Tedious ninety minutes but a potentially huge point from the Arsenal

City and Arsenal this evening walked around a pitch for a bit doing absolutely sod all between them in a game reminiscent of a pre-season friendly. Almost certainly our most uneventful fixture of the season to date, and one that proved a right waste of a couple of hours for all who watched, i'm sure. The draw however does see us gain on Tottenham and disappointing game aside a point away at one of the Big Four should never be sniffed at.

Roberto decided to go with a midfield three as we thought he might, with Patrick Vieira replacing Emmanuel Adebayor. Pablo Zabaleta returned to the starting eleven at right-back in place of Nedum Onuoha.

Alex Song came back into the Arsenal side for academy graduate Craig Eastmond. Robin van Persie, who made an impressive comeback from injury in the second half of the defeat at White Hart Lane, started alone in attack. Mikael Silvestre kept his place in the centre of defence.

It's difficult to make such a dire serving of football sound at all interesting. At the break my notes simply read "Wayne Bridge injured, later replaced". An Arsenal team missing several of their key offensive players and whose hopes of the title had already gone really had no bite, and we sat back occasionally threatening on the break but rarely if at all actually troubling Fabianski.

It took forty minutes for the first real shot at goal - Samir Nasri hitting across Given from the left. To our credit we defended resolutely throughout the half, especially Kolo and Vince, but with the wingers stuck to their lines and nothing in terms of an attacking central midfielder Carlos Tevez ploughed a lonely furrow up front and we offered very, very little.

Even after the interval things didn't brighten up, though the introduction of Adebayor woke up the home crowd and when switched to 4-4-2 we at least began to keep the ball and pressure the opposition, but the whole affair had the feeling of a final day game in which neither side had anything at all to gain from winning.

The biggest talking point came just after the seventieth minute when a speculative shot from outside the area by midfielder Abou Diaby forced Shay Given into a relatively routine save down to his left. Sadly, the Irish centurion suffered what would appear to be a serious injury. Faroe Islands international Gunnar Nielsen came on for his debut and did okay under limited pressure, but losing Shay will come as a terrible blow.

I think we have to see this as a potentially vital point gained despite the fact that the Arsenal side we faced were down to their bare bones and generally off colour. Anything less than a draw today would have realistically meant we had to win all three of our remaining games, but it now should (though it might not pan out exactly this way) be a case of a win against Spurs and four points from the other six being enough.

The main plus point of this afternoon were the performances of the centre-halves, both of who were solid throughout. It's difficult to really point out any others, and i'm sure Arsenal fans would say similar about their side. At the start of the day i'm certain most of us would have taken Spurs losing and us not doing, plus a West Ham win means no final day six-pointer at Upton Park. Can't grumble.

Given (Nielsen '76), Zabaleta, Bridge (Richards '27), Toure, Kompany, de Jong, Vieira (Adebayor '53), Barry, A.Johnson, Tevez, Bellamy


  1. A refreshingly honest account. Gooner.

  2. shit match to be fair. well played man city, just beat the yiddy spurs to fourth please.

  3. I hope for your sake that your lack of attacking ambition doesn't cost 4th place. After 3 defeats on the trot Arsenal were never going to be that confident and the goal keeper/defence that conceded three goals in 10 minutes a week ago were never put under pressure. Bad luck for Given though. Hope he recovers soon.

  4. Goonermo: Your a sad man. Arsenal played shite and Man City didn't have to exert themselves to keep the children at bay. Spurs will get fourth, make no mistake. But I'm sure you will be shouting from your midden next season again about winning the EPL.

  5. The comments started of so nicely until a spud fan came along. I truly hope that Man City beat you and you fall flat on your faces once again.

  6. We don't have an Italian manager for nothing!

  7. Played it just about right i thought. Not many teams get anything off Arsenal. Well done Roberto.

  8. without a doubt a wasted opportunity. City could lose and still be in the same position. should have gone for the win. now they will have to win next 3 games period. spurs will get 6 points against bolton and burnley and even a point against city could be a bye bye 4th spot for city. the only things which makes me 5% content with a point is that Mancini was forced into substitutions. SWP and even Santa Cruz could have come... but let's see. 9 points a must now no two ways about it... and the possibility of it... well i'm not a negative person but, it sure is bleak.

  9. Why would you want Man City to take 4th - so another team can buy the title and put Arsenal yet further out of contention?! A blind and stupid opinion... It would actually suit the Gooners to have Spurs as comparible rivals rather than a superstar 11 they've got no chance against - fools!