gunners simply do not turn up when they need to and 2 straight losses against teams that they are capable of beating prove this.
Arsene Wenger’s men seem to wilt under any kind of real pressure, and when the going gets tough, the Gunners are gone. They are already 9 points off the pace now and it seems highly unlikely that they will be able to recover from this position, especially when they drop points in such a limp manner.
Mustafi a big miss
Shkodran Mustafi’s injury has been a huge blow to Arsenal and many predicted that this could be a big problem for Arsenal. This has been proven to be true with Arsenal losing both games since the defender picked up a hamstring injury.
Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny had formed a solid partnership at the back and his consistency has been missed in the last two games. Arsenal have conceded two soft goals in each of those games and while Gabriel Paulista can’t be directly blamed for those goals, it is clear that the Gunners defence is just not the same without the German international in it.
The defender cannot return soon enough and Arsene Wenger will be hoping he can stay fit for the rest of the season, especially with the spectre of Bayern Munich looming in the Champions League.
Manchester City still have weaknesses
The manner of Arsenal’s first goal will be worrying to Pep Guardiola. Manchester City’s defence seemed completely confused as Theo Walcott simply strolled into the box and was found all too easily by Alexis Sanchez. His finish left Claudio Bravo with no chance and City’s defence will be embarrassed at how easily Arsenal cut them apart.
Nicolas Otamendi and Pablo Zabaleta were woefully out of position for Arsenal’s opener and Otamendi in particular seemed completely oblivious to Theo Walcott’s run, only realising the Englishman had snuck in behind him once he turned around. Guardiola must address these issues if City want to continue to push for the title.
Arsene Wenger’s complaints might be valid, but bad luck is no excuse
After the game, Arsene Wenger said that both of City’s goals were offside. While the Frenchman may have been right about that, Arsenal cannot make excuses for their performance. The Gunners were simply not good enough, and with City still full of holes this term the Gunners could have easily taken advantage of them.
There is definitely the luck factor in any successful title challenge, but more than that there is determination, grit and an unwillingness to let bad luck stop a team from reaching their goals. The Gunners also looked utterly jaded with Mesut Ozil in particular having one of his worst games in an Arsenal jersey. Arsenal might have had some bad luck in the last two games but the Gunners need to be able to surmount odds like this if they want to be taken seriously.
Petr Cech should have done better with City’s winner
Petr Cech was beaten far too easily at his near post, and this is not the first time the Czech has conceded goals of this kind. Sterling’s shot was powerful and well placed, but the old adage that a goalkeeper should always save shots at the near post still stands. Cech got his positioning all wrong and City took the game as a result.
He is clearly not to blame for their victory, but a keeper with the experience and composure that he has should not be making mistakes like this. Cech has been solid for the Gunners but Arsene Wenger’s comments that Cech was frustrated with a lack of clean sheets should tell you everything you need to know.
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