Arsenal deservedly sinks City’s hopes

In a game billed to be a must win for either side, footballing fans got the fireworks and one of the best and worst displays in football. Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners with over 60% of the possession, peppering the City goal with 13 shots (5 on target). City responded with no shot on target and a terrible classless act in the form of Mario Balotelli. In fact I think we did worse against QPR that was how poor City was.

Balotelli. This summed up his game.

Balotelli. This summed up his game.

Bad Boy Balo

It is sad that this game will be remembered more for Balotelli’s petulent behavior rather than the screamer from Arteta. Time and time again Balotelli put his studs up in high tackles. High tackles can be forgiven if the ball is up mid air but having your studs out is unforgivable. He did that not once but thrice. Song and Sagna were lucky not to be injured. I won’t say that Balotelli was trying to injure them but he was so ill disciplined his tackling was haphazardly atrocious.

I did not follow this player at all and this was the first game I saw him play. I fully understand why Mancini told him that he would punch Balotelli in the head everyday if he was his team mate. Go on, Mancini, man up and ship this ill disciplined baggage out of your club.

Football wise Balotelli was terrible in tracking back. I have no idea why he was employed as a wing man but his complete ill discipline in tracking back made things easy for Walcott and Sagna in the second half. Couple him with Clichy and you get the idea how much freedom Arsenal had.

Positives

The team was really up for it in the opening 20 minutes. City had hardly a sniff at the ball. We should have been one nil up if TV5 had not inadvertently cleared RVP’s goal bound header off the line. City was more or less cooped up in their final third. Rosicky, Arteta, Benny and Song were holding the ball well and threading passes with ease. They were winning loose balls as well. A sign of good things to come is when you team wins the 50-50s.

RVP was trying hard falling back as City packed the box. He had a few good touches to release his team mates but Kompany was marshaling him well.

Benny had a tireless work rate. It’s a pity his final ball or shot was often too weak after all the twisting and turning to get the ball into the box. Easily one of the most hardworking players in the team.

Arteta played the usual tidying up role. An important cog in the Arsenal midfield this season.

Kosc kept things tidy behind. It was a pity he got a yellow that will put him out against Wolves and Wigan. He has been more consistent than TV5 recently.

Arteta’s long range missile was not much of a surprise. He did it few times against Aston Villa netting our third there. This guy has put in multiple long range strikes for Everton as well. Due to his role at Arsenal he has had lesser freedom going forward (ironically unlike TV5).

Negatives

We shouldn’t bother crossing. I mean it was as good as kicking the ball out for a goal kick. Time again hopeful balls were crossed into a box straight at 3 City defenders and their ‘keeper. It was like they never looked up to see where they were crossing too.

TV5 did not have a good game. Besides being unable to get out of RVP’s way he went forward too often leaving the back exposed. It was fortunate that City was having a tremendous off day. Nasri was missing. City’s right wing wasn’t exploiting Gibbs (largely helped by Benny’s industry). Aguero had more offside calls than shots. Balotelli was making a complete fool of himself. TV5 went up even in normal play sometimes playing further ahead than RVP. If he likes to be a midfielder, AW should convert him into a DM. A CB going so far up (into the 6 yard box and it wasn’t even a corner or freekick) will be easily punished against more disciplined sides.

Song didn’t have a good game after 20mins. Routine mispasses and slips he was the weakest cog in the Arsenal midfield. Who knows, put him as an understudy to Arteta. Move TV5 into his place and let Kosc + Per play behind.

Ramsey seems to have lost some of his early season form. Young player so can’t really knock him on that. We won’t want to tire him out as well.

RVP is looking more and more frustrated as he has not scored for a few games. He lashed out at Ramsey for not picking him out. Good move though. That’s what I want to see from a captain – keeping his team in line.

Race for Third is Far From Over

This was a decisive win but the race is far from over. I want Arsenal to finish past Tottenham but I think that is still in tall order. We are going to play relegation threatened teams who will put up a bloody fight for survival. We’ve seen that against QPR. Wolves and Wigan might be trickier compared to City. We still have a home game against a rejuvenated Chelsea to boot.

Congratulations United

This win also more or less confirms United’s league title. They fully deserve it. One thing Ferguson has gotten right that no other manager has is the ability to rebuild his team. He has rebuilt his team thrice. Arsene has done it three times but was only able to produce two sides capable of winning titles and cups. United’s consistency is a class apart from the entire league this season. More experienced players at Arsenal will be able to answer that question.

‘A R T E T A!’

There is absolutely no question who was our best signing this season. As much as RVP and TV5 have formed the backbone of the offense and defense. It is Arteta that has kept the midfield in line.

Enjoy the win Gooners. You never know what might befall us next. Heh.



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