Arsenal went into yesterday’s game as big outsiders and it didn’t take long to realize why. From minute one, it was clear to see just how much more Manchester City are equipped for these types of games than Arsenal.
The Gunners lost the battle physically, tactically and mentally.
Man City players looked like they were at the peak of their form, winning a devastating amount of duels and battles across the pitch. Their “PnP” was something Arsenal couldn’t find an answer for. And I didn’t even get into the technical side of things. Players who were supposed to be the physical pillars of this team looked off pace and almost out of gas.
I do not want to discredit the mental upturn Manchester City had considering their recent form and the fact they’re playing at home plus the fact Arsenal are in a slump and on a downhill slide BUT the fact The Blues looked like a force of nature with Haaland, Akanji, Walker and co. cannot be overstated. Arsenal were beaten up in all thirds off the pitch. I’ll get into the Rob Holding problem later in the article as I think a whole lot connected onto him but players like Ben White, Thomas Partey and even Gabriel looked second best in a lot of their duels.
Tiredness, occasion or simply going into the game with the wrong frame of mind? Bit of everything when I think about it.
Players are suffering from a lack of confidence currently and the team which looked unbeatable for big periods of the season looked like they don’t believe they can win this game. The pep in our step was missing, we were playing with a cramp, unable to be ourselves. That’s what City do to you but you have to try and do better than that considering where we are in the table.
Technically we looked poor. Small periods of a bit more dangerous possession but overall average and off it. Manchester City were controlling the height of our line with their front foot pressure and the only way for us to keep possession ended up going backwards and backwards. This is where players like Holding cost you big time even if he has a 100% pass completion at the end of the game. The idea was always for him to be a part of a well-drilled unit where his flaws can eventually be hidden well.
That period is gone and every little mistake looks huge now. He struggles in high lines and the passes he makes under pressure are hit with the wrong weight, causing problems everywhere you look around.
If Arsenal went long (which they had to), the ball went into the black hole of Stones-Walker-Dias. Man City kept their calm and often responded by doing the same under high pressure. However, Erling Haaland is someone who brings that ball down with ease and goes at you again and again. Gabriel Jesus gave it his all, but the size difference and overall immediate pressure meant the balls he did try to take down didn’t stay with him for long.
The Gunners’ final five fixtures of the season 🖐️
What will you be doing with your Arsenal assets? 🤔#FPL pic.twitter.com/U26ZySreQ0
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) April 27, 2023
What’s done is done, the only way is forward. The fact of the matter is that there’s no point in moaning about something that’s already happened. With only 5 games to go, it’s important to finish the season on a high. How you respond to setbacks like this is extremely important for future situations like this and it can only serve as a learning curve.
When was the last time a team this young concurred for a Premier League title? Bit more luck on the injury front and we could’ve had it in the bag. I remember reading takes that Arsenal will drop off after this season as their rivals will only get stronger. What they don’t want to understand is that this team is quite literally halfway into their peak and that we’re just getting started. Believe me when I say that Arsenal have only scratched the surface of the potential of this team and that we’re just getting started.