Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes that his old club paid Manchester City too much respect in their 1-0 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s men on Sunday.
The Gunners fell behind to a Raheem Sterling header within 90 seconds of kickoff at the Emirates Stadium, and Ederson remained relatively untroubled in the City goal despite some periods of Arsenal possession.
Mikel Arteta’s men did not match the pressing intensity that City showcased throughout the 90 minutes in North London, and Keown believes that by giving their opponents too much respect, Arsenal deservedly lost.
“It surprised me that Arsenal didn’t press Manchester City like they had pressed Leeds in their last home game,” Keown wrote for the Daily Mail. “Rob Holding didn’t pick up Raheem Sterling and the 5ft 7in winger scored a winning header with two minutes on the clock.
“It was courtesy of their high press against Leeds that Arsenal won a penalty to make it 2-0. Emile Smith Rowe later picked up possession on the edge of the opposition box before assisting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 4-0.
“Sunday was different. Arsenal showed the visitors too much respect and City were allowed to dominate. They could bring it out from the back without any pressure.
“Several times in the first half, Ruben Dias was sitting as the nightwatchman while every other City player was within 60 yards of the Arsenal goal. That includes John Stones, who is a man reborn. He didn’t miss a beat with his passing and his defending was just as strong. Aubameyang had no joy against him.
“For Mikel Arteta, the front four who finished this game are his best combination and they need to be starting matches. I’d like to see Aubameyang on the left, Alexandre Lacazette central, Bukayo Saka on the right and Smith Rowe in behind.”
Arsenal’s eighth straight league defeat to Manchester City sees them remain 10th in the Premier League table – 11 points adrift of the top four.