Football, Premier League

Man City vs Arsenal: Honours even at the Etihad as defences come out on top in title 6 pointer

With little clear-cut chances and a tense match between title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad, Liverpool ended up two points ahead of their rivals in the Premier League.

All eyes were on this tantalising matchup in Manchester after Jurgen Klopp’s team overcame a late deficit to defeat Brighton earlier on Sunday. However, the magnitude of the final head-to-head between any of the three championship contenders this season appeared to be impeding the players of City and Arsenal.

The game’s biggest opportunity occurred in the first half when Nathan Ake short-handed a corner towards Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya. Soon after, the Dutchman would leave the game due to a calf issue, but even though that further exposed the injured City defence, Arsenal was unable to seriously test interim keeper Stefan Ortega.

After two misses from City substitution Jeremy Doku, Leandro Trossard finally forced him to work in the closing minutes from an angle.

With just six minutes remaining, Josko Gvardiol’s knockdown seemed to open things up for Erling Haaland, who hardly had a kick and missed the ball entirely.

Man City’s home winning streak now stands at an incredible 39 games, so Arsenal, who had dropped their previous eight meetings in all competitions, can look at the fact that they were able to salvage a point.

But despite defeating City in the Community Shield and the Premier League at the Emirates, they are now two points behind Liverpool as a result of their inability to complete the treble over Pep Guardiola’s team. Cities are both a location and an earlier point.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola: “We take the point. We tried, we didn’t create much, they didn’t create much. The defence so compact and we cannot regain the balls high pressing because there’s long balls, second balls and they’re really good with Havertz and all the physicality they have.

“When Rico came in, they were in that side. They had one or two chances in transitions, especially when we lose one or two balls, but it was a tight game, we were who we are. Maybe we miss a little bit in the final third but it isn’t easy.

“Liverpool are first. But there are still nine games and we will see what happens.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports: “If you don’t win, you’re never happy happy. But I think we have made a big step. We have experienced what happened here last year and we have come across in a different way.

“We have played a lot of parts of the game in an exceptional way and other parts of the game where we have the feeling we can do much better, especially with the ball in the first phase of the build-up when we didn’t have enough composure and patience to play more. Because after we committed some big, big, big situations to have the chance to win the game.

“To come to this big place, not a lot of teams have done what we’ve done today, and especially when there is a lot at stake, you have to respond and it’s another step.

“Nothing changes. We wanted to win. Unfortunately we know the Liverpool result but we have to carry on. Still a lot to play for.”

On Wednesday night, Manchester City will play their return game in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium against Aston Villa. On Saturday, they go to Crystal Palace.

On Wednesday night, Arsenal will host Luton at the Emirates. The following weekend, they go to Brighton for a Saturday Night Football match.

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