The big game against City that ended up with a 3-2 defeat was full of interesting points and hopefully the team will take on the positives and analyse the negatives to make sure the same errors do not happen again.
So what did we learn?
The team was combative and fought until end
Credit to the team who came back in the game after being totally dominated in the first half. They tried to come back from 3-1 down but could only find one goal. They did battle hard.
Jordan Nobbs and Leah Williamson were sorely missed
The three midfield players were very similar and did not offer any rhythm in the middle area or any distribution. The two missing players have the capacity to break the opposition’s line with their well-timed runs.
Individual and team errors cost three goals
The first goal was maybe not valid, obviously Emma Byrne dropped the ball from the cross but from my point of view behind the goal Alex Scott looked to have it covered.
The second goal had comical value unfortunately. It was a good pass and move play by Man City, but you can see that two Arsenal players take each other out. The player that was tracking Lucy Bronze is on the floor when the City right back cuts it back to Christiansen.
On the third goal, the defenders were not close enough to Duggan and she pulled the trigger and put it in the top corner. I believe she scored quite a similar goal recently, so the team would have been aware of her shooting ability from that range. She also scored a very similar goal with England u20 against New Zealand in 2008.
Man City were very much on top in the first half
Their passing football was top quality and they were finding spaces right left and centre. Arsenal were defending stubbornly but were under a lot of pressure the whole time.
In comparison Arsenal’s passing looked sloppy, uncertain and lacked the quality needed to unsettle City’s defence. Because they could find a solution through the middle they had to go via the wings but the pattern was too predictable.
With three very similar midfield players Bailey, Janssen and Corredera, who were playing defensively, the front three were left isolated against City defence. Carter was moved to midfield and Corredera to the left but that did not work either.
Arsenal tried to find a few answers in the second half
Arsenal scored early in the second half and by adding more aggressively in their plan, managed to challenge City more and create a little bit uncertainty for the Citizens. Still, the football quality overall was on City’s side.
Yankey came on the left wing for Ubogagu and Allen came on in the last ten minutes for Bailey. The young playmaker did not have enough time to make an impact and was played a little bit too low on the pitch in my opinion.
Overall, Arsenal did their best, but were beaten by a top performance from City who showed superior technical quality on and off the ball. The benefits of being full-time professionals was clear for all to see on Sunday evening.
The team needs to regroup and iron out the teamwork problems on the attacking and defensive side which were in evidence in the game, especially as an away game to Chelsea in the Conti Cup looms large.