Much of the build-up to Manchester City’s game against Arsenal centred around the two teams’ managers Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta who are now rivals in the Premier League.
Their first league meeting of the new season started cautiously as neither team appeared willing to commit too many men forward. This feeling-out process was then emphatically broken by Manchester City when they took the lead through a Raheem Sterling strike in the 23rd minute.
Despite all the attacking talent on show, the game produced no more goals, though. Their solitary-goal win takes the Citizens up to tenth place in the league table, two points behind 6th-placed Arsenal.
On that note, here are five talking points from Manchester City’s 1-0 Premier League win at home against Arsenal.
#5 Willian disappoints as a false 9 against Manchester City
When Arsenal’s starting-XI for the Premier League game against Manchester City was announced, many thought that they finally got what they had been craving for: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the CF role.
For far too long, the best striker in the league had been suffering on the left-wing, having to track back opposing right-backs. Instead, Arteta continued his unpredictability streak and deployed Willian as a false 9 with Aubameyang still on the left.
Judging by the Brazilian’s overall performance, it’s safe to say that the manager’s decision wasn’t justified.
Willian didn’t offer more than the likes of more capable forward options on the bench. This was an experiment from Arteta that many fans won’t want to see again.
#4 Sergio Aguero makes his much-awaited return
For the majority of this season, Manchester City have had to use makeshift strikers up front due to injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
During this period, Guardiola has used the likes of Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres in the CF role but to no avail. However, the return of Aguero raised the spirits of everyone at Manchester City.
Having not kicked a ball in over 116 days, the Argentinean understandably wasn’t at his best against Arsenal.
Up against a game Gabriel Magalhaes, the 32-year-old completed 18 passes, created two chances, lost possession six times and attempted a shot. In the coming weeks, the legendary striker could get back to his near best, though.
Published 18 Oct 2020, 02:00 IST