Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

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Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Jay29 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:33 pm

This performance? Save it. Next big game that comes about, load it up, plug 'n play. This is how you get results in the big games away from home.

No matter how many good attackers you have or how confident you are in possession, you cannot go into these games playing open, attacking football, with the mindset that you can outplay or outscore the opposition. We found this out the hard way last year. Unless you have a team with amazing quality, you have to respect the opposition and the threat they possess. If that means compromising on some principles and doing things you wouldn't usually then so be it. It's just for one week.

It seems that has finally sunk in. Arsenal came to defend and to nick a goal. They weren't concerned about keeping the ball and playing their usual game. The shape was 4-1-4-1, they sat deep in their half, let certain City players - Fernandinho, Fernando, Clichy and Zabaleta - have the ball while closing off the space that the likes of Silva and Aguero like to play in. City had 60% of the ball but at no point did it look like they were dominant. They weren't getting in behind, nor were they dragging our players out shape. Arsenal were too disciplined.

On the break, they carried a threat. The pace of Alexis, Chamberlain and Bellerin, backed up by Cazorla's retention and clever use of the ball, created some encouraging moments on the break. A better final ball might have seen us take the lead earlier. Despite that, being able to counter effectively enabled us to get the ball up the pitch and relieve the pressure on the defence. It's a very important part of this sort of gameplan.

The tactics were spot on. Silva barely influenced the game, and their main threat came from Navas down the right flank - Milner was anonymous on the other side - but we were comfortable defending balls into the box. City were unable to penetrate us down the middle. We used the ball when we went forward, won the penalty and took the lead. That lead helps immensley as it gives you something to hold onto. If the players weren't determined to keep City out before they were after that goal.

The start of the second half was more open. City played with more pace and got in down our left hand side a few too many times, but we dug in and limited the number of shots they could take on our goal. Then, we continued to carry the ball forward well. There were very times that we were pinned into our own half, incapable of getting out. That helped us win the free-kick that gave us the two goal cushion. At 2-0, I didn't feel like we would lose, because the defending was so good.

This performance has stunned everybody. We're used to seeing Arsenal expose their own players, not give them enough protection, fly forward without regard to closing the door behind them. Tonight it was completely different. Everybody played that part and protected each other. Bellerin was a potential weak-link but was never exposed. Coquelin could have been a weak-link but was never exposed. And this was with players you don't normally associate with the "dirty" side of game. Guys like Ramsey, Cazorla and Chamberlain put in a huge shift and played with discipline. It puts the myth that "Arsneal just can't play that way" to bed. Anybody can play that way. You just need the discipline and willingness to do so.

The player that embodied the whole performance was Cazorla. He sat in and defended when he needed to. He helped his teammates when he needed to do. City were incapable of getting the ball off him when he went forward. His passing was spot on with a 92% pass accuracy. A goal, and an assist. Simply a phenomenal performance.

We controlled the game, but in a different way. When we play the lesser sides, we can go back to the attacking and the possession, but in these sorts of games, this is how to play.

Now let's we can build on this. Next week we go to Brighton for the FA Cup, which will be an opportunity to rest Cazorla and Alexis and give Ozil and Walcott some much needed game time. After that, we've got two kind looking home games against Villa and Leicester, balanced out by two tough away games against Spurs and Palace. Hopefully we'll take a lot of confidence from today's win, put a good run together and end the season strongly.


Last edited by GoonerJay29 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Sri on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:45 pm

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by El Gunner on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:49 pm

Maybe this is why Wenger introduced the 4-1-4-1 at the start of the season.
For games like these
Finally weaping reward hmm

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Sri on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:54 pm

I'm not comfortable with the 4-1-4-1 yet. Maybe a few more performances to show that we can do it consistently hmm
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by MJ on Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:38 pm

Jay's got it spot on.

Unless you have the ideal squad (especially if you have more than 2 CBs) you have to make some compromises with the better teams. And that goes for probably 5 games a season max so it's not like we'd be betraying our philosophy. We'd actually be doing it justice by playing possession-based play when we're capable of doing it rather than having it butchered when we could set up differently.

Hope this is proof that you can teach old dogs new tricks and that Wenger has learned that we can play this way.


Last edited by MJ on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Raptorgunner on Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:45 pm

Fantastic performance, the players and Wenger really changed their game finally showed what the team is capable of. You see how well we play when we have a plan B? Francis Coquelin you beast. Cool

Wenger brilliant tactics, hoping for more of this. :bow:

I heard Aguero is still in Koscielny pockets and Many City have sent a Private plane to pick him up in London.

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Shed on Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:48 pm

Big Bird doing a favour for his old pal José Proud
-

What a guy Molenation

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Sri on Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:50 pm

Still some way to go this season mate, don't count them chickens too early.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by djoe26 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:00 pm

Great team performance. Cazorla was the show stealer but Coq and Giroud had a good game too.

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Shed on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:17 pm

srigooner wrote:Still some way to go this season mate, don't count them chickens too early.


I said did a favour for, not handed the title to Laughing


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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by RealGunner on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:19 pm

Who is Big Bird hmm
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Shed on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:35 pm

The guy you a few months ago wanted out :coffee:

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by RealGunner on Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:50 pm

About the match then

Think it was one of our best performance in recent times. Whole team played really well. Arsene set up the team exactly the way we should in a big game. Tactically we were a cut above City. 4-1-4-1 finally came through.

We finally won a big game away. :bow:

I don't know what this means for the future. Will wenger stick to this?

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Katy Perry on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:16 pm

How does this match change your expectation for the season? You're 13 points below us, make it 10 as you'll walk against us at the Emirates, with 16 games to go so maybe it's too late for contending the PL, but do you think Arsenal can improve last's season 4th spot and CL run and retain the FA Cup?
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by RealGunner on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:19 pm

Changes nothing till we go on a 10 match unbeaten run or something. Which is impossible. We haven't even won 3 in a row yet.

We'll still fight for 4th or 3rd after this as we were before this.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by MJ on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:23 pm

Whatever happens, winning arguably the biggest away game of the season is an improvement over losing it 6-3.

2nd and 3rd are still there btw.

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Peccadillo on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:31 pm

He hasn't turned a new leaf, same old Wenger and I'm willing to put some faith into him picking some heads up and silencing the WOB for the second half of this season.

Great game - feels like a massive weight lifted off shoulders winning a big game away, and so emphatically like that.

@ Katy - we wont win the title. anything above fourth will be a step in the right direction Smile but FA cup would be nice. We can also dare to dream of the CL. I've seen worse sides win it.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Jay29 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:37 pm

Realistically, 3rd is the best we can hope for as I can't see City dropping another nine points and us making that ground up at this stage. The focus must be on getting ahead of Man Utd and Southampton.

3rd place, CL quarter-finals and the FA Cup would be decent given what a crap first half of the season we've had.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by MJ on Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:44 pm

Well City play Chelsea away while we have Villa at home, that would make it 5 points with a loss and a win respectively.

But as you say, we need to get our own act together in terms of consistently showing up, going on a run at some point, before we can think about that.

Retaining the FA Cup would be great.

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Sri on Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:54 am

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This was an important win because we haven't performed away from home in four years now. And we did it with a tactically astute and disciplined performance - not a flukey flash in the pan. It's a massive boost for the lads, knowing that they are capable of it. If we can continue this, we would be much more confident of going to OT or the Bridge too. Our game at OT is the second last of the season iirc, could be a MASSIVE one, if we don't fix third place before that.

As Wenger would say, let's take it one game at a time. Winning 3 in a row would be a start ffs.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by SamuelJayC on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:47 am

Great work Jay.

Our best team performance in a very, very long time. We needed to prove that we could win away to a major side, keeping a clean sheet and showing defensive and offensive qualities, and we did it. Our first League win away to the Premier League champions since Wiltord in 2002, incredibly.

Coquelin, Cazorla and Bellerin were fantastic. Ospina's ability in the air is questionable but it would be wrong to drop him for Szczesny after recent events.

When you see us play like this, it's a great frustration that we aren't higher in the league.

We will fight for 3rd place, which is definitely up for grabs. Hopefully we can add a defender to the addition of Bielik and get the likes of Wilshere and Welbeck back and push on to have a strong second half of the season.
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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Raptorgunner on Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:12 pm


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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Hapless_Hans on Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:52 pm

well, you were 'tactically astute' in that you sat back in an top away game, instead of running forward, but it's not like that was guaranteed to succeed or like Wenger genially outfoxed Pellegrini.

City were really putting the pressure on you until the goal, and though you defended well it's arguable they would have scored sooner rather than later, hadn't you received a soft penalty on your first meaningful attacking move.
That changed the game and City don't have the character to stay consistent after a set back, apparently. Not with the profoundly mediocre midfield they were fielding anyway.

So yeah, good win, I know you're all enthusiastic as you rarely win those games, but it's not like that was otherworldly.
A soft penalty and a header from a incredibly poorly defended freekick.

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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Raptorgunner on Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:59 pm

It usually the other way around for us, give up a soft penalty and players get frustrated and up giving up more goals. I hope Wenger took notes, when you frustrate the other side how easy it is to score goals and control the game.

We had many players out and it was great to win with Ozil and Theo on bench. Proud



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Re: Manchester City 0 - 2 Arsenal

Post by Sri on Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:02 pm

1. It was a very disciplined performance where the flaws of weak links like Bellerin and Coquelin were covered by the players around them.
2. It was tactically spot on. Instead of playing gung-ho Wengerball, we snuffed out City attacks and decimated the threat posed by Silva and Aguero - they barely saw the ball in the final third. The spaces where they operated were shut down completely. That is tactics. Pellegrini was forced into switching to a 4-4-2 at half time, they had an inital advantage, which we rallied and nullified about 10 minutes into the second half.
3. It was a penalty that even a sunday league would have given. You can't block a players run inside the box in today's game. Defending 101.
4. We did have shots before the penalty. It may not stick in memory, given that we were set up to defend and attack on the counter. The only time City really threatened us in the first half was the opening 3 minutes with runs down the flanks, before we shut them off.

Credit where it is due :coffee:

And I am not entirely sure if you were watching the game in the first place, if that post reflects your most informed opinion Laughing
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