City let a golden chance to finally assert control on the title race go by as they drew with Arsenal at the Emirates. After Chelsea’s earlier surprise loss this was a game we needed to win, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Here are a few thoughts on the game…
City played really quite well in the first half. David Silva especially was immense. He is playing like a man who believes he is a world class player and has the talent to back it up. Something has changed in recent weeks as Silva has actually been playing even better than ever before. He has been more assertive and dominating, stepping up to lead the team at a crucial part of the season. The opportunistic finish for his goal was the least he deserved for a first half performance in which he played Arsenal like a fiddle. We at Typical City have been vocal in the past about Silva being City’s best player and every game provides more evidence of that.
Defensively, City also impressed (in the first half). Clichy and Zabaleta both did their thing very well, supporting the attack and stifling Arsenal consistently on the wings. Podolski’s minimal defensive discipline in particular allowed Zabaleta to get forward almost at will. The contrast to the Arsenal full backs who were caught very far out of position for Silva’s goal was marked. Cult hero Martin Demichelis had another great game as well. He made many vital interceptions and blocks and, once again, used his heading ability to the full.
Joe Hart played well despite his long run of clean sheets ending. He is beginning to look like a proper, grown up goalkeeper recently following Pellegrini’s tough love approach earlier this season. The newfound confidence when dealing with crosses and high balls was on display again, showing how he has improved what was previously one of the weaker parts of his game. His point blank save from Podolski in the second half was stunning and probably rescued the game.
City were oddly lethargic in the second half. It was clear that Arsenal had a goal in them and City’s relaxed attitude to the game offered the excellent Flamini an opportunity to level the score. Following that City were on the ropes for the rest of the half and can be considered fortunate to have come away with a point. Toure had a strangely bad game, failing to truly influence the game personally or stopping an injury depleted Arsenal midfield from getting back into it. In addition, his goal scoring touch deserted him as he missed a chance to win the game after escaping from the Arsenal back line.
Typical City favourite Edin Dzeko had another bad game. We had such high hopes from him following a genuinely brilliant showing against Manchester United midweek where he combined attacking prowess with an all action display. The most frustrating thing about Dzeko is that he so often follows brilliance with abject horror. The early shot which inadvertently set up Silva’s goal aside, Dzeko had the sort of game where you would doubt his ability to score in 42’s, let alone on a football pitch. The first touch was wayward, the shooting pretty much non-existent, the runs off the ball unimaginative.
Kompany had a good game but he is not included in the previous section with the rest of the defence due to picking up yet another yellow card. His personal discipline has been lacking on the pitch of late, picking up many cards in a short space of time. We need our captain to be at his best if we are to win this title and he can’t be that if he is serving bans or walking on egg shells due to an early yellow card. Where Kompany goes the team follows and if he continues to pick up bookings it makes me worry that the rest of the team will do the same.
The result was not ideal, but this is not the apocalypse that it is being presented as. At the end of the day City are still in the same position as before the game – If the team go out and win all the remaining games then the title will be crossing Manchester. This squad is more than capable of that. Jovetic is fit again, Aguero is on the way back, Silva is playing some majestic football and the defence seems finally to be getting their act together. Southampton up next and I am looking forward to it.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter