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Five Things Learned: Manchester City 0-0 Arsenal (Premier League)



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Manchester City remain in third place following a disappointing 0-0 draw against Arsenal on Sunday evening.

It was a crucial encounter in the title race, as the current champions Manchester City welcomed Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium in what promised to be a thrilling encounter.

The reality however was slightly different, with both sides seemingly afraid of losing, in what was a game of minimal chances for either side, which reflected in the scoreline at the end.

The best chance of the game for the home side came early in the second-half, when Mateo Kovacic picked up the ball from 20 yards and fired a shot marginally wide of the far corner.

Arsenal failed to create any clear-cut opportunities, with Ortega Moreno vastly untroubled between the sticks for the home side following his surprise appearance in goal.

In the end, the tactical chess match between the two sides petered out as a 0-0 stalemate with neither side taking a hold in the title race. With that being said, here are five things we learned from Sunday’s encounter with Arsenal!

More defensive woes for the Blues

The home side entered the game with three of the typical back five injured, with John Stones, Ederson and Kyle Walker all unavailable for Sunday’s game.

When it rained, it poured at the back for the champions, with Nathan Ake pulling up in the first-half, limping off injured before being replaced by Rico Lewis in defence for City.

Josko Gvardiol; this is what we expected!

The Croatian defender arrived with plenty of purpose and potential following his transfer from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2023, but hasn’t been able to fulfil that due to injury and form as of late.

However, the performance against Arsenal certainly will have done his confidence no harm, with the Croatian silencing the Arsenal attack and rightfully earning player of the match after a dominant display at the back.

A carbon copy of the return fixture, with one key difference.

It was a less than impressive display by both sides on Sunday, with the pattern of play very similar to the match at the Emirates Stadium back in October, except one key thing was different this time.

Rodri was a key man on Sunday, with the Spaniard controlling the midfield in typical fashion. However, the lack of cutting edge in the game mirrored the reverse fixture in the season, with both sides lacking the desire to go on and win the match.

The draw on Sunday leaves a clear path for Liverpool in the title race, who sit two points in front of Arsenal and three points clear of City, but who’s league it is to win remains anybody’s guess, with all three sides well within their rights to believe they have a chance.

Is it time to cut our losses in the title race?

Despite the impeccable record when needed in the title race, Pep Guardiola’s side will certainly be aware of what they are up against following Sunday’s draw, with City needing both Liverpool and Arsenal to drop points before the end of the season.

Given the relentless fixture schedule and competing on all fronts, is it time for the treble winners to effectively accept defeat, and prioritise retaining the Champions League this season?

Logically, it seems ridiculous to suggest Guardiola will do such a thing, but the draw on Sunday puts the champions in a less than favourable position if they are looking to retain the title in May.

Next up: Aston Villa!

After travelling to Villa Park in December, Manchester City have been flawless in the league, remaining undefeated since their 1-0 defeat courtesy of a Leon Bailey strike in the second-half.

Guardiola’s side will be taking things one game at a time now, and the midweek clash with Aston Villa will be no exception, with the mentality remaining the same as the Sky Blues still continue their quest in retaining the three titles this season.