Arsenal ended ManCity’s title hopes as they beat Mancini’s men 1-0 after an 87th minute super strike from Mikel Arteta. It was a well deserved win for the Gunners as they now sit two points above old enemies Tottenham Hotspur who drew 0-0 at the Stadium of Light earlier on the weekend.
Mikel Arteta put a dagger through ManCity’s heart with a 25 yard screamer which was well placed in the bottom right corner. Even the best goalkeeper in England didn’t have slightest of chances to save the wonderful strike.
Here are some thoughts on the victory:
1. Arteta has been a vital component in the Arsenal engine room this season:
Mikel Arteta joined from Everton last Summer transfer window. He was seen as a replacement for ex Arsenal skipper, Cesc Fabregas, who left for Barcelona earlier in the window. Though Mikel Arteta has been playing a different role in the Arsenal midfield he still has been really important for the Gunners. He has got 6 goals this season and surely there are more to come in the remaining games of the season. Arteta dominates the midfield and has the vision and ability to tear any defence apart. There was a period when he was out due to injury and therefore Arsenal lost 3 in a row due to his absence He has a handful of Premier League experience after spending 6 years with the Merseyside team. He has been the heart of Arsenals attack this season. Arteta has scored 2 goals in the last three games. Both were screamers from more than 25 yards out and both were in the dying stages of the game.
2. Arsenal can’t afford to drop points in the last 6 games:
Arsenal have 6 games left to play – Wolves(a), Wigan(h), Chelsea(h), Stoke(a), Norwich(h) and West Brom(a) – out of which Chelsea and Stoke look tricky otherwise Arsenal get 14 or above out of a possible 18 points for a top 4 finish. Arsenal are currently two points over Tottenham and Newcastle and 4 above Chelsea with a game in hand. If Arsenal win against Wolves they would get a 5 point cushion over the North London rivals and Newcastle. Both London rivals – Chelsea and Tottenham – are in a bad run with Arsenal on an excellent run. Arsenal should look to finish third to avoid qualifiers for the Champions league next season.
Szczesny 6.5- didn’t have much to do but just a handful of saves to keep a third clean sheet in four games.
Sagna 7- The Frenchman was excellent. He defended well and was super when attacking.
Koscielny 7- kept the likes of Agüero and Balotelli out and got a 10th yellow card in total which means he would be out of the next two Premier League games.
Vermaelen 7- Was strong at the back and did the defensive job greatly. Denied Persie’s header and missed a wonderful chance to make it 1-0 in the second half.
Gibbs 6.5- Was caught up front many times but did enough to keep the ManCity wingers out.
Song 7- Has been an unsung hero this season. He controlled the midfield and protected the back 4 excellently.
Arteta 8.5- The Spaniard was fabulous as he dominated the game. Scored a well deserved winner for Arsenal in yhe 87th minute.
Rosicky 7.5- His form continued after an excellent display once again.
Benayoun 7- Was definitely better than Ramsey. Tested Hart with a tame effort but was good overall.
Walcott 6.5- Not a great performance as Gael Clichy kept him out. Walcott couldn’t use his pace against the French international. Almost scored if it weren’t a wonderful save from Joe Hart.
Van Persie 7.5- The goal drought continued for the Dutchman, making it 4.5 games since he last scored. The Arsenal skipper last scored a equaliser against Newcastle in the first half in the 2-1 win. He played good and gave problems to Kompany and Lescott. Persie hit the post twice and again was denied a goal.
Arsenal’s run continues making it 7 wins in 8 games. Next game is on Wednesday, against Wolves at the mollineux which would be tough but Arsenal should be able to eturn to North London with all three points.