Manchester City would have become overwhelming favourites to secure the Premier League title and moved back to the top of the table on goal difference if the Citizens had sealed a big three points at The Emirates. However, Arsenal had other ideas as Arsene Wenger’s men sought to capitalise on Chelsea’s shock loss at Crystal Palace, too. City were ultra-dominant in the first half, but the second was a much closer affair. City’s lethargic performance in the second half followed on from their mid-week 3-0 victory over Manchester City. The Citizens shaded the opposition everywhere except on the scoreboard and couldn’t convert their dominance. No doubt José Mourinho was privately thanking the “specialist in failure” on Saturday evening.
Mathieu Flamini provided a masterclass in Saturday’s encounter as the Frenchman almost single-handily brough his side back from the brink. His goal was taken with the consummate ease of a striker on form. However, the 30-year-old is a defensive midfielder, with the Gunners dynamo another key player to have previously left north London, joining AC Milan in 2008. His return was greeted with scepticism by many of The Emirates faithful and many believed Wenger was simply trying to save face and scrimp on a transfer fee. However, Flamini’s attacking display will prove otherwise and he has proven one of the season’s better acquistions.
It was never so obvious that Frenchman Olivier Giroud isn’t suited to playing as a lone man up front for Arsenal. The 27-year-old, who signed in a £9.6m deal from Montpellier in 2011, slow and his predictable play meant that even cumbersome City centre-half Martin Demichelis was made to look a stand-out centre-half. The lack of cover, which has been written and rewritten about, is another factor in what looks to prove a fruitless season for Arsenal in the Premier League. Yaya Sanogo is young and inexperienced at top-flight level,and although he does possess pace, his lack of finishing won’t be troubling defences anytime soon.
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