By Walter Broeckx
After having the fastest match report on an Arsenal blog this is now the slowest match report on an Arsenal blog I think.
Arsenal started with Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Alexis, Giroud. And on the cold beach in Manchester we had Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini, Rosicky, Ozil, Walcott. So Bellerin replaces the injured Debuchy and Ramsey comes in to the team in the place of Rosicky. His first start since his injury.
Koscielny gets his usual card when Dean is in charge but no complaints from me he came late on Fernandinho and good advantage from Dean at first. Arsenal tries to break but Bellerin cannot get his cross past the City defender, Giroud was on his own in the middle behind him.
Arsenal gives City a lot of the ball and they don’t seem to know what to do with it. All Arsenal players are doing a good job apart from Ospina who hasn’t touched a ball till now. Arsenal tries to keep a tight block all over the field. Defend with all players but when they got the ball the full backs join in the attack.
Alexis with a ball to the right hand side but Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t see it coming on time and the ball goes out. 15 minutes gone and both teams are holding each other at arms length without creating anything. Coquelin intercepting a lot of balls and winning possession for Arsenal.
Finally a first chance of the match. Oxlade-Chamberlain escapes down the right and Giroud heads his cross just wide. Di Micheles tried to hack Oxlade down on the flank, ref could have given a yellow card like he did with Koscielny. Cazorla and Coquelin give a great cover in front of our defenders.
Arsenal now playing more forward and a long combination ends up when Kompany fouls Monreal in an off the ball foul. Monreal was going for the return ball from Giroud and Kompany blocks his run. Kompany pointing towards the ball is a clear attempt that he knew he made a foul, then pointing at the ball in an attempt to say that he played the ball. Well I got news for you Vincent, you never even looked at the ball or came within 3 meters of the ball.
But the most amazing part of it all was that Dean, yes you read it well, Dean pointed at the penalty spot to give Arsenal their first penalty of the century. Or something in that kind. As I remember him giving a penalty against Blackburn some 10 years ago. Cazorla behind the ball and 1-0 to the Arsenal.
City once again try to work something out up front but again Coquelin with a great interception. Ramsey running too long with the ball as he had options on the right flank and a possible chance goes begging. 28 minutes. Ooooooooospina can pick up a long ball from City that was over hit. The first time he had to do something as a keeper. A minute later a nice pirouette from a player that got called a rhinoceros by someone. So Per can’t play football… Mind you he did just kick it forward moments later when it was needed. Half an hour gone and City looks toothless in attack. Or should I say Arsenal completely dominates the City attack?
Both Oxlade and Alexis giving excellent cover whenever City gets the ball. They work their socks off. A first attempt on goal from City comes from a tame header from Aguero that goes wide. Ramsey makes a foul in the middle of the park and gets a yellow card. Very soft. 38 minutes: Coquelin loses the ball. A rarity. Kompany fouls Giroud also in the middle of the park and gets booked. Consistency? Is this Dean really? Must say that Kompany is on thin ice when he loudly protest the card and gets a lecture from Dean.
Without really getting in to any real trouble Arsenal ends the first half with a goal up against Manchester City. An amazingly team effort from 10 players who defended when needed and attacked when they could. Oooooospina the only one nicking a living.
City want to turn up the heat in the second half. Jovetic came on for Milner and so an extra force up front to defend. And now Ospina has to put an Aguero shot in to a corner. A good stop as the ball took a deflection. For the first time Arsenal committed themselves forward in the second half and City gets some space but the Arsenal defenders on top of their attackers. Oxlade-Chamberlina with an interception but he then waits too long and Di Michelis can make up for his error. Just go for it next time Oxlade.
On the other side Ospina has to make another stop and seconds later the ball bounces around in the Arsenal penalty area but Fernandinho shoots over. Ref gives a corner and this wasn’t the first wrongly awarded corner. Fernandinho gets booked for a handball. Alexis with a great movement but the ball goes wide of the goal.
Bellerin gives a little pull in minute 53, ref gives an advantage to City. Arsenal attack Alexis is brought down by Kompany just outside the penalty area with a two footed tackle, Dean gives an advantage and Ramsey shoots over. Then the ref goes back to book Bellerin for the little foul two minutes earlier and lets Kompany off the hook for his challenge on Alexis? Yes, this is Dean.
A big chance for City on the hour mark but Koscielny diverts the ball in corner. The two City players behind hem were in an offside position but it is better not to count on the assistants to call offsides at the Manchester City stadium as we found out last year. Vital interception from Koscielny.
Alexis with a fine move and brought down by Jovetic. Rosicky enters the field for Oxlade-chamberlain. Cazorla to take the free kick and Giroud heads it in!!! 2-0 to the Arsenal.
Alexis with a good shot but Hart can save the shot and Bellerin cannot make it completely to the rebound. On the side of the pitch a low shot from Navas is easily saved by Ospina. A bit later some confusion between Ospina and Monreal who gives away a corner after a wild kick. His only mistake of the match? Cazorla goes past 5 man is being fouled a few times but then loses the ball. But what an effort from the little giant.
A chance for Jovetic just off or onside but he shoots wide. Dean gives a corner but Ospina claims it simply. Ramsey looking a bit tired now certainly when going forward. Not really surprising after his injury. He then goes down with cramps but stays on to defend a corner. Rosicky shoots over after an Arsenal attack.
Alexis and Ramsey leave the field and Gibbs and Flamini enter the field. Alexis and Ramsey worked their socks off also when they needed to defend and weren’t as sharp attacking wise as a result. Some 6 minutes to go in normal time. Gibbs on a counter, dragged back by Aguero who gets a yellow card for his effort. Arsenal being very realistic with hardly any player forward when we have a corner. It would be wiser to play it short then maybe?
Dzeko with a shot but Ospina wants to keep a clean sheet. Arsenal is in control and Cazorla dances around the City players as if they were traffic cones. Giroud with a wonderful control, to Rosicky who plays in Flamini and only a big foot from Kompany prevents Giroud from scoring a third Arsenal goal.
We are entering extra time and Arsenal looks composed and City looks tired and without any ideas how to break down the stubborn Arsenal defensive line. Arsenal play out the remaining time without any problems as they did the whole match.
A great win after a master class in hard work!
- BBC confirms what Untold has been saying: Man C were unprepared for FFP
And Untold’s Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal