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Gunners outclassed by City (again), but Wenger remains defiant

02 March, 2018 — By By Paul Cowling

Premier League
Arsenal 0
Manchester City 3 (B Silva 15, D Silva 28, Sane 33)

ARSENE Wenger insisted his side has to ‘stay together’ after his side were outclassed for a second time in five days by Manchester City – and by the same scoreline.

City were 3-0 up after 33 minutes at the Emirates and are now 30 points ahead  of the Gunners.

Wenger said: “I am confident we can improve, because we have done it before. We are going through a difficult patch at the moment, but that is part of football. Tonight, we played against a quality side (City) and it was a game of intensity.”

“After Sunday, we came out with a very positive mind”, added the sombre sounding French coach.

Wenger made four changes from the side that started the final. Nacho Monreal was missing with an inflamed back, while Jack Wilshere was ruled out after an ankle knock.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was cup-tied for the Wembley showpiece, but was able to take his place in a strong starting eleven at a bone-chilled Emirates.

The stadium might have been cleared of ice and snow, but the layered-up home fans will have taken their seats shivering with the cold and with the fear of what the runaway league leaders might do to Arsenal a second time in five days.

“You don’t expect the fans to be euphoric after losing 3-0 (On Sunday), explained Wenger:

“We have to earn the fans by the quality of our performance. It has to come from us.”

When asked about why so many fans looked to have stayed away, Wenger responded by saying that It was a combination of  ‘the weather and the disappointment of Sunday.”

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Bernardo Silva curled a long range pearler into the top left hand corner of Petr Cech’s net after 15 minutes.

Arsenal responded well, noisily backed by a half-full Emirates. On 22 minutes, Aaron Ramsey’s well struck snap shot had to be plucked out of the freezing cold air by Ederson.

David Silva found room to thump City into a 2-0 lead on 28 minutes . The leap as one from the City dug out confirmed team spirit and the realisation that City will surely soon be crowned as League champions.

Boos rang out from Gunners fans as Leroy Sane effortlessly tapped the ball into the net after another sweeping City move to make it 3-0 after just 33 minutes.

“Can we play you every week?” came the noisy burst from ecstatic City fans.

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The snow started falling heavier by the time Laurent Koscielny ballooned a pass into the home seats.  The mocking boos and jeers gathered with intensity as Koscielny gestured angrily to himself out of sheer frustration.

The Clock End regulars sang: “We want our money back.”

Arsenal, to their credit, kept going, but giving this much space to David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne was asking for trouble, and it was the reason why they were 3-0 down so quickly.

The second half started with Arsenal in charge of possession and still looking to attack the City rearguard.

This was a curious game of emotions from Arsenal fans:  The majority of the crowd that were left in the stadium bellowed out ‘Arsenal, Arsenal,’ while the Clock End serenaded Wenger with ‘Wenger Out.’ Fans a few rows up from a touchline waved “Time for Change” placards.

In the 51st minute, Arsenal were awarded a penalty when Nicolas Otamendi clattered into Mkhitaryan, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw his feeble penalty well saved by Ederson.

The game had reached a scrappy stage into the last 20 minutes, as swirling flecks of snow blew in all directions from a bitingly cold wind, and City looked content to stick with the three goals. Aguero did have a chance to make it 4-0, but Cech palmed the ball away.

City coach Pep Guardiola was overseeing his 100th league game for the club, and made three late substitutions, though Wenger didn’t make a single change.


Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny (C), Kolasinac; Xhaka, Ramsey; Ozil, Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang, Welbeck
Subs not used: Ospina, Holding, Iwobi, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Nketiah

Manchester City: Emerson; Walker (Zinchenko 70 ), Kompany (C), Otamendi, Danilo; Silva, Gundogan; Sane, D Silva (86), De Bruyne; Aguero (Toure 86)
Subs not used: Bravo, Stones, Laporte, Foden
Attendance: 58,420 (tickets sold)

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