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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Arsenal

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We couldn't get a lift today so we decided to try the bus. It was certainly a novelty and it makes you realise the nimber of humps and bumps in the City streets when you are hanging on trying to keep your balance. Thankfully we did manage to get a lift home just as it came on to rain.

I think for the first time this season we kicked the right way so we must have lost the toss, but although I thought the low sun might be a problem early on the clouds came over just as we started. Arsenal looked very neat and tidy and we hardly got a kick in the opening minutes. We were defending quite narrowly so there was a lot of room on the flanks. There was an early scare when in a frantic penalty area scramble, Aarons only just managed to prevent Lacazette getting the final touch. The Krul was brought into action by tipping a looping header away for a corner.

City had the odd foray into the Gunners half, mainly by way of Hernandez, and it was Amadou with a twenty-five yarder who eventually had the home sides first shot on ten minutes. Arsenal were looking the more likely to score but despite a fair bit of pressure the City rearguard were generally holding the line pretty well with Byram and Zimmerman getting in some good blocks. They rode their luck however when Hernandez had to be alert to head a goalbound effort off the line.

Just after 20 minutes Hernandez relieved the pressure on the left and found McLean with an inside ball. The City midfielder released Pukki almost immediately and for a moment it seemed the City striker would be forced wide but he expertly avoided a couple of defenders before his on target shot from just inside the box, deflected off a defenders back and past Leno to give City an against the run of play lead. My thoughts then were holding it until halftime would be very good indeed. However, not many minutes later McLean was penalised for what looked an innocuous tackle about thirty yards out. When the free kick was swung in it appeared to go through a ruck of players and out for a goal kick and nobody was more surprised than me when the ref pointed to the spot. I didn't see anything myself but apparently Zimmerman's hand was in contact with the ball so a penalty was confirmed after a VAR check.

Tim Krul did his usual distraction routine and it seemed to have worked when he dived to his right to palm away Aubameyang's shot with Aarons completing the clearance for a corner. Cue more mayhem as Paul Tierney signalled a retake. I thought maybe Tim had moved off his line but it turned out to be Aarons encroachment that was the problem. The Arsenal striker made no mistake with the retake and for a while things got a bit fiesty with some dubious tackles going in.

Kenny McLean was having a storming half and just prior to the break his pinpoint pass got Hernandez away down the left. Pukki slipped over while haring into the box only for the ball to be cut to Cantwell who guided a fabulous low shot off the inside of his foot and beyond Leno to send the crowd into raptures. City then saw out the remaining minutes with no further alarms and for only the second time this season we had that pleasant feeling of being in front at the break.

It was no surprise to see the home side pushed back as the second half began and for long periods we couldn't get hold of the ball. On 57 minutes I deemed it ok to nip out to the little boys room and as you will all know by now I missed a goal. I can't remember a season when this has never happened. My son said there was some confusion due to there being two balls on the pitch but as I didn't see it I can't comment.

At this stage I was thinking it might now all fall apart but it was City who now took the game by the scruff of the neck and almost instantly regained the lead when Mclean burst through the middle and unleashed a shot that looked bound for the corner. I was already up and cheering a goal but somehow Leno produced a worldy and the ball was deflected for a corner. Minutes later it was Pukki sprinting away and again it required two Arsenal defenders to push him wide before Leno completed the block.

At the other end there were still some alarms with Arsenal almost snatching the lead with a low shot that a massed rank of City defenders cleared off the line. It was now exciting end to end stuff with both teams going for the win. Arsenal made a couple of subs and City subbed Cantwell for Buendia. The little man was soon in the thick of things with some nice prob.ing passes. With time fast running down Cit attacked down the right and after an exchange of passes Aarons shot looked like it would be deflected in only for Leno to pull off another magnificent save at the expense of a corner. I was biting my nails as we moved Into injury time with action at both ends. Amadou did brilliantly to block a follow up shot while at the other end Pukki raced away and passed inside but couldn't quite find McLean before the Arsenal keeper grabbed the ball. I think we were all breathless when Mr Tierney finally signalled time on what had been a cracking game of football.

Kenny McLean my MOM and I would give him eleven out of ten if it were possible. He was simply outstanding today but in truth the whole team were magnificent today.

 

 

 

Edited by ricardo
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I agree with you Ricardo. Cantwell got MOTM on SKY. I thought MacLean was more deserving but it doesn't matter as I thought Leno was. He pulled of three good saves that were match savers. 

As you say, we were good today so that is two in a row. Roll on Wednesday.

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Just now, keelansgrandad said:

I agree with you Ricardo. Cantwell got MOTM on SKY. I thought MacLean was more deserving but it doesn't matter as I thought Leno was. He pulled of three good saves that were match savers. 

As you say, we were good today so that is two in a row. Roll on Wednesday.

We could have won it KG but I would have taken a draw all day and it was good to see the boys playing well again.

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Thanks Ricardo. Agree re McLean who was terrific today and deserved a goal. He looks a big upgrade on Stiepermann as he's genuinely two footed. 

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Agree that McLean is a much better option than Stiepermann. For me, this has been the main difference these last two games. Marco slows things down far too often as he seems not as quick thinking as Kenny. 

At last we seem to be playing like I thought we would at the start of the season. But...I will take a better second half of the season rather than fading after a decent start. Win at Southampton and a follow up over Wilder and I believe we will set ourselves up nicely.

 Thanks for the report as ever Ricardo.

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Excellent report. Having watched many relegated Norwich teams in the past I have to say that on today's performance I'm not looking at one. I was concerned by Amadou in the first half but he grew into the game and performed well in the second half. If we can avoid any more injuries we may survive. 

Not that I really care but if I was an Arsenal fan I would be worried that our back 4 is better than theirs. 

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3 minutes ago, TIL 1010 said:

The Mayor was MOM by a country mile.

Tossup between Mclean and Cantwell to me. Either way delighted for Kenny for his much improved performances of late.

Edited by Hillhead

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6 minutes ago, TIL 1010 said:

The Mayor was MOM by a country mile.

Very close between Cantwell and Mclean. Mclean was very good but Cantwell with more successful dribbles, actually won just as much in the air as Kenny today (according to whoscored - who rated Cantwell higher). 

Out of interest, did you join in with "Todd Cantwell, he's one of our own" 🙂

 

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Mclean has carried on from where he left off at Everton. I'm quite shocked at just how good he looks in that advanced role. Didn't see it coming at all, he looks a revelation. 

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Would have liked to have seen Vrancic come on for 15-20 mins. Especially whilst we were on top, but can't complain. A fantastic point.

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Lots of good performances but I thought McLean was superb today driving us forward a pity he didn’t put the chance he had away but he really did play well.Thought we could have won it but if you can’t win don’t lose.

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Amadou showed great promise and was, for me, the better of the 2 central midfielders today.

It will be interesting, will it be tettey and Amadou, Tettey and Trybull or Amadou and Trybull?

Byram is proving why when he was at Leeds he was being talked about so highly.

The feeling should be that we could have got more and this team has settled a bit. Bring on soton and let's begin to turn the screw!!

 

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Yeh I must admit I was a bit disappointed. Must be hard to come on in a game being played at such pace and look good, but not sure all is well atm.

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22 hours ago, smooth said:

Amadou showed great promise and was, for me, the better of the 2 central midfielders today.

It will be interesting, will it be tettey and Amadou, Tettey and Trybull or Amadou and Trybull?

Amadou and Leitner or Vrancic eventually for me ... once Amadou has had a few more games to really settle in. 

Edited by Surfer

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Great review.

I think Hernandez had an excellent game today. He made many tackles, held the ball well, gave key passes, besides his  goal line clearance early on. His decision making improved spectacularly, instead of trying one-on-ones, he began to hold  onto balls, looking for better options. My MOM goes to him.   

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Thanks Ricardo. Great report as ever.

I agree with Budapest Canary - I thought Hernandez played well and gave us an option with is pace. Not saying he was MOM, but worth a mention I thought.

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1 hour ago, Badger said:

Thanks Ricardo. Great report as ever.

I agree with Budapest Canary - I thought Hernandez played well and gave us an option with is pace. Not saying he was MOM, but worth a mention I thought.

Yes, we look a better side when he is playing. Hard to mention them all individually but McLean was definitely my standout.

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