Many fans were hoping for a goal-fest when we played host to Manchester City this Monday night, with both teams known for their attacking flair far more than their defensive stability. Goals didn’t look guaranteed early on though, with both teams showing plenty of respect to their opposition.
There were very few real chances in the opening half an hour, with both Premier League giants either looking too timid or getting too many bodies behind the ball.
A moment of brilliance from Theo Walcott saw the deadlock broken though, with the England international firing a venomous shot past Joe Hart. He intercepted a Mesut Özil pass that looked meant for someone else, cutting inside onto his right foot. He rifled the ball towards the far post from the edge of the box, with Hart beaten all ends up by the wonderstrike. 1-0.
With City looking to equalise before the break, they were committing a few more bodies forward. This allowed us to get our second of the game with practically the last kick of the half, another assist for Özil, this time Olivier Giroud the benefactor. The Frenchman was played into the box by our creative genius, although the angle was probably a little tighter than he would have liked. He still managed to get the better of Joe Hart though, nutmegging the keeper and making it 2-0.
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We looked the most likely to score in the second half, with City’s hunt for a goal leaving them far more exposed. We probably should have made it three on a couple of occasions, but failed to take our chances.
There was one opportunity in particular that should have ended in a goal, a move that started with some great strength and skill from Hector Bellerin down the right. He played the ball infield to Joel Campbell, who laid it off to Özil and continued his run. The German returned the ball to the young forward, who played Aaron Ramsey into a position he looked certain to score from. The Welshman somehow hit it straight at Hart from a few yards out though, a great chance going begging.
Without a third goal things always looked tense, and when substitute Jesus Navas was sent through on goal. He showed just how low his confidence is at the moment though, looking for a the tricky pass across goal when he looked to be in a great goalscoring position.
We were eventually punished for not taking our chances earlier chances though, with Yaya Toure ending any chance Petr Cech had of securing his 170th clean sheet. It was frustrating to concede with less than ten minutes to go, but you couldn’t help but wow at the finish from the Ivorian, who struck it first time from the edge of the box leaving the Arsenal shot-stopper motionless.
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It was all City for the next few minutes, and hearts were in mouths around the Emirates. Thankfully we held out for the victory, opening a gap up on Man City and closing in on Leicester City at the top of the table.