Tactical battle between Manchester City and Arsenal ends in a draw


Whenever Pep Guardiola duels against Mikel Arteta, his former assistant, the tactical battle steals all the spotlight and it would be no different this Sunday (31), with the leadership of the Premier League in the 30th round. The 0-0 between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, which allows the Liverpool relaxing in the lead with two points ahead of the Gunners, is a reflection of the teams’ strategies and how ineffective the attacks were

For at least 25 minutes, Manchester were the better team at the Ettihad Stadium. He pressed better than his rival, monopolized the ball and moved a lot to look for spaces. An example of this movement was the role of full-backs Josko Gvardiol and Manuel Akanji. When the ball was on the left, the Croatian played as a winger, and gave Phil Foden freedom to float into the middle. As a result, Bukayo Saka was forced to recompose and the Gunners’ defensive line was left with five defenders – on the other side, on the rises of Akanji, Jesus performed the same role perfectly.

This was Arteta’s way of preventing the midfielders from infiltrating the space between the full-back and defender. And he worked very well. The Citizens only finished in real danger once, via dead ball. In a corner taken at the first post, Aké finished strangely, didn’t catch the ball well, and David Raya showed reflexes to fit in.

Guardiola was forced to remove Aké at 25, when he felt his calf and was replaced by Rico Lewis, who came on at right-back and moved Akanji to defense. Precisely after this change stop, Arsenal improved in the game and were no longer trapped in defense. And here comes another tactical aspect of the game: Ben White’s climbs.

The native defender, who has played on the wing for almost two years, acted as a winger and allowed Saka to play inside. There were many times when the Englishman was used on the right baseline and it was there that he created good chances. In one of them, early on, he crossed and Gabriel Jesus, now on the left wing, finished close to the post. Afterwards, White’s cross reached Jakub Kiwior, who supported Jesus in the half-moon, where he adjusted it to his left and hit it low.

Overall, it can be said that Arsenal were slightly superior in the first half because, when they defended, they did not allow Manchester City clear chances – the home team only touched the opponent’s area three times, with Erling Haaland only being called into action on seven occasions. The Gunners still had better chances than their opponents.

City and Arsenal are locked in a tactical battle and attacks fail (Photo: Icon Sport)

In the final stage, City didn’t even hit the goal, while Arsenal only shot once

The tactical dedication and concentration in the first half was not as high in the final stage and we saw more mistakes on both sides, especially because time was passing and no one had changed the score. In the opening minutes, City got a shot from outside Matteo Kovacic after a great play by Lewis. The other side came from a failure to release the ball, which allowed Saka to cross low and the ball was barely touched by Jesus into the net.

Pep Guardiola made changes that gave his team more dribbling quality. Jack Grealish and Jérémy Doku entered on the wings in Kovacic and Foden’s places, which made Bernardo Silva line up with Rodri when passing the ball and the full-backs Lewis and Gvardiol occupied only the center of the field in the offensive moment.

Arteta responded with new energy in the middle (Thomas Partey) and on the left flank (Takehiro Tomiyasu). Afterwards, Jesus received the applause of his former fans when he left for Leandro Trossard.

The Citizens were better for practically the entire second half, but they had, once again, difficulty in demanding that Raya make a save – when Gvardiol arranged for Haaland to send it towards the goal at the second post, the attacker drilled the ball, which went across the baseline. . Meanwhile, the Gunners had even more offensive problems as they didn’t retain the ball and didn’t finish once until the 40th minute, when Trossard demanded that Ortega pass.

In the end, despite being more dominant (over 70% possession), City were unable to do anything other than cross, hence the zero on the scoreboard, in addition to Arsenal’s defensive posture.

Premier League Table

Liverpool leads, two ahead of Arsenal and three ahead of City (Photo: SofaScore)

Start / England / Premier League / Tactical battle between Manchester City and Arsenal ends in a draw – good for Liverpool

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