Arsenal

Arsenal can leave Man City defeat with their heads held high

Tom Gott
Arsenal were outstanding against Man City
Arsenal were outstanding against Man City / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
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Football can be a cruel game sometimes.

The first 45 minutes of Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday were among the finest we have seen from the Gunners in a while. Manager Mikel Arteta, who was at home with Covid-19, will have been so proud watching his side dismantle the reigning Premier League champions.

And then, as it so often does against City, it all came crashing down.

Granit Xhaka conceded a soft but fair penalty against Bernardo Silva to gift City an equaliser, before which Gabriel was awarded a yellow card for tampering with the penalty spot.

Straight from the restart, Gabriel Martinelli missed an open goal, and then Gabriel was shown his second yellow card for hauling down namesake Gabriel Jesus. Within 120 seconds, Arsenal's game had turned on its head.

While this could have been billed as a meltdown bottlejob by Arsenal, the Gunners refused to let it be that, and they spent the second half flexing the discipline and desire to die for the shirt that Arteta has been demanding for weeks now.

Thomas Partey had the game of his life in midfield. Ben White looked to relish the pressure that came with being the underdog, and Takehiro Tomiyasu was absolutely sensational at right-back as he neutralised Raheem Sterling with lethal efficiency.

All ten outfield players were playing for the shirt and playing for each other. If they didn't deserve three points, they absolutely deserved one, and to say that up against a team as terrifying as City is no mean feat.

Arteta will be disappointed with the result, of course, but having seen his methods questioned following his handling of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's disciplinary problems, he will feel completely vindicated after watching this.

Mikel Arteta
Arteta will be happy with the performance / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Truth be told, there is no shame to losing against City, and Arsenal will know that they were the better side here. That will give them more confidence than most of their positive results over the past few months did.

With a little time, patience and hard work, this Arsenal side could become something special. Once those individual moments of madness are eradicated, the Gunners will be back.

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