Was this a hard-earned point in the Premier League title race for Manchester City or a missed opportunity? Was it a grittily-won draw for Arsenal or a chance wasted?

The winners were undoubtedly not at the Etihad Stadium but at Liverpool who created a two-point lead at the top of the table with nine games to go.

After the narrow victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, Jurgen Klopp had joked he wanted both City and Liverpool to lose and, in the end, he got the next best thing with both his rivals dropping points.

Arsenal will undoubtedly be the happier and at the final whistle that was clear as they celebrated, with players from both sides slumped to the ground. This was a defensively well-organised – another phrase for ‘parking the bus’ – performance from Arsenal that suggested they have the stomach for the fight in the run-in. 

Arguably they should have shown more ambition against a City side lacking Ederson, Kyle Walker and John Stones – and who lost Nathan Ake early on – but it was a far cry from the 4-1 and 5-0 drubbings they have received on their last two visits to this stadium.

For City there will be deep frustration that for all their dominance of possession – with 72 per cent – they failed to create the clear opportunities to gain the win they craved.

The game was not helped by the leniency of referee Anthony Taylor who tried to allow the game to flow but, by doing so, indulged persistent and cynical fouls and even some time-wasting.

Arsenal will look back upon impressive performances from their centre-backs, Gabriel and William Saliba, and from midfielder Declan Rice, while City will wonder how, for all their apparent dominance, they created so little.

The closest they came was early on when Ake failed to connect properly with a close-range header while, later, there was an airshot from Erling Haaland. For Arsenal, Gabriel Jesus shot wide and went close to reaching a dangerous low cross from Martin Odegaard.

By admin

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