Morning all.

Mikel Arteta made a couple of changes last night. One forced through the absence of Thomas Partey which meant Jorginho made his first start since arriving in January and Takehiro Tomiyasu came in for Ben White. The Arsenal fans were fantastic again but I think their throwing of water bottles at Kevin de Bruyne was silly and dangerous. Another FA charge heading Arsenal’s way no doubt. One should be heading City’s way too for their over enthusiastic protests when Arsenal were awarded a penalty. What about de Bruyne’s shoving of Mikel Arteta?

A game of two halves. The first was all Arsenal as we absolutely battered City in terms of possession, passing, style, you name it. Bernado Silva’s only way to stop Bukayo Saka was to foul him and that’s exactly what he did. Ederson was time wasting from the moment he first touched the ball. The Arsenal mojo was back.

Eddie Nketiah had the first real chance after another passage of fine passing ended with Oleksandr Zinchenko whipping in a cross into the box. Eddie was in the right place, his jump was timed to perfection but his headed attempt was awful.

Then cam Arsenal’s first real howler. Ederson hoofed the ball up field, Haaland knocked the ball out wide and then it was Grealish against Takehiro Tomiyasu. The latter tried to play a back pass, at least that’s what I assume, but it was too soft. De Bruyne nipped in and made it 1-0.

A sucker punch, yes but the players kept fighting. Silva kept kicking Bukayo Saka and Ederson kept time wasting but eventually, both went into Anthony Taylor’s book. Just before half-time, Taylor awarded Arsenal a penalty after Ederson blatantly knocked Eddie Nketiah off his feet just after his shot, which was trickling towards the goal, had been cleared off the line. Having already been booked, Taylor had the opportunity to send him off. Just as he’d had plenty of opportunities to send Silva off but he declined both. Up stepped Bukayo Saka and the score was level. Six minutes of added time before Taylor blew for half-time.

The second half wasn’t anyway near as good as the first, certainly from an Arsenal perspective. VAR cancelled out a booking for Gabriel and a penalty for City as Haaland was offside prior to have been fouled by our Brazilian centre-back. Eddie Nketiah nearly got his big toe on the end of a Takehiro Tomiyasu cross although had he scored, I think he’d have been offside, whilst up the other end, Jorginho cleared one off the line.

On 70 odd minutes, Arsenal shot themselves in the foot. Another poor pass, and there were a few in and around our own box, this one from Gabriel, allowed Haaland to take possession. He found Gundogan, Gundogan passed to Grealish and the cheating little s**t shot past Ramsdale, although a deflection off Tomiyasu helped. There was still time for Arsenal to get something out of the game but any such hope of a draw went when Haaland made it 3-1.

Mikel Arteta on the two errors for Manchester City’s goals:

That’s the frustration – it’s exceptionally difficult to play at the level that they require you to play at to have the chance to win. I think we’ve done it and in many moments we had them, but if you give three goals the way we did – just give them the game – and especially when you don’t put the big chances that we had away, the margin of error for them is almost zero. It’s a shame because we really had them.

The irony eh. A huge error by VAR at the weekend cost us two points, two huge errors by Arsenal players cost us all three points last night. It must be so frustrating for Mikel Arteta because the plan is clearly there but his players aren’t executing it right now. Pre 2023, players weren’t making the kind of mistakes they are now. Pre 2023, the players were taking goal scoring opportunities but now they’re going anywhere but on target.

Arsenal weren’t beaten because of any other reason than of their own making which must be a huge concern for Mikel Arteta. I haven’t seen Arsenal play out from the back as badly as they did last night for a long time and certainly not this season. Where’s the safe move of just clearing the danger gone? Where has Xhaka’s reluctance to just take his shot rather than take just one more touch before losing possession gone? Where has Eddie Nketiah’s form gone? A few weeks ago I’d have put money on him at least hitting the target with his opportunity last night, in the last couple of matches too but he’s not.

We all know Guardiola changed City’s approach after half-time but even so, take out the sloppy passing at the back and we’d have been fine. But that’s life isn’t it, when one really doesn’t want to make a mistake, mistakes can happen.

Could Mikel Arteta have made more changes than the three he did, or make them earlier? That’s a debate which often takes place after a game is played out and already social media is awash with ideas. I even read a few “Arteta out” comments which in my opinion are ridiculous. We’ve lost three games this season and we’re robbed of two points against Brentford. Two points which would have kept us top of the league this morning. Not that it matters, as where we are at the end of May is what counts.

I seem to be thinking this a lot recently but whilst I’m disappointed we didn’t win, there’s enough about this group of players to convince me this little blip is just temporary. Not for one minute do I think our Premier League title chase is over. Thomas Partey should be back for the weekend, Reiss Nelson was on the bench last night and both Gabriel Jesus and Emile Smith Rowe aren’t too far away from returning.

There’s an interesting article in the Daily Mail this morning. It’s rare that the words interesting and Daily Mail belong in the same sentence but……

Catch up in the comments.