Manchester City defender criticizes Arsenal tactics in frustrating goalless draw

Manchester City defender criticizes Arsenal tactics in frustrating goalless draw
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Redaction Willow Austin
Published on 2024-04-02 10:00:00

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji has criticized Arsenal for their tactical approach in the recent goalless draw between the two teams.

Arsenal, who were leading Manchester City by a single point in the Premier League title race, had not won a league match at the Etihad Stadium since the 2014/15 season. Despite their strong form coming into the game, with 18 goals scored in their previous five matches, many were puzzled by Arsenal’s tactics in the match.

Despite only having 27% possession and creating six shots, Arsenal’s defensive setup prevented Manchester City from scoring at home for the first time in 57 matches across all competitions.

In an interview with the Daily Star after the game, Manuel Akanji shared his views on Arsenal’s tactics.

“I didn’t understand some of their decisions,” Akanji stated. “They played long balls and defended with six players at the back, making it tough for us to break through. When we did manage to get through, they would stop us with fouls, making it difficult for us.”

Manchester City is accustomed to facing defensive setups under Pep Guardiola’s management, but such tactics are uncommon in matches against Arsenal. However, City’s dominant performances against Arsenal in the 2022/23 season may explain why Mikel Arteta chose to approach the game differently this time.

City will aim to bounce back when they face Aston Villa on Wednesday, trailing by three points in the title race. While City has a history of turning things around late in a season under Guardiola, they are yet to navigate a three-way battle for the Premier League trophy.

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