Arsenal: It was this for reason Mikel Arteta lost to Manchester City

Arsenal only showed one weakness, but it was a costly one…

Arsenal faced a visit to the Etihad Stadium today, in a game which was bizarrely approached with confidence from an Arsenal point of view. It was perhaps naive to think this way given the Gunners’ poor record away from home against the big six in recent years, and it proved.

Mikel Arteta‘s certainly put up a fight and they had a few close opportunies to equalise, showing some amazing displays of football in the process. They were also arguably deserving of a penalty towards the end of the first half but the only thing that matters from Arteta’s point of view is the scoreline.

So, why exactly did Arsenal not score? They had a multitude of attacking talent, especially after Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah came on from the bench. But it was too little too late.

Arsenal had played through the flanks throughout the majority of the game, which confused me. They really didn’t play centrally at all, with Aubameyang still being pushed out wide with Willian and Nicolas Pepe. Even when Lacazette was brought on, he played central but much deeper than usual, almost like a midfielder.

Perhaps Arteta chose to setup this way because he knew something about the City XI that we didn’t, but still, it didn’t pay off for him this time. And he shouldn’t be humiliated by this performance either, as it was not a bad display. But going forward, he must learn something from it; that goals won’t come unless you play football in a direct way.

It was also good to see a debut for Thomas Partey, as he didn’t play much but looked hungry and willing to bring the ball forward when he was brought on as a substitute.

Next: Arsenal already locate their primary target for January

What did you make of Arsenal’s performance today?