Four things we learned: Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal

1. Composure Gone Under Pressure
Taking the lead five minutes into the game, Arsenal seemed on their way to assert their dominance over Manchester City once again. However, following a tense first half which saw City miss an unmissable chance Pep Guardiola’s men came out firing in the second half. The Gunners seemed rooted to their spots when compared to their early dominance and saw themselves get outclassed two minutes after the restart. It was easy to see the momentum shift from the North London side, and City put the pressure on for a considerable time which had Arsenal unable to put together more than three passes in their own half. The recurring issue of failing to close out games came to haunt Arsène Wenger’s men once again, and another drop of points will be even less acceptable for the Frenchman.
2. Refusal to Clear
Another game, another typical Arsenal performance. Fans will be scratching their heads at some of the decision making from the players, especially in the case of getting balls out of the box. As City poured players into the six-yard box, Wenger’s men dealt with the immediate threat and proceeded to get into a more difficult situation altogether. The Gunners were adamant in looking for the ideal pass when trying to get out of their own goal, and more often than not created far greater problems from it. Every player looked to pick a ball to set the counter attack off, yet Guardiola’s men were able to intercept and continue forcing their issue. A questionable set of tactics and a costly one, as Arsenal’s momentum was drowned out by no one other than the players.
3. Sanchez Masterclass
The silver lining of Sunday’s match was the performance of Alexis Sanchez. Setting up the goal for Walcott early on, the Chilean refused to slow down. Alexis was vibrant all over the pitch, and was constantly looking to win the ball back and get the attack going. Players like Özil and Iwobi and Xhaka simply faded in this crucial game, but Sanchez was always vibrant and always willing to track back and push forward and do whatever it was that the team required of him. The Chilean is the talisman of this Arsenal side, and the prospect of losing him to a bigger club would simply be too much to take for most Gooners. Wenger will look to tie the winger-turned-striker to a long-term contract as soon as possible.
4. Early Title Failure
With the taboo period of November seen out rather convincingly when compared to seasons past, spirits and expectations were high for Arsenal and their presumed ascendancy up the table. It was not to be though, as December brought the harsh realities and frailties of this side to light. Issues in defence with the injury of Mustafi were easily exploited by Everton, then again by City a few days later and it seems mow that the title challenge is all but out of the Gunners’ hands. The season is still young, and there is plenty of time to fight for the title but with Chelsea pulling away further by the week it seems that this will be another what-if season for the Gunners and Gooners alike.

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