If you were to believe the hype on Sky Sports, this was going to be the game of the century, as usual. The fact that a win for either team would not take them above Leicester City and would only really create a larger gap between the two was not something that was made much of.

Sky has become a mixture of Opta and Football Manager. Every clip is followed by in-depth statistics about how many games are lost when certain players are missing, how many shots there are per game, how many goals per minute. All fascinating stuff if you are Arsene Wenger or Manuel Pellegrini. I suspect the fans only really care about the next game, who is playing, who wins and who scores.

Tonight’s game was variously described as a “title decider”, “title eliminator” and a “winner-takes-all match. All the usual hyperbole that goes along with Sky trying to make sure that the maximum number of viewers tune in to watch it. They would be better served reducing their prices now that people have to pay BT Sport to watch the Champion’s League. They may find more people prepared to subscribe by being magnanimous in their pricing rather than munificent in their match descriptions!

Anyway, to the game. For the first half hour it was pretty sterile stuff with both teams looking afraid of losing and cancelling each other out.

This looked like carrying on for the whole half until City fell asleep defensively. A long ball from Koscielny to Ozil, who was allowed to turn and pick out a short ball to Walcott, who was also allowed to turn and pick his spot in the far corner. That looked like it would be all the scoring in the first half until Mangala decided to gift Arsenal the ball in his own half. They moved it forward quickly to Giroud who, from a tight angle, hit the ball hard and low through Hart’s legs.

I would say that Arsenal just about deserved to go in leading at half-time, they were however, a little lucky that it was by two goals.

The second half saw the introduction of Raheem Sterling for City in place of Fabian Delph who had played quite well but, needing goals, the sacrifive had to be made.

The problem with Delph going off was that he was protecting Kolarov on the left. As every City fan knows, Kolarov can’t defend so this made them a little more vulnerable to the counter-attack.

It turned out not to be a problem in the end as Arsenal appeared to have settled for the scoreline and didn’t really counter-attack with any intent.

More substitutions were made which saw Bony come on for Aguero and Navas for Silva. In fairness they made little difference. The same could be said for Arsenal who brought on Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to little effect.

City huffed and puffed but were getting nowhere until the 81st minute when Yaya Toure decided to play a greater part in the game. After a one-two with Navas, he passed the ball past Petr Cech to ruin his chance of passing Calamity James’s record of clean sheets which, to an extent, was a pity.

City, and Toure in particular, now threw what they could at Arsenal who brought on Callum Chambers as their final substitute to defend the last few minutes. To no avail though. City couldn’t find another way through the packed defence and Arsenal held on for the win that takes them two points behind Leicester.

According to Sky’s statisticians, City had twenty attempts at goal. I watched fhe whole game and certainly don’t remember that many, but I wouldn’t argue with Sky. What it shows is that City, a little like United, aren’t scoring enough.

Any Leicester  City managers, players or fans watching this game will not have seen anything here to cause them any sleepless nights.


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