Arsenal put Man City hoodoo behind them with superb win
Arsene Wenger has a ‘Plan B’. With the exception perhaps of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, very few teams could go to the Etihad and dominate the match. Arsenal have tried and failed to do that on too many occasions, as evidenced last season when they lost 6-3 to Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Prior to their 2-0 win against Manchester City, the Gunners hadn’t beaten either Manchester side or Chelsea in 16 matches. There had been suggestions pertaining to this being a mental issue; players lacking belief or confidence. In contrast, they seemed to come of age this time round.
From the off, they were balanced and mature in their approach and decision making; two banks of four prevented City getting in behind, while the irrepressible Alexis Sanchez ran, chased, hussled and harried, pressurising opposite numbers into making decisions.
After 23 minutes, a rare mistake from captain Vincent Kompany gifted Arsenal a penalty after the Belgian brought Nacho Monreal down in the area. Up stepped Santi Cazorla to score his sixth goal of the season. The Spaniard has been in sensational form recently for the north London side and this continued against the Premier League champions.
The hosts came out firing after the break and Arsenal dug in deep. With David Ospina standing firm in goal, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were simply outstanding at centre half and young right back Hector Bellerin who has also flourished recently, really came of age keeping compatriot David Silva quiet.
Arsenal were rewarded for their hard work and resilience midway through the second half. A sublime delivery from a free-kick who found Olivier Giroud in the area who nodded in past a helpless Joe Hart. It was end-to-end at one point as the pendulum swung one way and then another as City sought a way back into the game and Arsenal counter-attacked.
The visitors could have scored again, as Sanchez fashioned an opening and fizzed a shot across goal, while Mathieu Flamini went close late on. By the end of the match, City had Sergio Aguero; kept quiet by Arsenal all match, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic on the pitch, though the Gunners stood firm. The boys of the past became men.