Man City v Arsenal was ‘brilliant chess, dogsh*t football’

Editor F365
Mikel Arteta after Man City v Arsenal
Mikel Arteta after Man City v Arsenal

It was the Monty Python philosophy World Cup between Man City and Arsenal and you either loved it, begrudgingly admired it or hated it.

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How can you criticise Mikel Arteta after that?
I think I can predict the mailbox from fans who love to bash Arsenal. They’ll tell us we were boring, scared and just played 10 men behind the ball. It’s funny because when Arsenal failed to break down a stubborn defence in the past we were told to be more creative – City had 1 shot on target, from a set-piece. They were settling for a ‘do not lose’ game only very slightly less than Arsenal. Criticism will come from fans who wanted to see some mistake-ridden goal fest. Only Arsenal can be the first team that stops City scoring at home in 57 games, stop our run of defeats at City, restrict them to basically nothing and get criticised. That was the best defensive display by any team in the league this season.

If Arsenal had drawn twice v City last year instead of losing both games we’d have been champions. We’re still the team this season who has scored the most and conceded the fewest. We’ve taken 4 points off both our title rivals. Nobody gave us a prayer for the title at Xmas, before this game the boffins had us at 18% chance of the title. Taking a 0-0 away to the best team in the league is sensible.

I suspect most of the criticism will come from the basis that we’re no longer a joke team who turn up at big 6 games and get spanked, there is so little left to make fun of.

Gabriel has pocketed Haaland for a few games in a row, didn’t give him a sniff. Perhaps Pep needs to rethink these sorts of games because although Roy Keane went OTT with his ‘league 2 player’ in his all round game, there are games like this when Haaland offers very little and you wonder whether a false 9 tactic would work better for City.

Given the fawning over the two super managers of Klopp and Pep it’s amazing the lack of credit Arteta gets for going toe to toe with them in a title race- and besting them in head to head games this season.
Rich, AFC


Arsenal, what have you done?
You know it’s strange. Arteta may feel he’s come away with a huge moral victory from today’s game. And a draw at the Ethiad is never a bad result. But TBH I was disappointed in Arsenal. They’ve been superb these last few weeks and you just feel they never really went at City. A vulnerable City shorn of Ederson, Stones, Walker and then Ake. The result was a pretty dull match. Arteta stuck rather than twisted. It could end up winning him the title. It could also end up being very very costly.
Derek, LFC

READ: 16 Conclusions on Man City 0-0 Arsenal: Rodri, Rice, ‘League Two’ Haaland, Liverpool and Pulis the big winners


Two heavyweights nullifying each other. Fair play to Arsenal for making them look boring.
Aidan, Lfc (De Bruyne’s high backslick deserved 3 points on its own)


…That was one of the most interesting tactical battles I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.

Absolutely f**king awful game of football. Brillliant chess, dogshit football.
TGWolf (Glad I have an analytical brain as well as what’s left of my monkey grey matter)THFC


The Monty Python philosophy World Cup
City v Arsenal was peak concept football. It wasn’t fluent, nor emotional. It was a cold and calculated game where the cerebral competition far outweighed the physical football match.

I can’t tell whether this is future of football that F365 predicts. What is clear is that this wasn’t about tactical advantages but strategic ones.

Arteta said ‘try to beat us and we will beat you’ whereas Guardiola said ‘your mindset will dictate how many risks you’re willing to take and we will exploit them’. The outcome was City didn’t try to win that much and Arsenal risked so little. To inculcate such a mindset to a sporting team over 90 minutes is specular in its own right. It was the Monty Python philosophy World Cup.

I know the general consensus will be Liverpool are the net winners but I’m not so sure. I think Arsenal will leave this game and consider nobody can out-think them. With so many games to go it feels like Arsenal will face the remaining games knowing they can win them all. If Klopp can deliver a flawless finale then good on them but this game leaves me with the sense Arteta has seen the Matrix and this is Arsenal’s year.


Arsenal are above the others now
Moments – this is the oft-used phrase when coaches discuss, post-match outcomes.

After the international lull, hopefully the last, I watched six full matches this weekend and overall saw that the games are more exciting, more goals, longer and filled with sphincter wrinkling moments, both in the transitions and in the goal opportunities.

My first take on Sunday’s big games is that both City and Arsenal are better teams than Liverpool notwithstanding the missing injured players.

I noticed, only VvD was of the ‘back 8 ‘ from ‘22-‘23 , quite the transformation, hence if Liverpool finished third, it would still be a fine achievement given that 7 of the 8 behind the front three are (quite often) different from last season.

Though the Anfield game against City showed that perhaps LFC are a tad better than the Citizens, I would put Arsenal above both of them.
Winning the title now will be about playing other teams, such as Wolves , who I thought’d take points at a raucous Villa Park on Saturday.

So now, my mouth is watering for a semi final, two legs, Arsenal versus City, so we can see some more high class games between English clubs, even if few English players were on show. Jinxed that – Munchen v Madrid incoming 🤦🏽.

As an old school feminist I am left a little underwhelmed that both in England and Spain , the new raft of female football commentators simply ‘ape’ all of the ‘styles’, tones, cliches and dogmas of their male counterparts. I am not actually clear on what would be ‘ a breath of fresh air ‘ but I sure as hell ain’t heard it yet .
Peter ( Jesus returned ( to Manchester) but was bang average/a bit pants ) Andalucia


But aren’t Man City the best ever?
So confused, De Bruyne is a genius, Foden is the new Gascoigne. Haaland never stops scoring.

But. Ah. What none for the media knee jerk?

City not to win the title ? Doubtful, literally every ex pro/ pundit have spent the whole season with “ for me the favourites are city, I’ve said it from the start”.

This maybe so, but show some objectivity and understand that this City are the worst under pep.

But, if you sell Jesus, Zink, Mahrez, Gundogan, Sterling and don’t replace them. At all. This is City now. Good.

Reaping what they sow. 115 to come.


On Liverpool and their injuries
Writing this as Brighton take an early lead at Anfield with Liverpool again only being able to field one of their first-choice back five. It made me think of how many times Jurgen Klopp has been able to call upon Alisson, Trent, Konate, VVD and Robbo this PL campaign – so I looked it up and even little, old pessimistic me was surprised . . . twice!

Two from 29 games and they were the first couple of the season! Three times we’ve had only ONE first-choice player start, twice just two, 13 times had three and nine times four and the last time we fielded our strongest defence was AUGUST 19 in a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth.

I know lots of teams (except Man City who are only now picking up more than their usual 2 or 3) have been injury-hit this season but in terms of numbers Liverpool have been way up there with between 5 and 12 players out every week. So the job Klopp has done this season has been utterly incredible to have one trophy in the bag and be nicely placed in the other two going into April. The dude is so cool in the face of adversity that he makes ice cubes jealous.

And this was meant to be a rebuild -season. The biggest compliment I can give the new players Klopp has brought in (MacAllister, Szoboszlai, Endo, Gravenberch) and the newish players (Diaz, Gakpo and Nunez) is that I don’t miss the likes of Hendo, Fabinho, Keita, Milner, Ox, Arthur (lol) in the slightest (I’m not putting Bobby in there as I’ll miss him until the day I die).

And the emergence of genuinely talented kids like Jarrell Quansah, Conor Bradley, Bobby Clark, plus injured duo Ben Doak and Stefan Bajcetic and the likes of Jayden Danns, Trey Nyoni, Mateusz Musialowki, James McConnell and Kaide Gordon in the Academy means the future really does look bright even without my favourite German of all time.
Jo (no Matip was never first-choice this season) Kent


Ten Hag still the man
So Rami says “If Newcastle & Brighton were not leaking so many goals, they would be above United, because they can actually score some goals and play decent football, just not as experienced defensively”

Right, sure. And presumably if United were more experienced in attack and so scoring more goals we’d be above Spurs and Villa.

United are where we deserve to be, with the injuries we’ve carried and the players available. No denying it, the table rarely lies that much. We are inconsistent and too reliant on a moment.

But again, this is the second year of repairing a side that has been drifting for a decade, with terrible leeching ownership, carrying a number of players who were off form, injured, or are just not good enough. We haven’t had a left back for most of the season. We’ve spent the same money as Liverpool did in the first two years under Klopp, with more to show.

Ten Hag is still the man for the job. We good bruv.