There wasn’t exactly too much of what you’d call ‘hope’ amongst Arsenal fans heading into the game against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, and rightly so. They weren’t on a great run of form and while City aren’t on their best run right now, they certainly have what it takes to beat Arsenal who just seem to be a little bit depleted.
The same old story
Kevin De Bruyne scored a brace and Raheem Sterling got in on the act all in the first half. Arsenal manager Freddie Ljungberg didn’t have an answer, and the second half was just a pretty dull affair in all honesty.
The Gunners want a place in the top four but based on this evidence, a place in the top half is probably a more realistic aim. Of course, we mean top six when we say that, but it’s still frustrating to see what sort of club Arsenal has become.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola didn’t have a whole lot to say – instead choosing to focus on the immediate future.
“We made an incredible result but the way we played against Manchester United [a 2-1 defeat last weekend] was better in many, many things.
“I know we are judged on the result but I have a duty to judge the performance, not just the result.”
Ljungberg, in many ways, didn’t really inspire the masses with his own reply to the game.
“We tried to keep the ball and be the Arsenal we want to be.
“The problem was the transitions, they scored on the counter. De Bruyne is a fantastic player but when they start like that it’s very difficult to get going again and I felt we got low and they got confident.
The pressure that keeps on coming
“I said to the players at half-time it was about pride, you need to show some heart out there and show that you’re proud.”
A trip to Oxford United in the quarter-finals of the League Cup is next for City in a game you’d expect them to walk to victory in. Of course, the bigger question is whether or not they can wrestle back control of the Premier League title race from Liverpool who seem to be running away with it right now.
Their next game in the Premier League takes place next weekend when they will square off against Leicester City in a battle to determine who truly will be the main contenders with the Reds in the race for the title.
Arsenal have no League Cup game to concern themselves with, ensuring they will get almost a whole week to prepare for their trip up to Merseyside to take on Everton.
A loss there, as dramatic as it sounds, could signal the end of the caretaker stint of Freddie Ljungberg.
Either way, improvements are needed.