Mikel Arteta was always facing an uphill battle when returning to the Etihad to face his old boss and their star-studded players, and so it proved. Pep Guardiola’s side looked fitter and hungrier and they totally dominated the game throughout.
Arsenal hardly ever had the ball, to be fair, as City kept 67% of the possession and attacked Bernd Leno at will, having 20 shots on goal to Arsenal’s three, and not one of those measly three were even on target.
Arteta was hardly overjoyed at the end, but he did try to look at the positives, like having to try even harder with only ten men for the second half. “Everything started in a really difficult way when we lost Granit after one minute,” Mikel Arteta told Arsenal.com.
“We had moments in the first 30 minutes that we were really competing for the game, that we were putting them in trouble.
“We had some really open situations to finalise actions much better than what we did. We failed to finish them even on target.
“After that, just before half-time we conceded the goal from an individual error. After that, straight away, the red card and penalty gave us a mountain to climb against this quality opposition. To play with 10 men for 45 minutes is a really difficult thing to do.
“We have to start winning football matches as quick as possible,”
“We have to see who we have available to get that starting XI after the injuries that we got tonight.
“The boys made a great effort here playing with 10 men for so long. So let’s recover first and then tomorrow we can start to think about that.”
So, let’s just put yesterday’s game down to ‘a bad day at the office’, and hope that we can get things back on track for Saturday. Come on Mikel, get your act together…