Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal

I keep hearing how this was a cracking game for the neutral. That would be all well and good if I was a neutral. From my perspective we leaked six goals and there’s only so much heart you can take from your team being involved in a game that everyone but its own fans went away from with a warm glow. Everton last week was another cracking game for the neutral. Glad to be of service but we’ve taken one point from six…

It was a game of many facets though, hard in a way to pigeonhole. City scored six but could have had eight, we had the ball in the net five times and could have had a penalty. Our parsimonious defence chose a rotten day to switch off, but then again who can deny the impressive firepower of City? They’re tonking pretty much everyone for fours and sixes at home these days. I also read somewhere that we should take some comfort from scoring three times (five, if you’re cross with the linos) at a venue at which barely anyone else has ruffled the net yet. Small comfort but I suppose if there are two positives that do come out of yesterday it’s our ability to score goals and our determination to keep going when all seems lost.

On that note, a good game for Theo Walcott – absent all season – who scored two nice goals. It’s easy to forget that we have reached Christmas without two of our biggest scorers of last season, Walcott and Podolski, who between them got 37 goals. If you want to take another positive from a six goal clumping, it’s that we now have those two men back, and just at a time when both of this season’s main scorers, Giroud and Ramsey, have hit a dry patch.

At the back, we couldn’t really cope. Mertesacker was his usual composed self but Monreal – so good against Hull City – had a tough game and we were breached far too easily for my liking. Our midfield didn’t help, with Wilshere especially sloppy, and I think fatigue, though Wenger tried not to blame it, had an increasing effect as the game wore on with misplaced passes aplenty and losses of concentration. This was personified by Giroud, who missed several presentable chances and wore the hang-dog expression of a weary man.

We were never in control, really, always trying to chip away at a City lead rather than being able to hold what we had. The nearest we got to looking like we might get something was at 3-2, when Theo’s goal gave us a shot of energy, but almost immediately conceding a fourth did for us. The game was lost then.

We shall see what effect conceding six goals has on us psychologically. It’s hard to say but what is certain is that City look formidable. We’ll find out soon enough of course with Chelsea coming to town a week on Monday. One thing we’ll know for sure is that nine days off gives us a good opportunity to recharge our batteries and nurse our lacerated knees.

We are still top.

Which is worth remembering.