Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will consider it another bad day at the office for the Gunners who, after going down to ten men, never really threatened Manchester City who took their opportunity to capitalize well on their numerical advantage for most of the game.
Here's how we rated the players...
Wojciech Szczesny – 7/10
Did very well to keep the penalty out and unlucky that Edin Dzeko was there to tap in the rebound after he blocked Carlos Tevez’ shot. Also made a very good save to stop Tevez again later on.
Bacary Sagna – 7/10
Once Arsenal went down to 10 men, Sagna really had his work cut out for him – the forced substitution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain effectively made Sagna’s job twice as hard. He coped as well as his manager would could have hoped. He worked hard, really went the distance. Great stoicism from a real professional.
Laurent Koscielny – 2/10
Whilst you could say the red card was a bit harsh and on another day he would have likely got away with it, he really destroyed any chance his team had of winning the game with a clumsy schoolboy error. He let Dzeko get the wrong the side of him and panicked.
He’s found out all too often for the Gunners and he really let the side down. He should have just let Dzeko get his shot on goal – Arsenal would have been better off 1-0 down after 10 minutes than they were a man down for 80 minutes.
Thomas Vermaelen – 7/10
The Belgian had a good game – he really dug in for the team and it was the first time this season you could say he was worthy of the captain’s armband. He did his best to shackle Dzeko which wasn’t easy for him and, despite doing his best to get forward on the break, he got back in position well.
Per Mertesacker – 6/10
The German giant was pretty mediocre – he came on after the sending off and I suppose he held his own but only just. It’s like a series of recurring nightmares for him in Arsenal’s backline – he’s just too slow and, for a big guy, doesn’t have enough presence.
He’s just as hapless as his defensive partners – this season Koscielny, Vermaelen and Mertesacker are starting to look like The Three Stooges.
Kieran Gibbs – 4/10
Gibbs has had a pretty poor season so far – his lapses in concentration have cost the Gunners a fair few points and, although at least on Sunday he worked hard, he lacked the steel and quality Arsenal desperately needed from him. Pablo Zabaleta gave him a real run for his money and too often he was found wanting.
Going forward he’s consistent but on a day like that his team needed a real defender, not a wingback.
Abou Diaby 3/10
I’m being generous because it was his first game back in 4 months – he really shouldn’t have been playing. His passing and first-touch were poor and his marking and decision-making was inept.
That won’t have done his confidence any favours whatsoever and the fact that his manager had to play him to cover the injured Mikel Arteta illustrates how desperately Arsenal need to strengthen the depth and quality of their squad in the transfer window if they intend to make the top four this term.
Jack Wilshere – 9/10
The young Englishman has now become the Gunners’ most consistent performer. He was simply outstanding – he was intelligent, strong and decisive in possession and he really put in a shift running his heart out from box to box. He rode some strong challenges and didn’t complain too much – Arsenal could have won the game with 5 men if they were all of the calibre and quality of Jack Wilshere.
Santi Cazorla – 4/10
Playing out of position for most of the game, he was rendered ineffectual – he was hassled off the ball when he did see it and never really got into the spirit of the occasion.
Whilst you can’t blame him for having a poor game, he really should have done his job better. Sometimes you need players to get stuck in and roll with the punches but the Spaniard just didn’t fancy it.
Aaron Ramsey – 7/10
I was very impressed with the Welshman’s contribution – he was uncharacteristically calm and composed in what was a pretty unfruitful situation for his team. He kept momentum going and was one of the most reliable players on the pitch as soon as he came on.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 5/10
It's a shame for the young lad that he was Wenger's sacrificial lamb after Koscielny's sending off meant he had to be replaced after 10 minutes by Mertesacker.
Lukas Podolski – 8/10
The German put in another solid performance and was unlucky not to get on the score-sheet. Really outclassed his ‘striker’ teammate Theo Walcott, Podolski was the only one who gave City anything to worry about.
Unfortunately, his foul on Javi Garcia lead to the concession of the first goal but the fact that he was helping his mates out at the back and still bombing forward to try and salvage something is the mark of a seasoned professional with a positive attitude.
Theo Walcott – 2/10
I wrote an article on Friday asserting that the City game would be Walcott’s first real examination as a striker and he really couldn’t have failed more miserably. Once Koscielny got sent off Arsenal were effectively playing with 9 men because Theo just went missing.
He had absolutely no impact on the game and, what’s more, he couldn’t even be bothered to help out defensively – he didn’t chase anything or anyone down and really exposed himself as a pretentious winger with a bad attitude. I’d advise his boss to put him in his place – back on right wing. Or even the bench.
Olivier Giroud – 3/10
He came on late as a last-ditch attempt to get something from the game but had no impact whatsoever. He missed a couple of good chances and I fear that the Frenchman is on his way to becoming Chamakh 2.0 – he just doesn’t look like he’s got the goods to be a Premier League centre-forward.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald