Springing to Arsenal’s Defence

Springing to Arsenal’s Defence

Springing to Arsenal’s Defence: Arsenal draw with Man City

by Stef – The North Bank Pod

Arsenal may not win the war, but they can take immense pride in the way they have battled. At the end of the season only one can be crowned champions. After Sunday's battle between Arsenal and Man City ended honours even, the slight advantage has been handed to Liverpool.

Ultimately, we know many will judge Arsenal on the outcome of the season but the trajectory towards a title isn't always smooth, there are milestones along the way. Arsenal claiming 4 points from their two league games against the Abu-Dhabi-backed-behemoth that is Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is a sign of this team maturing. To not concede in either of those games, especially at the Etihad (a ground at which City had scored in 57 consecutive games) seems beyond belief. Arsenal's defence is the best in the league. Their goal difference is the best in the league. And yet, Arsenal currently sit second in the table and are third favourites with many bookmakers.

Last season Arsenal's title tilt really stuttered away at Man City and Liverpool. Two games without the imperious (and still ridiculously young) William Saliba, saw us essentially hand the title to City. This year,Arteta has seemed intent on solidifying Arsenal's defensive foundations while pacing the output of the team better; ensuring some fuel is left in the tank for this final period of the season.

While we may be able to control our own performances, Liverpool's momentum and City's relentlessness can't be legislated for. Therefore, we must take huge pride in our performances against these two title rivals. 8 points, 5 goals scored, 2 goals conceded, and 0 defeats shows that we are now mixing it at an elite level. Yes, we are having to adjust how we might wish to play to nullify the threat of City. However, given our upward trajectory, we must have faith that the next evolution of this team will be to impose our own style upon such formidable opponents.

Among the Arsenal faithful that travelled to Manchester on Easter Sunday there was much tension. Everyone could sense the magnitude of the task ahead. It being after an eternity of an international break only seemed to add to the tension. I'm pretty sure I gripped the safe-standing railing in City's away for the whole 90 minutes. As time ticked on, more and more belief seemed to grow between the team and fans.

When the draw was secured at the final whistle, huge relief and respect beamed out from the away end. This is a team that is easy to love. They care, they're committed, they're quality. Weirdly, and this is a mark of how far we have truly come, some even suggested we could have perhaps taken more from the game. No one is undermining a hard-earned point (and clean sheet) at a place where such things are as rare as John Jensen goals, but there is such belief and trust in this excellent side that one can reasonably wonder, what if Jesus was a bit more composed? Or, what if Trossard's first touch hadn't been poor?

When all is said and done, we may not win the war this season but what a battle to have witnessed!