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Sunday, December 18

Manchester City 1 - 0 Arsenal: Editor's Notes

A look at the often-frenetic but rough-at-the-edges contest between Manchester City and Arsenal. [Editor's note: This game was bad.  Stop pretending.]

The Starting XIs
 It wasn't a technical marvel of a game, [Editor's note: 25 fouls, five yellow cards, the loser having more possession? Really going out on a limb there.] but Manchester City kept their two point lead over Manchester United atop the Premier League table, defeating Arsenal 1-0 at Ethiad Stadium. [Wait.  This was a home game for City?  I don't care if their normal left fullback is an in-his-prime Roberto Carlos, City is not the powerhouse they think they are.]  In a game where the final pass was often a second late or a degree off, where the midfield was more cacophony than symphony, where the best sequence of the game resulted in a blast well over the crossbar, where each side's best player was their goalkeeper, City made the most of the bounces that went their way.  [Such laudatory praise!]

[Not. #jokesfromthe90s]

While it's too dismissive to call a game a "tactical non-starter", [Bullshit.  That should've been your headline.  "Man City 1 - 0 Arsenal: A Tactical Non-starter.  LOVE IT.] it's not all that reductive to say Roberto Mancini's plan for City was "go forward" and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger's plan was equal parts "defend" and "van Persie". [Are you saying both sides lacked a creative presence in midfield?  Because you should just be saying that, because they did lack a creative presence in midfield.]  City played their loose 4-2-2-2/4-4-1-1, and Wenger countered with three in midfield, with both sides pressing vigorously to open.  [A 4-2-2-2?  Who's their coach, Bob Bradley?  THERE'S STILL TIME TO POACH LANDON DONOVAN FROM EVERTON!]

Pablo Zabaleta filled in at left back, Kolo Touré started for Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko, as is becoming customary for important Premier League fixtures, started on the bench. [As he should've.  I mean, why play Dzeko upfront with Balotelli out wide and Kun in a supporting role against a side with a 3 to 2 midfield advantage that still only had possession 53% of time?  Oh, right, because that would keep Nasri off the field.  AND WE WOULDN'T WANT THAT.]  Arsenal's lineup was without much in the way of a surprise, though their back four was full of centre-backs.  [Does anyone really care about Arsenal's centre-backs?  That sentence was a waste of perfectly good electrons.  Redacted.]

Although it took the pressuring to die down before either of the City fullbacks ventured forward, Zabaleta and Micah Richards had free reign to either overlap the wingers ahead of them or run onto the space left upon Samir Nasri and David Silva cutting inside.  With City enjoying the most of possession early, this meant the Arsenal wingers, Theo Walcott and Gervinho, found themselves back in their own half, defending.  And even with that commitment, Zabaleta was involved in the best sequence of the game, overlapping Nasri and running onto a beautifully weighted ball down the left flank from Gareth Barry.  Zabaleta then played the ball in early to a clear Sergio Agüero, who blasted the ball over the crossbar. [He had to have done that as a goof, right?  Not the safest link for work, but, hey, live a little.]

From there, the the first half became a tug of war, with each team having the better of it for small stretches but unable to string together a finishing sequence in the last third. [That has to embarrassing for City, right?  Hey, top of the table, can't dominate a game.  Good job Arsenal and all that, but come on.] Even with superior numbers in midfield, Arsenal looked to play down the wings via Walcott knifing runs and Gervinho head-down dribbles, [Too easy.] and City keyed their attacks from the centre with Yaya Touré and the floating inside Nasri and Silva, with Mario Balotelli an afterthought, save for an incredible display of skill winning a ball in the box while off-balanced, only to have his next touch saved by Wojciech Szczesny.  [Really.  Good job there, Mancini, not putting your most dangerous player in a position to tilt the game to your side.]  To City's credit, there was at least some cleverness to their attack, looking to play one-twos and dragging defenders around, where Arsenal was direct and predictable.  Each side had chances, but the play of Szczesny and Joe Hart kept the scoreline clean.  [Joe Hart is very good.]

[I'm just going to snip out the rest of your post and end it here.  It's an admirable effort to write about this game, but it's this easy to sum up the second half: Balotelli SHOCKINGLY created City's lone goal after getting the ball in a position to actually do something, and van Persie came close a few times.  SPOILER ALERT: That's it.  The game was open because of mistakes from both teams and both teams not having a deep-lying playmaker who could dictate play.  Bayern Munich would've smoked either side -- oh, wait, they already beat City 2-0 when caring about a result -- Real Madrid would've scored seven goals and Barcelona would've had -- and this is no exaggeration -- 148% of possessionThis game sucked.]


  1. City have beaten Bayern this season and Arsenal have beaten Barca last season. This is football, you can play beautiful and get beaten or you can just play to your strength and grind a win.

  2. ^--- Arsenal beat barca because of a bad offsides call and a valdes near post blunder.

    the post is a litttle tough on man city though. not wrong, just harsh. but funny enough.