Match report: Arsenal 1 – 3 Man City

Arsenal (1) 1 Manchester City (1) 3

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Wednesday, 15th February 2023. Kick-off time: 7.30pm

(4-3-3) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhães, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Martin Ødegaard (c), (Jorge Luiz Frello Filho) Jorginho, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli.

Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Jakob Kiwior, Rob Holding, Leandro Trossard, Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson, Matt Turner, Amario Cozier-Duberry

Scorers: Bukayo Saka (42 mins)

Yellow Cards: Takehiro Tomiyasu, Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 64%

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Darren England

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR John Brooks; AVAR Marc Perry

Attendance: 60,276

Without stating the obvious, tonight’s match is the biggest Premier League game of the season so far. Without a doubt, this is a must-win for both clubs, although it is probably a wee bit early to be calling this game a title decider, as there is simply too much of the season still to go for this one result to offer anything definitive. Also, it has to be said that this year’s title race is not yet a two-horse race by any means.

With a real crackle in the air, the visitors started proceedings. Just over a minute of the start, we had the first shot of the match, when Granit Xhaka’s shot flew over the bar, after some sterling work by Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. It is always the case with matches as important as this one, the opening stages of the game saw both teams trying each other’s defences out, however, Arsenal started the game in a more positive manner than the visitors did, just looking for gaps in the City defence. After a free kick taken by Martin Ødegaard that went nowhere, City stated to probe our defence with Jack Grealish and Ryadh Mahrez causing problems. We cut out a City pass in midfield and Jorginho set up Eddie Nketiah for a shot that was blocked by Ruben Dias, and then we had a penalty shout denied when Nathan Ake dived in to head away a ball from Eddie Nketiah in the penalty area, which was a challenge that sent our man to the floor. Surprisingly, a free-kick went City’s way, as Eddie Nketiah’s boot made contact with the head of Nathan Ake. Mikel Arteta took the chance to speak to his players whilst Aaron Ramsdale was sorting out some boot issues, and as the match started to settle down, the midfielders on both sides were trying to work out a way to get through the tight defences tonight. However, our first opportunity of the match fell to Oleksandr Zinchenko, and his cross caught the head of Eddie Nketiah, whose glancing header went just wide of the post. On the twenty-fourth minute, the visitors opened the scoring when, under pressure, Takehiro Tomiyasu played a weak back pass to Aaron Ramdale whch was pounced upon by Kevin de Bruyne, who curled the ball past the oncoming Aaron Ramsdale that went just inside the post, which was really City’s first real attempt on our goal. Our response was strong as we came forward in earnest. Martin Ødegaard slotted the ball to Bukayo Saka, who took too long on the ball, and was crowded out by the visitors’ defence, and although we are trying to break down the visitors’ defence, City are deploying game managment tactics in the form of time wasting very early in the game, slowing up proceedings with goalkeeper Ederson being booked for timekeeping, shortly after Kyle Walker received a yellow card for running back on the pitch without permission after treatment. Anyway, just a few minutes later, we were quite rightly awarded a penalty when Eddie Nketiah’s shot was cleared off the line by Nathan Ake, but was whacked by Ederson just after he took the shot. Bukayo Saka took the penalty, sent Ederson the wrong way, and we were equal again, and justifiably so, it has to be said. In the six minutes of injury time, City received their third yellow card of the game when Bernardo Silva cynically brought down Bukayo Saka, and although the visitors hit our crossbar with a ball that bounced high from a free-kick, both sides went into the break honours even.

As we kicked off the second half, with the match still in the balance, we need to keep up the pressure on the visitors and continue to harrass them throughout this half. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, Takehiro Tomiyasu received a yellow card for trying steal a few yards on a throw-in and after a silly incident between Mikel Arteta and Kevin de Bruyne over a throw in, the crowd woke up and the atmosphere started to crackle again after a flat few minutes, and then Martin Ødegaard felt he was fouled by Bernardo Silva, but referee Anthony Taylor brushed his appeal away. Jorginho had a superb shot, which was nicely set up by Bukayo Saka, and then the visitors were seemingly awarded a penalty after a tussle between Erling Haaland and Gabriel, but thankfully VAR got it right this time and it was cancelled out becaue Kyle Walker was in an offside position. The match then started to descend in a physical, cynical one, with some very heavy tackling flying in, particularly from the visitors. Eddie Nketiah was booked for a soft challenge on Ruben Dias, and shotrtly afterwards a low cross from the right via Takehiro Tomiyasu trying to find the boot of Eddie Nketiah found fresh air instead, which was extremely unlucky. The match is fast and furious, scrappy, physical with no quarter given by anyone. A City free-kick saw Aaron Ramsdale making a fabulous save from the head of Nathan Ake; although the ball fell to Manuel Akanji, it was kicked away by Gabriel. With eighteen minutes of the game remaining, City took the lead when Jack Grealish scored their second goal of the night with a shot that came off Takehiro Tomiyasu following a weak pass from Gabriel that the visitors capitalised on. Leandro Trossard replaced Gabriel Martinelli shortly afterwards, and immediately made a positive impact. We had a penalty appeal turned down when Leandro Trossard clashed with Kyle Walker, and with nine minutes of the game remaining, Erling Haaland made it three for the visitors after receiving a ball from Kevin de Bruyne in our penalty area. Ben White and Fabio Vieira replaced Takehiro Tomiyasu and Granit Xhaka with seven minutes of the game remaining. Still, our heads didn’t go down, we continued trying to score, playing most of our football in the City half, and with a minute of normal time left, Eddie Nketiah’s glancing header went wide by a metre or so. In injury time, Leandro Trossard tried to score, but his effort fell onto the roof of the net. Despite a City appeal for a penalty after Ilkay Gundogan was tackled clumsily in the penalty area by William Saliba, which was immediately turned down by referee Anthony Taylor, the game slipped away from us, and shortly afterwards, the whistle was blown in order to bring matters to a close. 

Although we lost, the premiership title race is not over at all. We still have a game in hand, and there was a lot of errors out there tonight. Yes, we could have been more clinical in front of goal; yes, at times our defence was not as sharp as it could have been, but we have to hold our nerve, regroup, starting with Saturday’s game against Aston Villa. Although this is a massive psychological blow, we can still come back from this. The future is still very firmly in our hands.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday, 18th February at 12.30pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon


3 thoughts on “Match report: Arsenal 1 – 3 Man City

  1. Mani Thangadurai

    Ramsdale had a dreadful game in my opinion and IF he flops against Villa this weekend, questions MUST be asked. His decision-making is poor on many occasions.
    Jorginho did a fine job in Partey’s absence and acquitted himself well. He’ll do fine this weekend if Thomas can’t return. Saliba, Saka, and Trossard can also look back on some decent performances.
    The rest? RUBBISH. We need to bounce back against Unai’s Army.


    1. keenosafc Post author

      So you want questions asked after 1 poor performance? Fans like you probably call for wholesale changes after 1 bad game. Drop everyone. Play a complete different 11. You have no idea the importance of continuity to the team. Keep your comments to yourself. No one cases.


      1. Mani Thangadurai

        It’s ‘cares’, genius! AWFUL spelling again!
        And he was poor against Brentford for the goal he conceded. I KNOW how important it is to maintain continuity but at the same time, managers have a responsibility to not reward poor individual performances.


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