Same Old Story For City at the Emirates

Arsenal 2 : Manchester City 2

Walcott (40), Mustafi (53) Sané (5), Agüero (42)

Quote from Pep:

“We didn’t play in the first half, after the goal we forgot to play, the desire went. In the second half we played more. We suffered a lot in the first half because we did not make those passes together. On Wednesday we play against a team who is stable in what they do. We don’t have too much time to prepare but we go back to Manchester now and recover and then come back to London.”

Nothing new here, I’m sorry but spectacularly unsurprised to say.

Nothing that you haven’t seen before countless times this season or did not already know.

Whilst the team continues to thrill at times, Manchester City simply lack the defensive mentality, nous and rigour to defend the advantages their profligate attack force give them. And…the front 5 miss far too many chances. ‘Not good enough in the boxes’, any shrewd coach might even say.

There will be moans about a few shocking refereeing errors (e.g. Monreal’s handball at the death) that could have made the difference, however one fact remains.

We do not possess a defence. The Summer transfer window cannot, repeat, cannot come soon enough.

Willy Caballero was reasonably solid as always, better than Bravo of course yet still just falling short of inspiring real confidence.

Gael Clichy made another costly gaffe, failing to move out with the rest of his crew therefore playing Arsenal onside and then compounding the error by losing his one-on-one battle in the box for Arsenal’s first equaliser.

Nicolas Otamendi lost his man in the air to concede and give the opposition a soft goal to bring them back into the game with the Gunners’ second.

John Stones did not much wrong and was mostly solid and composed but should it not have been he competing with Mustafi in the air at set pieces?

Jesus Navas, as always tireless and combative even in an unfamiliar role, continues to frustrate going forward, crossing waywardly and reluctant to shoot.

Yaya Toure‘s still wonderful range of passes, both long and short, fail to conceal his ever declining mobility even in just 45 rather than 90 minutes.

David Silva keeps up his run of man-of-the match performances, effervescent and creative as always, carrying the threat to the opponent.

Leroy Sané offered more glimpses of his outstanding pace and skill, holding off Hector Bellerin to score a sumptuous opener.

Fernandinho made some crunching tackles in the first half but we miss his interventions going forward that were evident under Manuel Pellegrini.

Sergio Aguero scored a lovely goal but once again missed at least two other gilt-edged chances.

Kevin DeBruyne: Interesting stat from the BBC Website: “Kevin de Bruyne has assisted 11 Premier League goals this season, the joint-most in the division along with Gylfi Sigurdsson; only once before has a City player assisted more goals in a single Premier League season (David Silva with 15 in 2011/12)”.

Yet how City desperately need Gabriel Jesus. And how much they wish that one man, temporarily on view warming up on the sidelines, (Vincent Kompany) could find a time machine…

Positives?

  • City should really have the beating of Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. They were improved yet still mostly dismal here and lost their defensive linchpin (Koscielny) once again.
  • Raheem Sterling‘s substitution was not down to injury but rather tactical (to effect more passes according to Pep).
  • Stretford’s Invincibles continue to bore the pants off even their own supporters and drop points so we should be able to hold them off for 4th spot at least.

Portents?

  • Some kind of mental breakthrough needs to be achieved if we are to get any change out of Wednesday’s game at Chelsea.
  • We maintain our dubious habit of playing struggling sides back into some kind of form       again…

RTs, follows and comments @boltfromablue are much appreciated.