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“I didn’t understand” — Manchester City defender hits out at Arsenal tactics in frustrating goalless draw



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Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji has hit out at Arsenal for their tactical setup in the goalless draw between the two sides at the weekend.

Arsenal came into the affair leading Pep Guardiola’s side by one point in the Premier League title race, but they had not won in the league at the Etihad Stadium since the 2014/15 campaign.

Despite that streak, Mikel Arteta’s side came into the clash in fine form, having scored 18 goals combined in their previous five Premier League matches. As a result of that momentum, fans and pundits alike expressed their confusion for Arsenal’s tactics at the Etihad after the match.

While they only captured 27% of the possession and fashioned just six total shots in the game, Arsenal’s defensive setup saw them stop Manchester City scoring a goal in a home game for the first time in 57 matches in all competitions.

In an interview with the Daily Star after the match, City defender Manuel Akanji delivered his verdict on the Gunners’ tactics.

“I didn’t understand some decisions,” Akanji said. “They played a lot of long balls and defended with six players in the back, so it was difficult to get through.

“When we got through, sometimes they stopped us with the fouls – and if there’s no actions to it, it’s hard.”

City have dealt with defensive setups for the whole of the Pep Guardiola era, but have rarely come up against them in clashes with the Gunners.

However, after defeating the Emirates outfit by a combined score of 7-2 in the 2022/23 Premier League season, it is easy to see why Mikel Arteta may have come into the clash with a change in thinking.

City will look to bounce back when they host Aston Villa Wednesday evening, with a three point deficit in the title race to overcome.

While there is plenty of precedent when it comes to Pep Guardiola’s side turning it around in the dying days of a campaign, they have yet to experience a three-way race for the Premier League trophy.