Manchester City send out a big message to the rest of the Premier League with a 6-2 win over Arsenal FC at the Etihad.
This was Arsenal’s biggest challenge so far in their Premier League campaign and this result might have put a few question marks on their title credentials. But more than Arsenal, this win has certainly reinstated Manchester City as the favourites for the title this season. The Citizens came into this game on the back of a massive win over Bayern Munich away from and are seemingly growing in confidence with every passing match. City have now scored 50 goals in 12 home games in all competitions and Etihad has turned into a fortress for them this season.
Arsenal will now have to pull up their socks and recover from this loss before they face Chelsea in the next game. They came into this game on the back of a poor performance against Napoli and have now failed to win their last three games conceding nine goals in the process. The positive for the Gunners is the fact that they are still at the top of the table, although their lead has been reduced at the top, and now have a nine day rest before their next game.
Manchester City dominated the game from the start and out the Arsenal backline under pressure. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring for the home side in the 14th minute as he scored from a corner after Demichelis headed the ball towards him at the far post. Arsenal levelled the scoring in the 31st minute of the game as Theo Walcott, who started his first match since his return from injury, scored from the edge of the box after Mesut Ozil found him with a cut back.
That goal came against the run of play and City once again pushed to take the lead and made a quick response. City enjoyed lot of space down the left hand side of the pitch and their second goal arrived through that part of the pitch. Pablo Zabaleta was given lot of time and space to pick out his cross and Alvaro Negredo turned it home. City deservedly took the lead into the half time and Arsenal were delivered another big blow as Koscielny was taken off after suffering from a deep cut on his knee.
Manchester City received a injury blow themselves at the start of the second half as Sergio Aguero failed to continue and was replaced by Jesus Navas. Arsenal were still in the game despite being dominated as it was still 2-1, but they gifted a goal to City as Flamini failed to collect a pass from Ozil and the Fernandinho showed immense composure to curl the ball past Szczesny. That goal almost woke up Arsenal and they finally enjoyed a good passage of play. Giroud missed few chances, but Arsenal finally scored their second as Theo Walcott scored with a lovely shot after being set through by Ramsey.
But City were quick to respond once again and just five minutes later they restored their two goal advantage. Jesus Navas once again found space on the right and put in a low cross into the box and David Silva was clinical with his finish at the near post. The game got stretched after this as Arsenal substituted Flamini, it provided City with lot of space on the counter-attack and they looked dangerous. Fernandinho completed his brace in the 88th minute after Samir Nasri set him up and it was another deserved goal for the Brazilian who put in a wonderful performance at the center of the park. Arsenal managed to score another few minutes later as Per Mertesacker headed in a cross from Sagna, but the joy lasted for few seconds only as Manchester City was awarded a penalty in stoppage time after Szczesny brought down Milner inside the box. Yaya Toure stepped up and converted the spot kick to give a massive 6-3 win for the home side.
Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with the win but showed his disappointment about conceding three goals.
“It’s very important to be an entertaining team but I would prefer we won 6-0 rather than 6-3.
“Every manager can think the way they want to think, maybe some managers prefer to score one and sit back but we will continue to keep trying to score goals because that’s how we want to win.
“It’s possible to [win in attacking fashion without conceding] but the whole team must know how to defend. I will watch the game again but I don’t remember Arsenal having that many chances to score more than three.
“Attacking, it was a very good performance, it’s not easy to score six against Arsenal – the best defence in the Premier League but I think we had four more good, clear chances to scores goals, so in that sense I’m very happy but we must keep improving.
“We are three points behind (Arsenal). We must continue working and improving because we have a lot more things to improve.” – The Manchester City manager said.
Pellegrini was left concerned about Aguero’s injury though and wasn’t sure about how long the Argentine international will be side-lined after this game.
“Sergio Aguero, we will see him with the doctor, maybe he has some problem with his calf but I don’t know at the moment how many weeks,” – He added.
The Manchester City manager was also full of praise for Fernandinho, who was awarded the man of the match, and Yaya Toure after this brilliant performance at the center of the park.
“He is a typical Brazilian midfielder, he plays very well with the ball, he has a lot of pace – he gets forward well.
“He’s doing very good work with Yaya Toure and I’m very happy for him.
“Fernandinho played a perfect game in all senses, not just his two goals but he recovered a lot of balls and had a lot of pace.
“I am very happy for him but you will see how good he is over the season – he will get better every week.
“Yaya, Samir and David all played very well today, too. The four in the midfield are very difficult to play against – the strikers can score a lot of goals with them behind them.” – He said.
Arsene Wenger was disappointed with the result and pointed out the numerous mistakes his side made in the game. The Frenchman felt that it was an open game and Arsenal could have scored many as well had they taken their chances.
“We had the best defence in the league but we conceded many goals.
“Honestly, we could have scored at least six today as well. It was a very open game, we made too mistakes though.
“Our strength until today was our defensive strength but that went today.”
“City were not unbeatable today.
“City are one of the teams to beat this season but not more so than other teams we have played this season.
“We’ve played Everton who are as good as City. We’ve played Southampton who are as good as City.” – The Arsenal manager said.