Monday, February 04, 2008

City 1 Arsenal 3

One thing you cannot afford to do against teams with the quality and potential to hurt you as much Arsenal, is to be careless in possession and make basic mistakes.

And whilst we came back into the game, the way we started the game and that we allowed Arsenal to jump out to a 2-0 lead so early made the game all but over.

Whilst we had a great chance early from Elano's delightful through ball which just evaded Stephen Ireland offside beating run, Arsenal were serving notice through some neat one touch passing, and so it was that Arsenal went ahead early through Adebayor although we did contribute to our downfall as Petrov was too slow in tracking back, Ball was beaten far too easily down the flank and to compound matters Adebayor was given far too much room in the penalty area and hit past Hart to make it 1-0.

Petrov was a good attacking option but again on a couple of occasions his driving runs stalled because of a lack of support in the attacking zones, and on the quarter mark of the game it was 2-0. Arsenal were afforded far too much space down the left hand side and Clichy swung a cross in that Adebayor headed down to set Eduardo who (although appearing slightly offside) executed the finish on the turn with a perfect technique.

In his post match interview, Sven once again lamented the slow start we made and that we had conceded 'soft goals' to put Arsenal firmly in the driving seat, and it is true that we are not a side generally built to come from behind so do put ourselves in a hole by going behind so early a game.

One thing which was noticeable throughout the game was the way that Dunne and Richards lost out in so many headed challenges - something which rarely (if ever) has occurred, and praise must go to Emmanuel Adebayor who looks a real player and is flourishing with the added responsibility since Thierry Henry's departure.

To credit us, we came back well into the game and got back into the contest, courtesy of some slack play from Gael Clichy, who allowed himself to be robbed by Corluka who showed good composure to find an advancing Gelson, who hit home well to reduce the arrears.

We were better in the second half and in the game far me, but I did feel that Arsenal controlled it for the most part and to me look as though they have a battling quality about them and will definitely be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

Whilst there can be positives to take from the game, one thing which was apparant was that despite the great strides we have made this season, we are some way off the top three in terms of real quality and the ability to put together consistent displays and runs to accumulate the necessary points to challenge Arsenal, United and Chelsea.

One thing which has to be appreciated though is the age of the squad, and we really must be one of the youngest squads in the Premier League, and whilst the play has at times been fantastic this season, it is only realistic to expect some growing pains along the way. Don't forget also, in some ways Sven is sill getting to know the squad and player and this season in many respects is one of transition and whilst there are one or two grumblings from the terraces at present, it is easy to forget just how far we have progressed over the last six months, and the potential that this squad has is something to savour as we look ahead.

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if our players look at the performance of Adebyour. Twice he was hacked by Elano in the last minutes and twice he picked himself up and got on with it, turned up on the penalty spot and scored. How refreshing. Could you ever imagine a City player doing that?

Anonymous said...

Yeas I could see a city player do that.............. next sunday.

Anonymous said...

I think all you are missing is a striker who can play on his own. I heard some idiot pundits asking why City werent in for they watch football? Playing Defoe will mean you need a partner next to him, pushing Elano further back blunting his effectiveness. Granted he hasnt recaptured his early form since injury but a classy player should always play as close to the opposition goal as possible. I understand why you went for Benjani, but I think you got a lucky escape...with your money you can buy someone alot better.

Hope you do us another favour on Sunday

Anonymous said...

City is a good team which will only get better. In sven you got a manager who has seen most of the things in his career. Ideal man for your club. If you get behind your team well enough, you will stuff United next week. Good luck

Anonymous said...

Good luck next week, and although I'm an Arsenal fan and am wishing you good luck for my own reasons, it must also be said that since Sven has been in the drivers seat MC have been playing a very different and attractive football. You defenitely deserve a top four spot over Liverpool who for me, should be very happy if they make UEFA this year.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what game you were watching but we were never in this contest. Arsenal outplayed us in every area and you always felt that if they stepped up a gear they could've scored 5 or 6. The improvement you say you saw in the 2nd half resulted in how many chances exactly? I hear Benjani has signed and we need him for Sunday.

Danny Pugsley said...

I do think the Arsenal view is being a little generous to us here, but interesting point re Defoe.

I've had a couple of emails asking why we didn't sign Defoe, and the reason one of the postersgave is spot on. Defoe in a 4-5-1 would be more ineffective than we currently are, and he really does need a strong second striker to do a lot of the work for him - not withstanding the fact Sven does not appear to rate him.

Regardless of the Benjani deal, I think we made the right decision in not pursuing Defoe.

Anonymous said...

Yes - generous comments from the Arsenal boys. I was listening on 5-Live for the first 20 minutes, and one of Graham Taylor's comments was that "City seem to be falling back and surrendering the midfield - something I would only have expected to se from a top team against one from the bottom"

I watched the match later on MOTD, and (sticks in my throat to say it), but Turniphead was quite right. That was exactly how it looked. Was it the players who didn't wake up till they were two goals down? Or was it the initial plan that was wrong and it only came right when Sven switched to 4-3-3 as a damage limitation exercise? Sorry, but I'm a cynic - why let the players take the blame?