Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus gave Manchester City a 3-1 win over Arsenal in an entertaining Premier League game and there were plenty of talking points from the tie at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday night.
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The Statesman has picked out the five main ones for you:
Kevin De Bruyne: The man for the big occasion
De Bruyne is not a prolific goalscorer, but the Belgian is arguably the best player Manchester City have.
However, goals are an important part of one’s game and considering he is primarily utilised as an offensive midfielder, how do the 26-yer-old’s stats look at the moment?
Three goals in 15 appearances doesn’t exactly scream Player of the Year, but if one looks closer, the midfielder has scored against Shaktar Donetsk (Champions League away), Chelsea (away) and Arsenal.
The winner at Stamford Bridge was immense, but so was Sunday’s opener at the Etihad Stadium and his ability to shine on the big occasion is just one of many reasons why he deserves to be in the consideration for the FIFA FIFPRO World XI next year.
Why didn’t Alexandre Lacazette start?
Did Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger get his team selection all wrong?
Why would you shatter your transfer record to sign a proven forward and then keep him on the bench?
You can bet Arsenal fans will be shaking their head at their manager’s latest ‘blunder’.
And to drive the point home, Lacazette scored within 10 minutes of coming on in the second-half.
Alexis Sanchez is a fine player, but he’s not a proper centre-forward and surely playing him behind Lacazette would have been the better way to go?
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to pass judgement but this decision was a puzzling one and one that backfired spectacularly.
Brave Gunners show City aren’t perfect
City were by far the better side, agreed, but Arsenal showed that by taking the fight to them.
Fast counter attacks almost caught them cold at times as did long punts upfield and had Lacazette started the game, perhaps the scoreline would have been closer.
The Citizens have conceded five goals in their last three games to suggest their defence isn’t as impenetrable as it was made out to be in the early stages of the season.
Left-back Benjamin Mendy is effectively out for the rest of the season and his stand-in Fabian Delph is a weak link while the jury is still out on the central defensive pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones.
Pep Guardiola’s men are likely to outscore the opposition in almost every game, but Arsenal did unsettle them on occasion and a more clinical side could have perhaps taken the game on another day.
Penalty or no penalty?
Raheem Sterling went down inside the box after a challenge from Arsenal defender Nacho Montreal and after a brief pause, referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot in the 49th minute.
Aguero stepped up to take the ensuring penalty and gave City a two-goal cushion with a swing of his right boot, but was awarding a spot-kick the right call?
Replays suggested Sterling cleverly put his body between himself and the ball as Monreal came in with a shoulder barge/challenge. The Spaniard also did clip the City winger from behind and on that evidence, it would be hard to argue against the match official’s decision.
Arsene Wenger, however, was fuming in his post-match conference and one feels that we haven’t heard the last of an incident which did swing the tie in City’s favour.
To make matters worse, the hosts then took advantage of some dubious officiating to restore their two-goal advantage after Lacazette had briefly given the Gunners hope.
Hope yet for Arsenal
Arsenal fans, take note.
The season is long, but the Gunners are just four points behind second-placed Manchester United.
The Premier League title race may be over for them (and possibly, for the rest of the league), but then again, the Gunners were never truly contenders.
So, is finishing in the top-four an achievement?
At this stage, with the competition they have, absolutely.
The North Londoners posses a decent squad and should the perform to their potential, they can qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season.
Their showing at the Etihad had plenty of bright notes and while the margin of the result could have been much greater, City arguably scored their third goal from an offside position.
Losing to the in-form Citizens away is just something the rest of the Premier League will have to swallow but Arsenal showed plenty of fight and contrary to popular belief, they can still have a successful season if they take Sunday’s loss as a stepping stone.