Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City Six Things: final third incision the difference

Silva celebrates the second –

Manchester City won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, producing a scoreline that would imply on paper that Arsenal’s performance was merely a carbon-copy of the two clubs’ meeting in Sunday’s League Cup Final. To describe this match as such though wouldn’t quite capture the nature of proceedings: here’s six things from the Premier League clash.

Final third incision

What fundamentally separated the two sides was not 90 minutes of territorial dominance from City, but short bursts of truly elite quality once they entered the final third. The first example of that came on 15 minutes, when Leroy Sane cut inside from the left to escape numerous defenders and feed Bernardo Silva, who got goal-side of Sead Kolasinac to curl into the far corner.

Arsenal’s huff and puff

The attendance – which must have been far lower than the 58,420 that was farcically announced – might have exposed, as well as the bad weather, a sense of resignation from Arsenal. The players didn’t entirely cave in: Aaron Ramsey was one of the home side’s better players and forced two good saves from Ederson Moraes, who also stopped Granit Xhaka’s long-range free-kick. However, their fluency at the final third was nowhere near the level of their elite visitors.

Selfless Sergio

Sergio Aguero is on the hunt for his 200th goal in English football’s top flight – an achievement only 28 players have ever achieved since records began in 1888. That wasn’t obvious on 28 minutes though when, after some dazzling work from Sane, the Argentine had the awareness to release David Silva, who completed a fine team move with a cool finish. While Arsenal’s positioning could be questioned at times, their defensive deficiencies could not be attributed to a lack of desire. If anything, they conceded the third goal due to over-zealous pressing that allowed City to play through the gaps; another fine move involving Aguero and De Bruyne was finished off by a simple finish from Sane.

On me Ederson

Nicolas Otamendi had looked suspect at times and on 53 minutes, he conceded a penalty for a clumsy foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 30-year-old might be grateful for events thereafter because, not only did the referee show a yellow card rather than a red, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw his penalty saved by Ederson. The Brazilian had been a confident and assured presence all evening; potentially awkward, swerving shots from range were held as if by a magnet. By contrast, the 35-year-old Petr Cech looked a shadow of the goalkeeper he once was.

Wasteful Gunners

The second half was a formality, but Pep Guardiola might be minorly disappointed with elements of sloppiness that crept into his side’s display, as simple passes went astray. Arsenal though lacked the ruthlessness to get back into the game, a criticism that applies most pertinently to Aubameyang, who fired wide with an improvised effort just before the hour mark. That lack of final quality summed up the performance from Arsene Wenger’s side, whose season rests on their performance in the Europa League – which they are around 6/1 with most bookmakers to win via codice promo eurobet.

City a different beast

The combined 87 minutes of football that surrounded Manchester City’s three goals did not contain relentless brilliance; Pep’s side had to withstand spells of pressure. And yet, while other champions-elect might have drawn that type of game, City were so extremely productive in short periods, that they didn’t need to play at full throttle for 90 minutes. Arsenal had spent all week tackling ‘The Beast from the East’, but the one from the north-west is proving even harder to repel.