szólj hozzá: Arsenal vs Manchester City 0:2 MOTD
Arsene Wenger could have included Per Mertesacker in the starting line up but concerns over Carlos Tevez’s pace prompted him to start Laurent Koscielny. In the 9th minute he had no choice but to send in the BFG because the French defender lost his marbles bringing down Edin Dzeko in a rugby tackle and clearly interfering with a goal scoring chance. Referee Mike Dean did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and showing Koscielny the red card. This is not the first time that the half back has had these brain melting episodes. But it adds yet another motif to the disheveled, sputtering nature of Arsenal’s campaign as the side was forced to grapple for the next 65 minutes a man down till Vincent Kompany’s dismissal restored parity.
Wojciech Szczesny was able to save Dzeko’s low hard penalty deflecting the ball with his leg and unbelievably it hit the upright, traveled parallel to the line before being scooped up by the Arsenal goalie. That reprieve was temporary. Because the other thing that Arsenal do fabulously well is to switch off at crucial moments.
Check out the players milling around as Gareth Barry takes a quick free kick and with two quick relays the ball is at James Milner’s feet and he blasts the ball from an angle. No Arsenal player in the vicinity to challenge him. It’s as easy a goal as you could get till you saw the gift of the second goal. Even Andre Dos Santos would have been chastened at how easy it was for Pablo Zabaleta to rob Kieran Gibbs and release Milner. The winger raced down and spat out a low, driving cross that Szcz saved but the rebound was snapped up by Dzeko with the easiest of finishes.
Two goals down, a man down, innumerable breakdowns in focus. It looked like an avalanche was going to hit. The second half was an improvement as Arsenal got more of the ball, created a few open chances with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott coming close but ultimately no dice. Vincent Kompany got sent off for a two footed tackle which on closer examination was not all that rash and should have merited a yellow. Even with equal complements, it was going to take something special for Arsenal to get back in this match, and Giroud and Ramsey the two second half replacements did not exactly have an impact.
Jack Wilshere has to be the most fouled player this season and that is directly attributable to his constantly churning legs. Today, he was the pick of the Arsenal players on display. If desire won silverware then “Jackie” Wilshere (as John Gregory insists on calling him) would have his mantle full. But his counterpart Santi Cazorla looks a bit worn down and one wonders why Wenger doesn’t play Tomas Rosicky in his place to rejuvenate. Abou Diaby making his first start since October looked decent and with Mikel Arteta out for the the next three weeks with a calf injury should see quite a bit of playing time.
Wenger was surprisingly equanimous at the sending off: ” What I make of the decision is not really important. We have to live with the decision. I was surprised. Honestly. I refuse to watch it again because what does it help now? We have to live with the decision and make the maximum of it.”
The obvious winners were City keeping close to United with this victory but it was also the away fans who refused to pony up the £62 per ticket. You can spend your money on better entertainment. Now, is the turn of the Arsenal fans who have to begin to wonder if their money is better spent elsewhere. It’s getting old to see Arsenal add to that effortless collection of Darwin awards, the one silverware that is never beyond them.