What a way to head into the international break!
Arsenal finally got the City monkey off their back and finally defeated the Cityzens in a Premier League contest. Granted, the bout was more of a chess match than an exciting affair but the Gunners negated City for most of Sunday’s encounter outside of a David Raya blunder when trying to clear his lines.
Arsenal finally pulled ahead in the 86th minute when substitute Gabriel Martinelli took a shot that deflected off Nathan Ake and into Ederson’s goal. Jubilation could be heard inside and outside the Emirates. I can tell you, I was there!
3 concerns ahead in Arsenal’s title quest
The Gunners head into the break atop of the league with Spurs having finally defeated the mighty powder blue giants from Manchester. So, is it finally Arsenal’s year? Well after eight matches anything can happen but three factors concern me with Arsenal moving forward.
Arsenal entered the match without Bukayo Saka and with the likes of Thomas Partey and Gabriel Martinelli on the bench. Granted, City were coming in without Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, and a suspended Rodri, but you saw a bit of stale play from Arsenal without their dynamic wingers.
Arsenal also had to rely on Jorginho for some time before the manager brought on Partey. Last season, Arsenal’s downfall was primarily down to fitness and a lack of depth. While losing a Martinelli or a Gabriel Jesus for a bit may not hamper the Gunners with options in attack, Arsenal can ill afford to lose the likes of Saka, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, and the two stalwart centre-backs in Gabriel and William Saliba.
The defence fell apart when Saliba was out for the last three months of 2022/23. Saka being our most dynamic player has to receive rest especially when he was injured in three consecutive games. Odegaard, who may be the Gunners’ best playmaker, and Rice, the world-class holding midfielder, have to remain healthy if Arsenal are to continue off this victory from City. There are 30 matches left but a clean bill of health is certainly a concern.
Continued on the next slide…