Thursday, February 2, 2023

3 Talking Points From Arsenal’s Pre-season Win Over Manchester City

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester City completed their pre-season preparations with a 2-3 defeat against domestic rivals Arsenal in Gothenburg, Sweden. City took the lead via Aguero goal from a pinpoint Raheem Sterling cross and the Blues looked to be well on their way to a victory. But Arsenal turned things around in the second half with strikes from Iwobi, Walcott and Akpom before Iheanacho pulled one back for Pep Guardiola’s troops. Manchester City came close in the final minutes but Petr Cech was up to the task to parry Yaya Toure’s effort before Navas wasted a chance by shooting over. While the result would have a downer, Pep cannot dwell on it longer and would like to work harder with the squad in the remaining days leading up to the opening day. Wenger would have been pleased with his troops as they looked sharper and possessed a better cutting edge than their rivals but he would have been gutted as their injury woes continued.

We look at three talking points from the game;

STONES IS ESSENTIAL

Pep has preferred playing Kolarov at centre-back throughout the pre-season and if yesterday was anything to go by, Kolarov IS NOT a central-defender. Pep’s vision of playing out from the back requires ball-playing defenders who are willing to take chances with their passing and while Kolarov is adept at going forward with the ball he is not cut out for the role Pep is currently employing him in. Stones would suit the role perfectly and the desperation to sign him is understood from City’s point of view.

ARSENAL INJURY WOES CONTINUE

Arsenal won the game but it has come at a great cost from them as Gabriel was forced off injured in the latter stages. With Mertesacker out and Koscielny deemed to be short on match fitness, the opener against Liverpool will most likely see the Gunners without any of their first choice defence. Rob Holding and Callum Chambers are in line to form a centre-back pairing unless Arsenal act fast and sign up a defender in time. But it looks highly unlikely and Liverpool will be licking their lips at the prospect of going at their understrength defence after smashing 4 past Barcelona recently.

PEP GUARDIOLA NEEDS MORE TIME

A lot is expected off the Catalan and after a morale-boosting win against Borussia Dortmund aligned with impressive performances from the youngsters, things were looking up. But a slew of mistakes and visible difficulty in adapting to the demanding tactics of the new manager has pulled City back down to Earth and it is evident Pep needs more games with his main players before we see the Sky Blues in full bloom. But Pep has to be patient as with players like Sane, Aguero, Silva, De Bruyne and Gundogan will eventually play together and the prospect of a well-oiled machine with these vital cogs will be a prospect the City faithful will be relishing.

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