City Lucky To Get Nil In Bore Draw
Arsenal 0 – 0 Manchester City
The worst match I ever saw at Highbury was a goalless draw one autumnal Saturday when Birmingham City were the visitors in the early 1980s. Actually, I may have seen worse but this morning that is the fixture which immediately came to mind. David Seaman was in goal that day and it is far to say that he had nothing to do that afternoon as huff met puff and nothing actually happened. Well, not much anyway.
Manchester City arrived at The Emirates with a game plan. Unfortunately for Arsenal, nobody was nimble enough to let the air out of the fleet of coaches that the richest club in the world hired to park outside of their penalty area. Still, the City Board will no doubt be pleased that they have been able to drive them off the pitch without having to call a Kwik Fit fitter to get them moving. Arsenal is just sooooo middle class these days that we cannot even be relied upon to nick the wheels.
In truth, the complaints about the visitors tactics are misplaced. City needed to come away with a point having lost last weekend and duly did so; at this stage of their season, the result will always be of more importance than the performance. And, to a certain extent, the same held true for Arsenal, needing to halt a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.
There is not much to write about the match, ninety minutes that passed in a breeze of uneventful activity. Given was tested notably by Nasri and Diaby, the latter bringing a save from the Irishman which ended the goalkeeper’s afternoon with a shoulder injury. Robin van Persie’s delightfully curled free kick inched past the upright in the closest effort to a goal which could be mustered as Arsenal struggled to find a way past Given’s replacement, the Faroe Islands national team ‘keeper.
At the other end, City posed no threat at all. What little service their forwards had was snuffed out by the defence with relative ease. The afternoon may just have been what Fabianski wanted following last weekend, the biggest test was trying to complete The Guardian crossword using only the characters in The Godfather.
Wenger said afterwards:
You could see that the effects of recent defeats were in our heads. It was like we were forbidden to lose today and we just blindly throw everything forward because we knew we couldn’t afford to lose the game.
Understandable though it is, the outcome was disappointing.
For all of City’s spoiling tactics, there was enough guile in the Arsenal team to have made more of the situation. Confidence has taken a huge knock, rapid exits from the Champions League and the title race has created a chasm of disappointment into which some minds have fallen. The players need to pick themselves up and regroup once more, knowing that two wins creates a feel good factor at the end of the season.
That might be the last thing on their minds at the moment and I am sure that some are already looking forward to a South African adventure. There are still matters at hand which need to be resolved before then and the visit to Blackburn is the most immediate. The returning players, including Arshavin, can breathe new life into the dying embers of this season and let us hope that they do for the greatest shame would be that this season drift into mediocrity.
And look, a whole post-match blog without mentioning Him…oh, bugger.