The Arsenal vs. Man City match in the 2023/2024 Premier League last weekend could be considered a clash between top teams this season. The game was considered unenjoyable by fans according to a Premier League analyst.
On Sunday (8/10/2023), Arsenal hosted Man City at the Emirates Stadium in the 8th week of the 2023/2024 Premier League. The match was expected to be closely contested, but no one predicted that Arsenal would win.
Mikel Arteta’s squad put up a tough fight to defeat the defending champion. After being deadlocked for a while, the game eventually broke open with a goal by Gabriel Martinelli in the 86th minute.
While Arsenal fans celebrated this victory immensely, for the general audience, the course of the match was still less exciting.
The 1-0 victory for Arsenal indicated that the game was exciting, with both top teams being evenly matched. However, that was precisely the reason why the match might have been less enjoyable to watch.
The tactical and strategic duels on the field were executed very well. Consequently, whenever one team built an attack, the other team managed to thwart it. This pattern repeated itself several times in the Arsenal vs. Man City match yesterday.
“They didn’t play well; it was a bad game, and I think both teams cancelled each other out,” said Premier League analyst Paul Merson.
“When two very good teams play, sometimes that can happen because there are a lot of good players on the field. Those players do their jobs well, so it’s hard to see an exciting game.”
In essence, both Arsenal and Man City delivered their best performances, so the match was genuinely exciting. However, that excitement might not have been apparent to the general audience.
“Credit to both teams’ defenders, I think they played very well and stopped the opponent’s attacks; that’s their job,” Merson added.
“However, it wasn’t a game for the general audience, although, of course, it would be very interesting for the experts,” he concluded.
Declan Rice is seen as having made significant progress when it comes to ball control compared to his Manchester City counterpart, Rodri, according to Arsenal legend Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal spent £105 million – the most expensive in the club’s history – to acquire Declan Rice from West Ham United with the expectation that he would showcase world-class performances.
The English national team player has long been known for his defensive characteristics, playing as a box-to-box midfielder and even spending a season as a center-back during his time at West Ham.
But Declan Rice has now been able to develop his performance to become more progressive and shine in a team with high technical quality like Arsenal.
In the 1-0 victory over Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, the 24-year-old player played a different role alongside Jorginho, as he filled in as the sole defensive midfielder behind Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz.
“(Declan) Rice has the physical strength that allows him to cover almost the entire field as a single defensive midfielder, but it can limit some of his qualities. His growth in ball control is evident. I think he has the ability to provide key passes, even in the opponent’s defensive area, much like Rodri,” said Cesc Fabregas in an interview with the Premier League.