Tactical review Man City v Arsenal


I wanted to cover all the games this season but I’m too far behind now so I’ll jump to our 6-3 defeat at City. It is a good game to look at because we lost, were playing a top side and were beaten on the ground, largely in open play. Lets go. I’m going to try a slightly more active style this article, it’ll help me get through games quicker. If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to the old style.


1st half:

After 5 minutes we haven’t touched the ball yet. City camped in our half. Neat interplay between the front 2 for City. Szcz needs to probably calm down a little, babysitting Monreal – Giroud telling him to calm down.

Excellent passage of play between 5 and 12 minutes. We’ve got the ball and have played in City’s half. Theo’s making great runs and we’re finding him. Wilshere had a dreadful cross shot which somehow resulted in another cross which got cleared. Then Giroud’s missed a pass over the top when he was through. We’re playing though and giving as good as we get. Demichelis is a hugely panicky CB, sad we weren’t able to exploit him.

Offensively quite poor so far. Jack’s had a poor game, Ozil invisible, Giroud’s defended more than attacked, Theo’s only making runs and Flamini has looked our most threatening attacker. Ramsey has played well though but that’s it really.

Giroud could look at Negredo’s movement in the box though and maybe pick up a trick or two. He’s easily been the best player on the pitch so far (25 min). His movement is a nightmare to pick up – drops deep, goes near post, far post, strong on the ball.

Yellow card Negredo – not given, ugly hack on Monreal. Poor punch Pantilimon, Ozil cant kill the ball – chance gone. Goal – Great work Ramsey, robbing Toure and Ozil does what Ozil does best to pick out Theo who finishes nicely, curling around an awful panicky Demichelis. 1-1.

Ozil more in the game now. We’re playing well. Monreal not offside but given, doubt he’d have done too much though with it in all fairness – he was already cutting inside by the time the flag went. Goal – Monreal’s dragged in. Toure’s burst through midfield with no one marking him, gorgeous disguised ball to Zabaleta, Wilshere’s too late, Negredo’s strong enough to shrug a challenge off and score. Great team goal. Poor positioning on the left hand side. 2-1. The root is the Toure run really, although Monreal will get the blame – you can’t let a player run at you from so deep, much less a player as powerful as Toure. Free header Demichelis – near post again – it’s a pocket of space between the near post and the center of the goal that they’re attacking again and again.

Fernandinho and Clichy have both kicked and thrown the ball away. That’s 2 yellow cards. Not given. Hmm. Walcott not offside – given offside. Same linesman who let the Clichy throw go. Hmm.

Szcz is a bundle of nerves. Bigtime. No need to punch it back into play from a pretty poor cross. Can’t be easy – I’m just saying he’s really nervous. Monreal’s played well really – just been overworked far far too much. Giroud gives the ball away, everyone’s really nervous I think.

2nd half:

Goal – Awful awful goal to give away. Ozil in RB for whatever reason, it’s an okay pass but very risky – a little in front of Flamini who may have done a little better, but it’s a risky pass to start. Fernandinho swarms in, super super strike – nothing Szcz can do. 3-1.

We’re still playing, lovely ball Wilshere – half chance Giroud but he’s stretching, not a clear cut opportunity though by any means. It’s interesting to see how close Zabaleta is to Giroud, something we just have not done. Second lovely ball in to Giroud by Wilshere, big miskick – he’s had an awful game.

That’s a red card for Yaya Toure on Giroud. No doubt. It’s a stamp on the shin – right in front of the referee. Hmm. Gorgeous cross Sagna, that’s got to be a goal Giroud..got to be..it’s 6 yards out : (.

Handball Zabaleta. Seen them given, hits his knee first and maybe the ball may may have not gone through anyway. Still it’s pretty deliberate, not sure why it’s not given. That’s 4 bad bad decisions already against us.

Walcott’s played quite well really as has Jack in the 2nd half. Team’s played really well though had Giroud taken his chances. Goal – Stunning stunning finish Walcott. Good play by the midfield to get the ball to him, but it’s all about the finish. Put it in the only place the keeper couldn’t get it, and he’s a big keeper 3-2. We have to sit and defend for 10 minutes now – can’t concede.

Dubious offside for Giroud. It looks like Ozil’s offside for sure, but he’s completely passive and someone (the awful Demichelis I think) is playing Giroud on and it’s a great finish. But it’s given as offside. Weird. Decision number 5 then.

We’re not giving up at all. Great strike Wilshere but a little too close to Pantilimon who tips it over with that big bucket like left hand.

Still going after the 5th goal, Monreal’s still getting forward after being overworked all night, great cross, I think Nicky B is just offside though, by a foot..a Samuel Eto’o foot. Ouch. Ouch. : (

Still going in injury time. Good free kick Theo and then the keeper closes his shot down after a great build up. I’m proud of the boys after this game really – we’ve just kept on playing till we’ve run out of time.


City are finding gaps inside 5 minutes. This is exactly what Bayern or Barca will do too. We’re camped in our final 3rd. It’s a fine balance though. Bac’s getting beaten on the outside again. Very narrow – we’re defending very deep. You know that we have a problem if Demichelis is on the halfline starting attacks off.

Silva’s drifting inside and finding too much space. Ozil is somewhere and hasn’t tracked Zabaleta into the box. This is the problem with playing Ozil. You’ll get your magic, but you can already see that Monreal or Gibbs had he played is going to have an awful afternoon for sure against a top team. This is exactly what used to happen to Clichy with Arshavin in front of him.

A poor cross in the final 3rd from Bac allows City to counter. The speed at which they’ve turned defense into attack is scary. Yaya Toure is an asbolute beast really – people just bounce off him. Negredo’s drifted into a pocket – he’s more than a number 9 really and a last ditch header from Kos concedes the corner. Goal – Near post flick on corner routine just like Per for us in the final 3rd. We don’t win the first ball..we don’t win the 2nd ball. Goal. Great technique Aguero – not too many will score that. 1-0. Kos sleeping at the back post and thinking of his great header a minute ago. Monreal’s gone near post but its a great flicked header by Demichelis, Giroud and Ramsey both hesitate and it’s all over in a flash. Classic case of poor zonal marking.

It’s interesting how wide Negredo and Aguero are playing. They’re happy to let Per and Kos have the ball but not Monreal or Sagna. And Silva’s continuously drifting into the center with the CFs dropping into midfield. It’s very very good football really. Much like we play, but with better players in a few positions.

Brilliant drive by Kompany to disposess Giroud near the halfline and thread a ball to Negredo – poor finish. City have too much of the ball again and Ozil literally hasn’t yet touched the ball. Zero. Completely. 20 minutes. Overall though, somehow we haven’t conceded more (25 min). MOnreal runs into trouble and loses it upfield, the speed of the counter is devastating and we could be 2-1 down very easily – but Negredo can’t curl it around.

2nd half:

Per completely taken out of the game with a 1-2 between Negredo and Nasri. Better ball from Negredo and it’s a tap in. Got lucky. Arsene wasn’t exaggerating when he said 6-6 after the game.

Goal – Ball worked out to the right. Slow enough build up, routine ball out wide. Monreal has to get closer to Navas, horrible attempt at a block with his right foot. Silva’s drifted into the zone and Per doesn’t do enough to put him off this time – I’m pretty sure City have studied the way we zonal mark and exploited it. The number of times someone’s been free in the zone, is pretty high. 4-2.

Monreal’s getting double teamed down the right side, we’re in all out attack mode now – don’t know how much we have left in the tank. Navas misses from a tight angle – reasonably good keeping from Szcz to force him that wide – I’d prefer he stayed on his feet though in that situation. Still, he kept the goal out.

It’s been all City after 72 73 minutes, Yaya Toure is just bursting through midfield and dictating the pace of the game. We’re hanging in there and still look dangerous but that’s about it.

Goal – Wilshere crunched..fairly in midfield. There’s a big hole there since Gnabry’s come on, through no fault of his. Fernandinho just waltzes through, plays a couple of 1-2’s and dinks Szcz. Probably Per can do a bit better there but really, the game’s gone – we’re nearly dead by now. 5-2. Really though, we’ve given it a go – we haven’t gone and crumbled up after the 4th goal – nothing to be ashamed of.

Horrible mispass by Gnabry, bit of a dive by Milner but the game’s been done for a while so no point moaning about it. Goal. 6-3.


To sum it all up – we could have scored a few more, they could have scored a few more and overall City probably deserved it a bit more than us. We gave everything but they were just that little teeny bit better on the day.

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8 Replies to “Tactical review Man City v Arsenal”

  1. Excellent review Arvind. Focuses more on the details than the previous ones, but that’s ok with me, you kept the big picture, and that’s what matters.

    More on topic, I remember from my days of nutritional therapy (and I’m still doing it sometimes) that feeling nervous coincided with lacking energy, consequence of a low amount of carbohydrates in my body, or the wrong ones (processed sugar, not fructose and other light stuff). So, nervous would probably be better described as “slightly on the edge” – that state when you’re aware that pushing harder will drain your last bit of energy and you will start sliding from that point on. The team looked in exactly that kind of state, and the cause is of course the crazy match schedule, which didn’t allow for the players’ bodies to recover, no matter how hard they fought their way back from Naples.

  2. Great review, bad memory, but all in all, seems a bit of a one off for the best defence in the league. Almost looked at times a return to the bad old days defensively.
    BUT some serious mitigating factors as mentioned.
    There was not sufficient time to recover from Naples in a very tough sequence of games…and refs. As for the refs, think there as always is a spectrum, from some who are generally honest and try their best but maybe feel pressured into an agenda, others maybe not very good and need help. Then there are those that show bias, but this ref and maybe one or two others have worried me for some time that something else quite sinister is going on ….with some, and the quite unbelievable performance of these officials did nothing to dampen these worries.
    Must have been very dispiriting for our players already tired from Naples coming up against a ref like that, could see especially Ozil looking at the officials with increasing incredulity during that series of games. He won’t be used to this, at times he was looking like he wanted to throttle these refs…maybe that is why he has been rested!

  3. Nice write up ,Arvind .They got us good on a poor day and with the help of some dubious refreeing decisions .Glad the team have moved past it and are going from strength to strength .
    Not too many teams are going to score 3 goals against them.
    Am looking for some payback at home .

  4. Before the naysayers come on…….from..


    3 Against One…

    Four members of the clergy had a theological argument, with the three male ministers siding against the female minister.

    The woman prayed, “Lord, I know I’m right. Please send us a divine sign to prove it.”

    A big storm cloud materialized, and there was a clap of thunder, “See,” said the woman. “It’s a sign from above.”

    The three clergymen disagreed, saying thunder is a common phenomenon.

    “Dear Lord,” the woman prayed, “I need a bigger sign.”

    This time a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree.

    “See! I told you I was right,” the woman said.

    But the men insisted nothing had happened that couldn’t be explained by natural causes.

    “Help me, Lord,” the woman implored.

    And a deep voice came from the heavens: “SSSHHHEEE’S RRRIIIGGGHHHTTT!!!”

    The woman turned to the three clergymen and asked, “Well?”

    “Okay, okay,” they said. “But it’s still three against two.”

  5. Good write up Avrind. Yaya’s assault on Giroud looked premeditated and should have been punished…but the refs continue to permit a lot of thuggery against Arsenal.

  6. I see Oscar was given a yellow this weekend for diving and sticking his foot down just as Milner did to earn(?) a penalty which gave Citeh an undeserved 6th goal. I have recorded every single Arsenal game on my DVR so I can look back and see the little things that might escape others.

  7. Injury of Kos played a very effective role on that game, not because TV5 is a weak defender, but it forced us to do an obligatory sub while we could use that in midfield later in the game
    It was a tough game and when fatigue came to us we could use that sub to bring in a fresh player to organize the midfield

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