Monday, October 25, 2010

Has Arsenal Whippersnappers Arrived?

by Bagga Wilks

Arsenal defeated Manchester City 3-0 on their own home grounds. Winning away from home is a big deal in the English Premier League. All last season, the Gunners were outgunned by the top teams. Whenever they matched up with Chelsea or Manchester United, it was like boys against men. Arsenal on Sunday, October 24, 2010 took apart the opulent Manchester City with rich pinpointed short passing.

Let us not rush to judgement. Five minutes into the game, Manchester City’s central defender, Boyati fouled Chamokh on his way to goal and was given a red card. Manchester City had to play the remaining 85 minutes with 10 men. A team that passes crisply and moves the ball decisively is at an advantage playing against a team with a man down.
It is apparent that Manchester City’s coach, Mancini, intended to pressure the ball and not allow Arsenal to get into the rhythm passing game. Mancini, like the Real Madrid coach, plays the game defensively and the team’s attack is built on the fast break. With one man down, Arsenal had the necessary room to pick Manchester City apart and with Fabregas returning to the lineup, the Spaniard was splendid with his telling through-balls.
Mancini showed his limitations as a coach as he and his team became discombobulated. Yaya Toure was sent to play central defender and afterwards Boateng replaced Toure and Barry replaced Boateng. Tevez was his normal busy self and tried to interject life into Manchester City’s offense but shortly after the half-time, he had to alight with an injury. Micah Richards under the previous regime tended to be erratic but under Mancini played more controlled and displayed his offensive prowess on the right wing.
The win against Manchester City should boost Arsenal’s confidence against the top teams. Song, the mid fielder, has made a great leap forward in his game this season. Sagna, the right back is a much improved player. But Arsenal’s fortunes will be determined by the ability of Fabregas to stay uninjured. Against Manchester City, the boys of Wenger might have long last grown into men. Let’s see them perform at the same level against a top team devoid of a man down.

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