Arsenal played out a 2-2 draw with Manchester City at Emirates, a result that was no real help to either side in the battle for top four in the Premier League.
Arsenal have been in a whole heap of trouble recently. Poor results combined with fans’ unrest over Arsene Wenger’s uncertain future along with potential summer exodus of several key senior members of the first-team setup have seen Arsenal’s current campaign dwindle in a picture that is not too dissimilar to their recent seasons.
The Gunners, though, found some form as they battled to a 2-2 draw against Manchester City. An early Leroy Sane goal was cancelled out by Theo Walcott while Sergio Aguero’s goal was cancelled out by Shkodran Mustafi.
The result was unsavoury for either side as we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at some of the significant talking points to emerge from the draw.
An evident lack of cohesion in the Arsenal dressing room
Perhaps the one thing that is yet to break out in media is a potential dressing room unrest. On Sunday, the lack of cohesion was rather visible for the on-lookers and the whole world to see. Theo Walcott’s goal saw almost no celebration from his teammates and a similar reaction was evidenced when Mustafi scored the equalizer.
Both our goals against City are worrying. No celebration after Walcott’s goal & Sanchez having to summon players to celebrate Mustafi’s
— Bergkamp & Bergkamp (@Orangeiceman10) April 4, 2017
The non celebration for Walcott’s goal was very strange looking back at it?
— Bergkamp & Bergkamp (@Orangeiceman10) April 2, 2017
In fact, Alexis Sanchez was seen riling his players up and calling them towards the sideline to celebrate Mustafi’s goal, a worrying sign for Arsenal. The lack of celebration was also caught by many viewers, who took to Twitter to highlight the same.
The thorough professional that is Alexis Sanchez
We may accuse Alexis Sanchez of holding Arsenal to ransom or venting out his frustration on the field several times, for both Arsenal and Chile. But, one cannot point a finger at the Chilean as a professional. The player’s professionalism was there on the field for all to see once again against Manchester City on Sunday.
Not only did the player give it his all but, at one point, he was seen riling his players up, calling them towards the sidelines to celebrate Mustafi’s equalizer, as the others looked uninterested, of sorts.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) April 3, 2017
A truly consummate professional and perhaps the Arsenal dressing room could learn a thing or two from not just Alexis Sanchez – the player but Alexis Sanchez – the human being as well.
The Kevin De Bruyne show
Amidst a whole lot of midfield chaos, it was Kevin De Bruyne who provided the calming presence for Manchester City on the day. The Belgian ended the game with an assist and could have easily had a goal to his name, with his shot hitting the post.
Kevin De Bruyne in 16/17 big games:
Goal & Assist vs Man United
Goal & Assist vs Spurs
Assist vs Liverpool
Assist vs Arsenal pic.twitter.com/BrrNBOaivz
— ㅤ (@DeadlyAguero) March 25, 2017
— City Chief ️ (@City_Chief) April 3, 2017
The playmaker has established himself at the heart of the Citizens and has already illustrated his big-match instincts, something which goes to add credibility to the talent that he is. The player has run the show in midfield for City on many occasions and he did the same on Sunday again.
Mustafi delivers, albeit on the attacking front
Shkodran Mustafi is a solid defender. But, on Sunday, the German produced a brilliant performance on the attacking front, scoring one and assisting the other as Arsenal drew 2-2 with Manchester City.
Shkodran Mustafi’s game by numbers vs. Man City:
3 aerial duels won
3 tackles won
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 2, 2017
While his defensive work may have left something to be desired, his overall contribution was the telling point for Arsenal as the Gunners battled to a draw against the Citizens. Mustafi is widely seen as the mainstay in Arsenal defence for several years to come and the fans would hope the German continues to prove himself at Emirates.
Result detrimental to both sides
The draw sees Arsenal remain sixth on the Premier League table and lost the chance to close the gap to top-four. The Gunners could have moved to within 4 points off Manchester City with a win and would have had a game in hand at that.
While the result wasn’t exactly a great one for Arsenal, it wasn’t particularly helpful for Manchester City either. The draw sees them surrender the 3rd spot and move down to fourth on the table. The Citizens are now just 5 points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, with the Red Devils having a game in hand.
The top-four battle seems to be setting up to be a race that could go down to perhaps the final gameweek of the Premier League and it would be interesting to see which clubs are able to secure Champions League qualification.