The Gunners Hold Their Own Against Manchester City
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini showed up to home court Etihad Stadium fighting for a win to close out his final chapter with Man City, instead he thanked his fans, those who hadn’t left already, for three great years while expressing a measure of disappointment that he couldn’t go out with another win.
Arsenal donned their away jerseys and fielded Etihad amidst a sea of blue stadium seats, and fans wearing blue and white, but that didn’t intimidate them out of catching up every time they fell behind. The story of Arsenal’s defense, however, is a bit less inspiring.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech gave up two goals to The Sky Blues, each putting the team behind. To his credit, both of the shots found their way into the goal right at the corner. Likewise, the defense in front of the goal was a bit lacklustre in both instances. Still, Kevin de Bruyne’s long range shot to break the half time tie might be further evidence of a chink in Cech’s armor. Cech has given away 11 goals from outside the box, which is more long-range goals conceded than any other team in the premier league besides Stoke.
On Arsenal’s offensive side, Olivier Giroud ended his 16 game streak of failing to score a goal, tying up the score 1-1 just a few minutes after Aguero’s opening goal on Cech. Aguero’s left footed drive into the bottom corner might have been a tough shot to block for Cech, and some of the blame is also sure to rest on the shoulders of Arsenal’s failure to get control of the ball for those first eight minutes, but Giroud proved that his drought was over while simultaneously proving that the Gunners weren’t going to let some early-game mistakes turn into a loss.
After Kevin de Bruyne’s long range goal, Giroud stepped up again by setting Alexis up to get a shot into Man City’s bottom corner, once again tying up the score now at 2-2. But the game didn’t end there as neither side seemed willing to settle for a draw. A few plays could have made fans sweat fearing a last minute loss, especially Bony’s attempt which came the closest, just barely being deflected by the crossbar.
Arsenal might not have given up a loss, but they didn’t get the win they were hoping for either. A win was thought to ensure Arsenal a third place spot in the Premier League, and therefore entry into next season’s Champions League. But even with this draw they still have a chance to reach those goals.
Only time will tell, but with Giroud back in full form, and second place now up for grabs, there’s little doubt that Arsenal has a good chance, and no doubt at all about their motivation.