Reading most reports, people found today's game a real bore draw. I, on the other hand enjoyed watching City's defensive rigour and discipline. For 90 mins City limited Arsenal, stifled their attack and gave Given/ Nielsen very little work to do. I understand most will dispair at performances like this, But I prefer a 0-0 with top class defending rather than a 3-3 with poor defending.
Mancini sacrificed Adebayor who hadn't trained all week for an extra man in the midfield. In the 1st half, we set out to limit Arsenal playing. And generally our midfield looked good enough. Barry and De Jong continued their good form. It was real concious effort from the side to not let Arsenal build pressure. Bellamy worked especially hard in defence to aid Bridge/ Zabaleta.
It was no surprise, shortly after the break Adebayor would step into the fray. His introduction required a change of shape, removing the extra midfielder. This move allowed an isolated Tevez drop deep and get much more involved in the game. The added spice of Adebayors involvement raised the atmosphere in the ground and gave the game a better tempo. Still City didn't really do a great deal in the final third, barely bothering Fabianski. Our final ball, one again letting us down. Johnson didn't impress today, if it wasn't for the forced goalkeeper sub, it would of been likely he would of been replaced.
The defensive display was of real quality. Toure and Kompany put in their best partnership performance this season, a strong and confident performance, maintaining the concentration until the end of the game. Zabaleta also looked in form, playing both left and right. I didn't quite understand why Richards was selected ahead of Nedum, but yet again Richards let him self down through his lack of discipline.
The real negative aspect of the game came from a speculative shot from Diaby on the City goal. Given saved the shot with ease, but on hitting the ground, managed to dislocate his shoulder. Given has had a great deal of trouble with shoulder in the past, according to Dr Kevin Keegan and will now miss the end of the season. This is going to be quite damaging to our ambitions of finishing in 4th place. Gunnar Nielsen, our Faroe Islands keeper, signed by Hughes from Blackburn looks most likely to finish the season as our first choice. Ex-Arsenal keeper Stuart Taylor is still out with a knee injury. The only other option i can think of is David Gonzalez Giraldo, a Colombian keeper City signed on a free. He's 27 and has 2 caps for his country. I don't know what his situation is at the club, He was never officially declared signed by the club, but is apparently apart of our reserves. Who ever it is, they need to raise their game and perform to a high standard.
With Spurs losing to united, we missed an opportunity today to return to 4th, especially against a weak and deflated Arsenal, but a point is still valuable. We are only 1 point behind Spurs with a better Goal Average. There is only one way we can finish 4th, that's winning our last 3 games. We now have to look to attack teams with more purpose and tempo...