By 1970’s Gooner
1. Heavy legs?
What a pathetic performance by the Arsenal players in the first half. They could not find each other even with short passes, their free kicks and crosses rarely got past the first defender and their heavy legs never allowed them to play in a quick tempo. Cesc Fabregas was particularly guilty.
May be they were affected by the international week that a lot of them were involved in but Manchester City had players on international duty too.
In the second half after probably a good spanking by Wenger in the dressing room but more importantly with the introduction of Rosicky the whole team were rejuvenated.
Fabregas became more efficient and went more forward to give support to van Persie, Rosicky gave added impetus to the attacks and suddenly balls were finding their intended targets.
2. No width
Wenger elected to start with Bendtner and Diaby on the flanks in a 4 3 3 formation. Diaby was abysmal, holding onto the ball when he should have been passing it and when he got round to passing it he could not find his players.
More significantly he often strayed infield thus starving the team of the width on the left hand side that he should have been providing.
Bendtner was also ineffective for most of the time on the other wing. This meant that van Persie got no meaningful crosses or penetrative passes to exploit.
3. Clichy and Diaby go awol
In the first half Diaby helped Clichy deal with the threat of Wright Philips. But in the second both were guilty of leaving that left hand side almost unguarded. Both the vital second and third goals that killed the game off came from that side.
For the second Clichy was dispossessed up the field, Diaby was nowhere to be found and Song had to rush back to cover, unsuccesfuly.
For their third Clichy was tricked by Philips who raced clear to plant the ball on Adebayor’s head.
4. Almunia lets the team down
He was slow in coming out for the high ball against Portsmouth when they scored their goal but it didn’t matter. It mattered today. He was slow to react to Richards’s header and by the time he got to it the ball had hit the post and his back.
Goals change games and this goal gave them belief and had us chasing the game committing players up front in a second half.
Still we got Rosicky back and he looks back to his old best. This is a real bonus as he can add quality and creativeness to the team.
Van Persie 6