Arsenal 2-2 Man City
First of all, what a game. The early kick off this Saturday served up a real treat as City looked to avenge their disastrous showing the last time these two sides met in this seasons Charity Shield. Second of all, I think we just witnessed one of the worst refereeing performance this prestigious league has ever seen. Ok well perhaps that was an exaggeration but Mark Clattenburg was horrendous today. Someone needs to introduce him to the word consistency and perhaps remind him that diving is in fact outlawed in this league and punished with a yellow card.
Not to deter from what was a wonderful game in which a draw was probably a fair result; although City had the best chances late on to snatch all three points. Arsenal came out the traps all guns blazing (pun well and truly intended) and you won’t find many City fans that would argue Sergio Aguero’s opener came against the run of play. Although City got a grip of the game they never looked like blowing Arsenal away and that’s credit to the Arsenal midfield who stood up strong to a powerful, all be it weakened, Man City midfield. The low centre of gravity that these Arsenal players boast is ridiculous and how City finished with 11 men on the pitch I’ll never know. Especially given Clattenburg’s evident desire to to wave his yellow card aimlessly at anyone wearing a blue shirt. Ramsey, Wilshere and Sanchez were twisting and turning so much poor Frank Lampard had to be given a break at half-time just so he had time to figure out what had just happened to him.
The highlight of the game will undoubtedly be Alexis Sanchez’s sublime volley which fired Arsenal into a second half lead. Performance wise there were a few stand out players for each team. Jack Wilshere had a cracking game in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield whilst Sanchez continues to improve, unlike Mesut Ozil who again went missing in a big game. For City, Jesus Navas was phenomenal down the right hand side and Fernandinho ran through pretty much everything in his path for the cause.
There were two performances today that I’d like to think will have left England manager Roy Hodgson gushing with excitement. England’s new diamond midfield is missing a decent defensive midfielder and if Hodgson has any sense he will be looking at today’s game thinking he has found one. James Milner was moved into a central midfield role at half time and he produced a vintage, tireless performance breaking play up and playing the simple pass. Hodgson should also have seen how effective Jack Whilshere can be in his new diamond midfield. Whilshere was pretty poor against Switzerland in the holding role, his natural came is to run with the ball and drive at defences and he showed that today. He caused City no end of problems going forward with some driving runs and delicate passes in the final third. His goal was a perfect example of why he needs to be further forward in future England team selections.
Pellegrini completely lost his rag in his post-match presser, which is a rarity for the usually cool engineer. I think he might share my view on the performance of the today’s match referee. He will, however, be pleased his team managed to grab a point and to be honest so am I. City have a tough week ahead of them with a trip to Munich for their opening Champions League group game and then a home tie against Chelsea. Kompany, who was colossus today, will have his hands extremely full against goal machine Diego Costa who looks an absolute beast. All in all a fair result today and a result I’m pretty pleased with. We are yet to see the City of last season who scored over 100 Premier League goals but that team is still in there and it will be with us soon and with big games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea out the way, we can start our charge to a successful title defence.