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The Ped Report City 3-1 Arsenal

The Ped Report    City 3-1 Arsenal

The sun shone brightly as the calypso football machine that is Manchester City entertained the Ashburton Grove Bottling Factory & Grass Munching Association, otherwise known as Arsenal arriving in town to put a stop to the jet-propelled City steamroller.

Once the team sheets were handed in, it was immediately clear that this was to be another routine victory for the Blues. The inclusion of Absent Ozil for this match together with Chopper Coquelin in midfield, robbed the Gooners of any creativity almost as much as the benching of Lacazette deprived them of any serious attacking threat. City were starting effectively against nine and a half men. Why would you play want away striker Sanchez alone up top against the team he wants to go to? What sense did Arsene Wenger make of that?

Guardiola probably recognised this match as a potential threat to City`s umblemished record and went with his top side which included club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero at the expense of de Jesus. It was always going to be thus as the Mighty Atom received his accolade for his achievements to the adulation of his adoring fans.

And so to business…in fact the Gooners got the better of the early exchanges without actually generating anything that constituted a threat to City. Sanchez, as usual, was busy but without support as Ozil started with the intent of providing nothing. There was no real attack from out wide and Ramsay looked to be the only source of any real pace.

City stood firm more or less with ease and then after twenty minutes decided that their generosity had reached its zenith. Up stepped the genius known as De Bruyne to sting Cech`s hands with a right foot rifle. The Arsenal net minder parried the ball out and a half clearance found its way back to De Bruyne who played a neat give-and-go with the effervescent Fernandinho before hammering home a left foot rocket launch. This was City`s 50th goal of the season in all competitions and very fitting that the man who has made an abundance of them actually scored this landmark conversion.

This was the signal for City to literally tear the Gooners to shreds and it could have easily been 5-0 by the break. City were a bit profligate in not taking chances especially when Sterling and Sane were one-on-one with an Arsenal defender and Sterling made the wrong decision allowing that defender to clear.

As it happened it could equally have been 1-1 after Ederson made an extraordinary save from Ramsay with the game in first half stoppage time. What a keeper this man is. I actually heard on a radio show last week that he could be a defensive midfielder for any other team in the Premier League such is his panache and precision with his feet. This save proved he has hands as well as he pushed the shot to safety.

Wenger clearly realised that nothing was working for his team and brought on Lacazette in the second half, but it was still all City early on. Sterling raced into the Arsenal box past Monreal who, just as he had in the first half, hauled him down manually and making sure by slipping a foot between Sterling`s. This time Mr Oliver was less generous and whereas he`d waved on a similar challenge in the first half, this time the decision was to add to Aguero`s goal tally as he stepped up to take the spot-kick, sending Cech in the other direction and clipping the ball home off the inside of the post. I find it astonishing that Wenger accused Sterling of diving when he has been the president of one of the worst set of grass munchers in Christendom.

At 2-0 City were coasting but were brought back to reality when Lacazette showed his worth in driving the ball through the legs of Ederson to bring it back to 2-1, effectively sticking two fingers up to Wenger. The £50 million plus striker wants to play in matches like this and the minute he was on the field things looked up a bit for Arsenal.

But they couldn`t capitalise on it and the Blues regained control of the match and attacked from all sides without adding to the score. That was until on 74 minutes when Fernandinho found Silva on the right. Silva looked offside but there was no flag, so he made space, changed feet and slid it into the six- yard box for de Jesus to prod home. He couldn`t miss and he didn`t.

That ended the scoring for the day and the 3-1 scoreline flattered Arsenal who gripe at the penalty award and will be bewildered as to how Silva got away with that one. But you play to the whistle, is that not the first thing your primary school football teacher told you?

The songs started…"Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay", "Why the #@&$ are you still here" and "City..tearing opponents apart again" as the Blue Mooners celebrated another impressive win, ticked another box and clocked another three points.

Two hours later the Blues were eight points clear at the top of the league as Stretford`s finest got whacked by Chelsea, suddenly back to life after getting panned by Roma in midweek. As I drove back to Sue`s with United losing and Everton at 0-2, the weekend was becoming complete. Liverpool`s 4-1 win at West Ham had dear Sue in smiley-miley form on Saturday evening and City winning and United losing only meant that an Everton defeat would have made it four out of four. But as I listened to the conclusion of the match at Stamford Bridge, Everton somehow managed to score three and Watford managed to miss a stoppage time penalty to reduce the overall effect of the weekend.

From City`s viewpoint, this was once again an excellent all-round performance where it was difficult to select a man-of-the-match. De Bruyne took the stadium vote but it could easily have been the industrious Fernandinho, the amazing David Silva or even the sure-footed John Stones. This is becoming a weekly selection headache at Planet Etihad.

Arsenal simply had to go home and lick their many wounds and feel relieved that this was not a total drubbing.

As we go into yet another of these detestful "international weeks" let`s hope that the lads remain healthy and are ready to go fox-hunting, even though this will be without Otamendi, cautioned again and therefore missing the next match.

After the visit to Leicester, Feyenoord are due at the Etihad for the next page in life in the Champions League. The fixtures never let up, and I suspect City, over the next couple of months will use their full squad in order to cope with the demands. How awful is it when City withdraw Sane and bring on Bernardo? Withdraw Silva and bring on Gundogan? It must be an opposition manager`s worst nightmare. No crumbs of comfort offered by Guardiola.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday November 6 2017
Time: 8:15PM

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