Matt Gault for 90Min:
Arsenal’s defensive midfield issues are well documented, perhaps rightly so, but the axis of Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey appeared to give the away side security and work-rate. It was a measured and mature Arsenal performance in the first half, far removed from their capitulation here last season when City romped to a stunning 6-3 win. There was a compactness and consistency to their shape that cut off the influence of David Silva, leaving Sergio Aguero to fight for scraps up front.
This was completely different to what Arsenal normally do. Their game plan was clearly to frustrate City in the middle of the park, mainly to cut out City’s best player in David Silva, and thus limit the influence of Sergio Agüero. Both are adept to playing through the middle with the ball at their feet, but there simply was no space with Francis Coquelin outstanding in the defensive midfield role.
When City lost the ball Arsenal broke with speed, but also had some attacking setup. But what they did was play cautious football with the fullbacks seldom venturing far forward.
Manuel Pellegrini didn’t have an answer to Wenger’s setup and so the game changed very little, even when City introduced Edin Džeko.
Great performance by Arsenal and very surprising. They could have a say on the league yet.