WOW! That was a sweet victory and an awesome performance by Arsenal. Sweet because we beat them in their own backyard and awesome because we did it in style. We went out there to prove a point and we did it in an emphatic fashion.
The start to the game was crazy. City had a sniff on goal in the opening minutes. Tevez from the right side crossed in the ball which was flicked cleverly by Silva towards goal but was brilliantly saved by Fabianski. A moment later we were breached again down the same flank. At the other end Arshavin was caught just offside when Fabregas passed the ball through. The big moment of the game came when Fabregas picked up Chamakh this time with his through pass and he was brought down by Boyata. A straight red card as he was the last man and it was a goal scoring opportunity, correct decision by the ref.
Many anti-arsenal folks will jump to this moment and say it made it easy for Arsenal and this and that. Not considering that we still had to win the match which we did. The game changed after this as Man city reorganized their team with Yaya Toure moving back to cover for Boyata. We continued to look for the opening goal as the following minutes led to a few players getting booked.
The goal came at the right moment for us as we looked a bit vulnerable at the back. Nasri and Arshavin exchanged a one-two and Nasri slotted the ball home. We looked settled after the goal but still the match was anybodies. Richards came close to equalize for City but his shot was just wide. We should have got some breathing space at the end of the first half when we were awarded a penalty. Fabregas was brought down by Kompany in the box and he stood up to take it. Joe hart kept city in the match by making a good save on the penalty. The first half ended with the score line one nil to us.
We started the second half in control as we passed the ball around well and looked for openings. Fabregas had a week shot on goal which was saved by Hart and we had another chance to double our lead. But no one was willing to take the shot and the chance was gone.
Our control of the game was marred by a few good scoring chances created by City. The most notable one was Silvas’s shot from the right. They were trying to move the ball from the sides and exploiting Clichy’s flank the most. Still every time they broke our defenders, Fabianski would step up and deny them.
We finally got our breathing space when Song smashed the ball into the back of the net. Arshavin crossed the ball towards Nasri who passed it onto Fabregas. Fabregas delivered the ball through to Chamakh but it was deflected towards Song by the City defenders who made no mistake with the opportunity.
The goal clearly left the City players deflated. We continued with our keep-the-ball play and City were just chasing shadows. We created a few scoring opportunities but the third goal didn’t come till late on. Arshavin, Fabregas and Chamakh were all substituted. Bendtner scored the third goal for us when he was released by Nasri late on in the game. It was a cool finish by him as it was game set match. City looked for a consolation goal but Fabianski and our defenders did enough to keep a clean sheet.
There are many positives to take from this match. Fabianski now looks the real deal as he put on another great display. Our whole team worked really well throughout the match. Our midfield today was top class. Fabregas always found the right pass and Song and Denilson did well to support him. They all covered each other very nicely. Nasri is turning into a world class player for sure as he was brilliant today. We kept a clean sheet after a long time which was a nice change.
The only concern though is the defence. Sagna and Squillaci did well in defence today though Djourou and Clichy looked vulnerable at times. They both were caught out of position and the City players exploited it a lot.
Coming to ratings:
Fabianski: Fantastic match for him. Saved all scoring chances created by City. Faultless I would say and he was commanding in his area today. 8
Sagna: Kept his side well guarded. Made a few good clearances. Was poor on his crosses though except a few good ones. 7
Squillaci: Good solid performance by him. His poisioning was quite good as compared to Djourou’s. 7
Djourou: He looked vulnerable throughout the match. He was caught out of position a few times and his reading of the game is not good. Cleared the long balls well though. 5.5
Clichy: Again his flank was breached the most as he was also caught out of position many times. His crosses were poor. Though in one-on-one situations he was better. 6.5
Song: Scored a goal, was good in going forward and decent at the back. Committed few fouls but settled in well in the second half. 7.5
Fabregas: Again an effective performance. Picked the right pass and was always a threat. Dropped deep to cover for Song and kept the midfield ticking. Missed a penalty though. 7.5
Denilson: Kept it simple and worked hard. Did well to cover when Song would move forward. 7
Nasri: Another great performance by the Frenchman. He was everywhere on the pitch. Scored the opening goal and provided the assist on the last one. MOTM. 8.5
Chamakh: Worked hard for the team again. Good work rate as he moved around the pitch. He backtracked a lot and made some good interceptions. 7
Arshavin: Improved performance by him. Provided the assist on the first goal. He was even back tracking today which was good to see. 7
Rosicky (7) provided more control in the midfield and helped us keep the ball well. Bendtner scored a beauty when he came on otherwise he and Walcott didn’t have much time to make an impact. No ratings for them.
Stats via @Orbinho
Man City v Arsenal
On Target 4-7
Passing accuracy 77%-90%
It is a massive result for us as we move to second place on goal difference ahead of Man city and Man Utd. Next up is the Carling Cup tie and already looking forward to it.