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4 Things Learned from Man City vs Spurs and Arsenal vs Man United

Two nil down to City, most teams would have bitten the dust and collapse, but Spurs showed an undying belief to fight back. This isn’t the Spurs team of years ago; this is Redknapp’s team, full of hard running and energy. They were unlucky to lose to a spot kick in the 94th minute, especially conceding it to a player who should have been sent off. They will feel hard done by, but their performance showed they can mix it with the big boys. Eight points behind isn’t a mountain to climb, given the nature of the Premier league this season and with a bit of luck on their side, Spurs’ can overcome the Manchester clubs.

…while Arsenal were never in it.

And aren’t going to be in for a long time, it seems. Manchester United versus Arsenal always had a prestige to it, now it clear of the distinct gap between the two sides and Arsenal can no longer really be considered a force anymore. If this season was a one-off, you can cite a number of reasons, but the fact that we’ve seen this Arsenal team before over the last six seasons, suggests that despite Wenger’s constant comments that the team is progressing; they haven’t and aren’t going too either. A lack of quality players; an unorganised backline; no plan B and possibly no Champions League next season (they are five points behind Chelsea) expect them to fall a little further unless major changes are implemented.

City’s lack of depth is noticeable

For all the talk of Manchester City having a team filled with unquestionable depth, there is a clear indication that the Sky Blues are reliant on a handful of players. Vincent Kompany’s absence is especially noticeable with City’s defence looking less resolute without him and either Lescott or Savic living up to standards. The same goes for the frontline: City need Balotelli or Aguero to be firing at all times, with Dzeko blowing cold more often than hot. Finally, the lack of a midfield presence in Yaya Toure cannot be ignored. The Ivorian offers everything: hard running, a fierce combative nature, an eye for attacking flair and a defensive resoluteness.  City were missing his presence against Spurs and they will be hoping he returns from Africa, ready to go.

United will be fighting to the end.

Much like last season, there was a distinct lack of world-class quality in the United team. Apart from Wayne Rooney, United don’t have the players of yesteryear, instead focusing on young players and a few experienced individuals to lead them. Last season, they won the title not because of the quality of the side, but rather because they wanted it more. They fought tooth and nail; never giving up, believing they could win in any situation. And just like last season, they are doing it again. Sir Alex has moulded the squad with a winning mentality, doing what it takes to win. They dominated the first half against Arsenal and after the Gunners drew level, you thought the momentum had swung, but United, true to their fashion, fought harder and took the lead. 2-1, 3 points and still in the race. Expect them to fight to the end.

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  1. Thomas

    January 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Is Arsenal’s demise really that shocking. Chelsea and City have proven that in order to push Man Utd for the title, you need to be willing to spend.

    Arsenal hasn’t been a real force domestically since Abamovich took over Chelsea. And it’s no coincidence that there inability/unwillingness to spend has pushed them to outsiders looking in on the top 4.

    While Spurs net spend isn’t nearly as lavish as City, Chelsea, or United’s, they are at least capable of holding onto their prized assets (Modric, for instance).

    Arsenal have let two of their best players walk out in Cesc and Fab. They still are searching for Viera’s replacement (though Song, generally, has been pretty deecent this season). The CB situation has gotten worse year after year. They’ve lost Clichy and replaced him with incosistant Santos.

    Arsenal was seemingly on the brink of something great a few years ago. Unfortunately for them, they’ve let most of the youngsters who turned into a quality finished product walk.

    They had best be praying that Chelsea doesn’t find form any time soon, and that the return of their slew of injured players gives them a boost.

  2. David

    January 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Manchester City are going to find it even more difficult now that Balotelli has been banned for 4 games for his stomp on Parker’s head. This could really hurt City’s chances of winning the title.

    I’m glad the FA did something about the Balotelli incident but I cannot help but think they use double standards when it involves non British players and British players. If they viewed the tape of all games week in and week out they would find a lot more culpable. Why only this case?

    This is the same FA that appealed the ban on Rooney when he deliberately kicked out at another player. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

  3. RVPFan

    January 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

    What I learned from Arsenal’s point of view, in terms of the play in the pitch, is nothing new that I already didn’t know. However, this is new:

    “Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team. You have an 18-year-old kid making his first Premier League start and a player who’s captain of his country and they are querying the substitution?”

    Okay, if Wenger is thinking of becoming a comedian after his coaching career is over, that’s fine with me, but to insult us supporters by this kind of moronic statement is beyond belief. No only has he lost the plot in the pitch, I wonder if he has lost his mind as well. By his logic, he should substitute Van Persie and put Park since Park is the captain of South Korean national team, or start Benayoun over Walcott or Gervinho since he is the captain of Israel national side.

    I remember a while back when Henry hand-balled to put France in the World Cup over Ireland and I saw Arsene’s comments when a reporter asked him how he felt. He said, people all over the world can see what’s happening and a single person does not spot the handball and we all can’t help him. This is exactly what we Arsenal fans feel at this moment.

    We fans, watching all over the world, and 60000 in the stadium, can see that Ox was the best player on the pitch by a country mile for Arsenal, he was the one reason we got back in the game and could have won it, however since Arsene decided to replace him with a piss-poor Russian Captain who is a lethargic lazy midget, we lost the game. Pure and Simple.

    • Bishopville Red

      January 23, 2012 at 11:33 am

      I didn’t think the supporters and RVP were complaining that AO-C was taken off. I thought they were pissed that Arshavin was coming on.

    • Andrei

      January 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      It has become customary for the Arsenal fans to perform their ‘find Scapegoat of the Match (SOTM)’ ritual so it seems. It is so obvious that pathetic individual singlehandedly prevented the mighty Arsenal team to tear apart their opposition. The suspects are usual too: it is either referee, Arshavin or Wenger though this time Arsenal fans are equally divided between Arshavin and Wenger in selecting their SOTM. So you are right there is not much to learn here. However there is some new exciting development we were so fortunate to witness during the game. Arsenal fans are increasingly proficient in performing this SOTM ritual. They are now able to correctly identify SOTM even before this miserable individual steps on the pitch.

      • MG

        January 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        Arshavin, is that you?

  4. TGov

    January 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I didn’t learn $h!t from the Man U/Arsenal game as our local affiliate chose to show an infomercial instead.

    • tonys

      January 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

      The probably delayed it to 12:30.

  5. Christian

    January 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Love how the bloggers for this site continue to slag City. Nothing but negativity on constant basis. I’m beginning to wonder why I continue to visit the site. The podcast is great Gaffer but is all that comes across your desk anti-City articles?

    • The Gaffer

      January 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Christian, if you browse through you’ll see a few very positive articles about City. If you’d like to write a piece on City, see for more info.

      The Gaffer

    • Mark

      January 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Truth hurts and it sounds like you’re butt hurt.

    • Evan

      January 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Have to agree with you there. But it’s the “cool” thing these days to be anti-city!

      • jtm371

        January 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm

        hey evan looks like your thug is going to miss 4 matches i know the FA is just picking on city.cry me a river.CHEERS

        • evan

          January 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm

          How hypocritical are the FA on a scale of 1 -10?

          I’d say 11….

          Under the rules violent conduct is a 3 match ban…. But they are quite prepared to appeal against a UEFA 3 match ban for violent conduct for England players because they think it is excessive…

          Kettle & Pot…

  6. James

    January 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Manchester City have not looked the same since the departure of the Toure brothers to the African Cup of Nations and Kompany’s suspension. Kompany should be back in a couple of games but the loss of Yaya Toure is still massive. If City can at least stay level with United until the Toure brothers return they will be OK. Of course no one knows if they will suffer any injuries which would hurt them just as badly. Manchester United are still in better shape than City as they have shown that they can win even with injuries to key players, like Ferdinand and Vidic.

    Spurs missed Adebayor’s movement and skill upfront. He can also keep the ball and his passing is better than that of Bent. Harry Redknapp is now involved in a court case for tax evasion so what effect that has on the team is left to be seen. Spurs have enough quality to finsih to worse than 3rd.

    Arsenal once again showed their weakness in defense. Djourou had a nightmare at right back and United exploited that very well in the first half. Wenger should have given him cover before half-time as it cost them the first goal. Ramsey has been very poor the last few games and again he was wasteful and his passing not up to standard. Arsenal definitely missed Arteta. Right now Chelsea are most likely to finish 4th and I don’t see Arsenal finishing above Chelsea.

  7. CFCMikal in NYC

    January 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

    How soon can we get the tv ratings for the ManU Ars match?


    • The Gaffer

      January 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

      In the next 36-48 hours.

      The Gaffer

  8. CFC_Kris

    January 23, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I think it will be an interesting run in with Manchester United continuing to play averagely but grind out results which is all that matters, do Man City have the bottle for a tense run in with the master of mind games Alex Ferguson?

    I look forward to watching as my team have been out of this race for months.

    Arsenal and Liverpool without the Champions League? Could we see the end of the Kenny and Arsene by this time next season?

  9. Imran

    January 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

    great article 🙂

  10. MG

    January 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

    A fair and unbiased critique of Arsenal and where they stand, unlike most instances..

  11. Bishopville Red

    January 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Perhaps the most concerning thing for Gooners isn’t the fact that players like Cesc leave (although that’s massive), it’s that player like Ramsey and Walcott were totally schooled by Ryan Giggs. It would be one thing if they weren’t progressing as quickly as hoped; it’s another that they are actually going backwards in their development. Why on earth would Capello take Walcott to Euro 2012? Oxlade-Chamberlain looked streets better.

  12. Matt P

    January 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Great summary. As a Spurs fan, this season means as much for learning to play near the top as it does for the actual title challenge. Walk before you run sort of deal

  13. jtm371

    January 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    how do gooners get over the substitution from hell,and the way AW handled or mishandled the press after the match?that has to be one of the tougher losses to take.

    • Nick

      January 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Don’t repeat the meme. The home fans booing insured the already under-confident arshavin would wilt. Disgraceful.

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