Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City Match Report
Arsenal continued their unbeaten start to the season and ruined Manchester City’s perfect record with a thrilling 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium. Robin van Persie had a penalty saved by the surprisingly excellent Kasper Schmeichel but it did not prove to be costly for Arsenal as Cesc Fabregas hammered home the winning goal in the 80th minute. Manager Arsene Wenger was absolutely delighted with the manner of his side’s hard-fought win which leaves Arsenal just three points off the top of the table with a game in hand.
“We won in the last seconds at Fulham, we scored a second goal at Prague in the dying moments, we missed a penalty and still won the game here. That is a recognition of what is going on in this team and how we are progressing.”
Arsenal were forced to call upon Gilberto Silva to play his first game of the season at centre-back after Philippe Senderos injured his ankle in the warm-up. Emmanuel Adebayor was recalled to the starting team to support van Persie up front in the place of Eduardo da Silva whilst the midfield quartet consisted of Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb as well as Tomas Rosicky, who returned from injury. However, a reshuffle was in order when right-back Bacary Sagna injured his back in a collision with teammate Flamini and was forced off in the 25th minute to be replaced by Denilson. Flamini moved into Sagna’s position at right-back and Denilson slotted into the centre of the park to support Fabregas.
Three points and two injuries
Unfortunately I was unable to watch the game – due to a dodgy Sopcast stream – and had to make do with the audio commentary provided by Arsenal TV Online. Whilst the commentary was surprisingly good in terms of getting me involved emotionally in the game it hasn’t really provided me with enough insight into Arsenal’s performance to give a fair assessment of the game. Instead, I’ve decided to run through the positives and negatives of the result and some of the key incidences in the match. If you’re after a very detailed analysis of the match I encourage you to check out the one by Goodplaya – it comes highly recommended.
- A win’s a win– The win was a great result for Arsenal and maintains their unbeaten start to the season. As I mentioned earlier, with the club trailing Chelsea by just 3 points and with a game in hand, the platform has been set for Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title.
- Clean sheet for Almunia– It is not often that Arsenal score first at Emirates Stadium and the patch-up defence must be credited with keeping Manchester City at bay and paving the way for Fabregas’ winner. It was great to see Almunia keep a clean sheet in his first game oh his spell in goals and by all accounts his performance was faultless.
- Another goal for Fabregas – Last season Fabregas was accused no end for failing to score enough goals in the Premiership. It is great to see him get off the mark in the Premier League and score his second goal of the season in all competitions. Arsenal will hope for more accomplished finishes from the Spaniard after his fine strike in this game.
- Fresh injuries – Injuries to Senderos and Sagna mean that Arsenal are incredibly thin at the back. With Djourou still out on loan it means that Gilberto will need to fill in for Senderos for the time being. The extent of Sagna’s injury is unknown at this stage but with Emmanuel Eboue already out injured it would mean either Flamini or Justin Hoyte will be required to play at right-back. If Arsenal weren’t quite suffering from an injury crisis before the match, they certainly are now.
- Van Persie’s miss – There will be many people hoping that van Persie won’t take another penalty kick after his attempt was saved by Schmeichel. Personally, I am happy to see van Persie continue as Arsenal’s designated kicker, but the effect this miss might have on his confidence is an issue that Wenger will have to take into consideration.
Anyway, that’s all I feel confident commenting on. If you have further comments to make about the match such as who played well, who missed what chances then I encourage you to voice your opinions. Hopefully the Sopcast stream will be a little bit friendlier to me next weekend. To summarise, three points against a very decent Manchester City side means Arsenal have seven points from their opening three matches – a 700% increase from last season and despite the injuries, I think that’s a pretty good start.
What do you think?
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