Arsenal experienced another tough afternoon against a top side on Sunday, as the Gunners suffered a 3-1 defeat at Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger complained about the officials after the game. The veteran French boss complained that City’s Raheem Sterling dived for City’s first goal and that David Silva was offside for the third goal.
Both decisions could have gone either way in truth, though, even if Silva did look offside even without the benefit of a replay.
Took a while to wake
Arsenal had spells of the game were they looked relatively comfortable. However, it took until they went two goals down for the Gunners to show any attacking threat.
The fact that the Gunners first shot on target was in first-half stoppage-time said a lot about the visitor’s threat in the first period. When City scored their second goal, they took the foot off the gas slightly and allowed Arsenal more of the ball.
Arsene Wenger’s side then grew into the game and Alexandre Lacazette scored the visitor’s goal. However, there was always a feeling that City could move up the gears if they needed to and they did to get the third goal.
Why did Lacazette not start?
Arsenal have searched for years for a striker of top quality. In the summer, they signed Alexandre Lacazette and he looks to be in that bracket. Yet, Wenger decided to leave the club-record signing on the bench.
That seems a rather strange decision. I know Wenger wanted to go into the game in a cautious manner, but leaving out your best striker is not the way to win at one of the top teams in the league and arguably Europe.
Wenger got a decent result at Chelsea by playing in a cautious manner. That meant fielding a team without Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. This time around, Wenger fielded Sanchez up front and he enjoyed very little joy.
It was only when Lacazette came off the bench that Arsenal looked a threat to the City goal.
Arsenal the underdogs for a top-four spot
Arsenal are the least favoured team of last season’s top-six to finish in the top-four at odds of 9/4. No doubt, displays like Sunday’s will do little to convince people that the Gunners will finish in the Champions League spots this season.
Whether the decisions have gone against Arsenal or not, the Gunners once again came up short against one of their so-called rivals.
Will Arsenal finish in the top-four this season?