Sep 23, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT
Man of the Match: Joleon Lescott was left disappointed near the end of the match, his dive for an Arsenal shot unable to block the game-tying goal, but if it wasn’t for his great individual effort in the first half, City would have never had a lead to protect. Elevating over two defenders for a 40th minute corner, Lescott headed home an opening goal that nullified a half’s worth of control by Arsenal, sending the defending champions into break up 1-0.
Packaged for takeaway:
- What was Roberto Mancini thinking? Everybody knew Arsenal would start a three-man midfield of Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, and Santi Cazorla. How did the City manager respond? Not well. He deployed a 4-4-2 formation with Yaya Touré and Javi García in midfield. Not only was City outmanned, but Mancini had gone with García instead of the industry of somebody like Gareth Barry (on the bench).
- The deployment ceded Arsenal control of the game while allowing them to pressure City’s defenders with four players: Gervinho, Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey and Cazorla. While pressing, the Gunners were still able to match up two-on-two in the middle, but with Javi García a non-factor amid the crowd, Diaby was able to roam from his deep position with impunity.
- No surprise, Arsenal dominated the ball in the first half. If it wasn’t for an incredibly poor touch from Gervinho on a 16th minute pass from Aaron Ramsey, the Gunners would have been ahead.
- Instead, City was able to hold out until a string of Arsenal mistakes gifted them the lead:
- In the 39th minute, Kieran Gibbs misjudged a cross floated from City’s left. The Arsenal left back jumped under the ball, leaving him little choice but to head the ball over the byline for a corner.
- On David Silva’s corner, second choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone replicated Gibbs’ mistake, ran under the ball, leaving an abandoned goal as he flailed at the ball.
- At the far post, Lescott was able to our-jump two defenders, redirect the ball into the empty net, giving City an unlikely lead.
- At halftime, Mancini was able to atone for his original selection, brining on Jack Rodwell for Scott Sinclair. The change helped offset Arsenal’s advantage through the middle, though City were still essentially playing a 4-4-2. The big difference: Rodwell played very narrow, often drifting into a central position to help against Cazorla.
- The change also took the steam out of what had been a vibrant first half. The midfield battle played out to a standstill (a dull 25 minutes in an otherwise compelling match). It was only when Arsenal started to adjust their tactics that the game opened up:
- In the 80th minute, City nearly took advantage of Arsenal’s pursuit, with Yaya Touré leading what’s becoming a trademark counter attack. Mannone was able to push a Sergio Aguero shot wide of the right post.
- In the 82nd minute, Santi Cazorla found space outside the box to unload on a shot Joe Hart could only push over for a corner.
- On the ensuing restart, Laurent Koscielny intercepted a Joleon Lescott clearance. When Touré failed to close him down, Koscielny finished into the right of City’s net for the equalizer.
- Moments later, Vincent Kompany almost put an overhead kick past Mannone, with Aguero pushing a second chance wide after Koscielny’s errant clearance went right to the otherwise offside attacker.
- Late in the match, Gervinho had a chance to atone for his early mistake, given an open shot on goal from 20 yards out. The chance was skied into the crowd. If there’s one player that could have turned this match in Arsenal’s favor, it was Gervinho.
- That was the last big chance of the match, Arsenal holding on to a point most onlookers will feel was earned. But given the advantages Mancini handed them from the get-go, Arsenal should have taken full points.
- For City, the match is a disappointment in the big picture. When you’re the defending champions, you never expect to drop points at home. But the players responded well to the bad hand they were dealt, and although they should rue being so close to three and only coming away with one, it was a good point, all things considered.
May 22, 2013, 8:17 PM EDT
If PSG’s willing to take Rooney’s wages of their hands, Manchester United can justify moving on.
May 22, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Houston’s defensive leader sees his banned doubled by the Disciplinary Committee.
May 22, 2013, 6:47 PM EDT
Tom Sermanni has brought new talent into the national team, but it’s too early to know the extent to which the U.S.’s roster will see new faces.
May 22, 2013, 6:02 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo will serve a two-match ban. José Mourinho will skirt it.
May 22, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
Michele Beadle and friends take a look at what NYCFC means to the New York sports scene.
May 22, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT
We tend to beat up the Chivas organization for its off-the-wall strategic approaches and front-office instability, but what exactly is wrong with the team on the field?
May 22, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT
Yesterday’s announcement included few surprises ahead of the U.S.’s June 2 match at BMO Field.
May 22, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT
Well, what took them so long to get into the party?
May 22, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
Looks like a mixed bag for the American trio:
May 22, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT
As the towering English forward weighs up his options, should he return to Liverpool, sign for West Ham or go elsewhere?
May 22, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT
With Dortmund’s main attacker threat out injured, can Dortmund still lift the Champions League trophy?
May 22, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT
Can the Yankees provide a viable option for New York City FC to play in? Of course they can. Maybe.
May 22, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
They have owners and an employee, but now comes the hardest part for MLS expansion club NYCFC. The challenges ahead are daunting:
May 22, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT
The one accolade no EPL player wants on their soccer resume…
May 22, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT
New York City FC announces Reyna as first employee, a good first move, right?
May 22, 2013, 10:06 AM EDT
Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Red Bull Arena… which venue could work best as a temporary home for New York City FC?
May 22, 2013, 8:54 AM EDT
The magic of the Cup lives on, as four PDL sides now face trips to MLS teams in the third-round. Is this the stuff dreams are made of?
May 22, 2013, 8:19 AM EDT
Pulis joins long list of EPL managers departing… is English soccer becoming more ruthless?
May 21, 2013, 8:02 PM EDT
Wait a minute … didn’t MLS commissioner Don Garber say there “is no Plan B …” beyond the Queens location?
May 21, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT
Well, phooey! Didn’t Dempsey just go through a summer of transfer instability?
- With PSG willing to match Wayne Rooney’s wages, Manchester United has somebody to bail them out 0
- Looking at the United States’ roster ahead of their Canada rematch 0
- A stadium for New York City FC – tougher than you think 8
- Claudio Reyna announced as New York City FC Director of Football 0
- Possible temporary homes for New York City FC 9
- Bigger impact on U.S. soccer growth: David Beckham or Pele? (35)
- It’s official: Manchester City and the Yankees will own and operate Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. (35)
- Why MLS was so focused on New York as the 20th market (17)
- Notes from today’s big announcement on MLS, NYCFC the Yankees and the rest (14)
- Landon Donovan and a Gold Cup squeeze? He deserves better (9)
- Live Extra: Watch Penguins-Senators, Game 4
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- PBT: Rugged Pacers hope to slow high-flying Heat
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- OlyTalk: Coach K will lead Team USA in Rio Games
- PFT: Crabtree tears achilles, out six months